The storm that buried the Philadelphia area in snow moved off the coast today, leaving an air travel nightmare and a day of digging out in its path.
Heavy snowfall ended during the predawn hours only to be replaced by bone chilling winds with gusts of up to 50 m.p.h. and drifting snow.
Reported snow accumulations in the region range from 2 inches in Oxford, west of Philadelphia, to 12.4 inches at the International Airport, and 19 inches in Atlantic City.
Although it was the beginning of the work week, the impact of the storm was lessened because most schools are closed for the Christmas break and many people take off this week.
But that was of little comfort to thousands of airline passengers stranded throughout the area, including about 1,200 people who spent the night at Philadelphia International Airport.
Victoria Lupica, an airport spokeswoman, said 397 out of 520 flights, or about 70 percent, were cancelled Sunday.
About 300 flights have been cancelled today, mostly among the morning "bank" of flights, Lupica said, adding the airport never closed.
"We've always had one of our primary runways open," she said. "We were open and taking traffic throughout the entire storm."
That was unlike New York's airports, which had more snow and closed.
As for today, Lupica said, "Our goal is to have both primary runways, and a secondary runway open, by early afternoon, so that helps get things going,"
But the gusting winds and drifting snow were making the work more challenging.
US Airways canceled 876 flights on Sunday across its system, said spokeswoman Valerie Wunder. Today, 550 US Airways flights have been cancelled.
No flights have been cancelled for Tuesday, she said.
"Reservations is working hard to get folks rebooked," she said.
(For airport travel information, go to www.phl.org )
Ground transportation fared better, though not without its share of problems.
Amtrak canceled service between New York and Boston before resuming limited service this morning. Trains between Washington and New York were running close to schedule. (Amtrak information can be found at www.amtrak.com )
Most SEPTA Regional Rail trains are operating, but with local service only and delays of up to 90 minutes. Cynwd line service was suspended.
SEPTA buses also was rolling, but service was suspended or shortened on some lines. (For the latest SEPTA travel information go to http://www.septa.org/service/winter/alerts.html )
NJ Transit has canceled bus service throughout the state until further notice. NJ Transit trains are operating on an enhanced weekend schedule. (For NJ Transit travel information go to www.njtransit.com )
PATCO trains ran every 6 to 10 minutes during the morning rush hour, but there were no express trains. (PATCO information can be found at www.ridepatco.org )
Plows were out all night clearing major highways, but roadways remained snow covered or wet, prompting officials to urge motorists to drive at reduced speeds.
Late night and overnight freezing are a concern for Tuesday morning's commute.
Side streets in many suburban communities were passable, but it was a whole different story in Philadelphia, where many streets were not plowed during the night.
In New Jersey, where the northern part of the state was particularly hard hit, state government offices and states courts were closed for the day because of the snow.
New Jersey State Police said two passenger buses carrying about 50 people from Atlantic City to New York got stuck in the snow on the Garden State Parkway in Monmouth County overnight.
The buses kept their engines running overnight, and passengers were able to remain warm and somewhat comfortable, State Police Sgt. Stephen Jones said.
Jones said that during the night, troopers used their own money to buy water and food to distribute to passengers.
Signs of a return to normal also were notable.
At the King of Prussia Mall, crews were busy plowing what was left of the snow in the parking lot as the first shoppers began arriving shortly after 10 a.m.
Marti Carnovale, 31, of Havertown, arrived with her children Kelsi, 3, and Zac, 2, to play, eat lunch and shop.
"This is our first day out of the house," she said. "We are going to spend as much time at the mall as we can because nothing else is available to go to."
Carnovale said while Route 3 was "really bad," the Blue Route and I-76 were "perfect."
By 10:30 a.m., there were only a few shoppers roaming the mall, but most stores and kiosks were up and running. A few, including Bloomingdales and Lord and Taylors, delayed opening.
Renee Dobson, 40, from Gilbertsville, made the trip for a lunch meeting with a former student.
"The major roads are great," said Dobson, a St. Joseph University performing arts professor. "The back roads are still a little dicey."
The National Weather Service issued an advisory, in effect until 6 p.m., for winds of 20 to 25 m.p.h. with gusts up to 50 m.p.h.
Mostly cloudy skies this morning were followed by mostly sunny skies and projected highs in the upper 20s.
There's a 30 percent chance of snow tonight, the NWS says.
Tomorrow will have mostly sunny skies with highs in the mid 30s, according to the forecast.
For more on the weather forecast go to http://weather.philly.com/US/PA/Philadelphia.html