Stranded by trains, planes after Northeast storm

NEW YORK:When Angela Madsen was pulled off her plane and her wheelchair stayed on board, she knew she was in for a rough night. The paraplegic athlete struggled to get into the bathrooms at Kennedy Airport. Turning the wheels on her borrowed wheelchair strained her shoulders. Sleeping was impossible.”I actually got out of it and laid on the floor,” Madsen said.It was, she said, a miserable time — one that was shared by millions of people on Monday, in travails big and small, serious and surreal, after the blizzard of December 2010 sucker-punched the northeastern U.S. during one of the busiest travel days of the year.Air travel in the nation’s busiest, most crowded airspace nearly shut down, and thousands of stranded passengers turned terminals into open-air hotels while they waited for planes to take off and land on plowed runways. Flights slowly resumed at the airports, although experts said it would likely take several more days to rebook all the displaced passengers.

A tractor-trailer skidded off a road and smashed into a house in Maine. A woman went into labor on a New Jersey highway, causing a traffic jam that stranded 30 vehicles. Rails on the normally reliable New York subway shorted out. Winds topping 65 mph ripped power lines, leaving tens of thousands of people in the dark across New England.This storm simply didn’t play fair, cold-cocking the Northeast with more than 2 feet of snow on a holiday weekend when everyone seemed to be out of town, groggy with holiday cheer or just unprepared.In New York, outer-borough residents complained of a sluggish response by snow plow crews who still hadn’t finished clearing the streets. State Sen. Carl Kruger, a Democrat who represents Brooklyn, called the city’s response a “colossal failure.” Fire officials said the unplowed streets and abandoned cars made it harder to respond to emergencies, including a five-alarm, wind-whipped blaze at a Queens apartment building Monday night – Yhoonews