A brutal snowstorm which forecasters are calling ‘the worst in history’ has shut down New York.
Three feet of snow is expected amid 85mph gusts and blizzard conditions, and a highly unusual road curfew has been put in place.
Drivers face fines of $300 (£200) or arrested for non-emergency journeys if caught.
The entire New York City transit system stopped running, crippling a city of eight million people.
Similar bans were put in place across the North East of the US as storm Juno bore down on 60 million Americans and hundreds of National Guard troops were deployed.
Five states declared states of emergency and officials had a simple message for those affected: get home and stay home.
Gulls fly around New York’s Brooklyn Bridge in thick fog in the winter weather
New York governor Andrew Cuomo said yesterday afternoon: “It’s dangerous to be out there now. It’s only going to become more dangerous. At one point it’s going to become irresponsible.”
Juno locked down major cities and small towns covering a 250 mile area from Philadelphia to Maine after the National Weather Service warned it could be a “life-threatening” and “historic” event.
Winds gusting up to 75mph – hurricane strength – were set to savage a 250 mile stretch of the country and leave behind snow drifts up to 8ft high.
More than 6,500 flights were cancelled and Heathrow airport reported that 18 transatlantic flights had already been axed.
Amtrak suspended its service between New York and Boston, a major commuter route.
Rush hour was brought forward to the afternoon as schools were closed early and employees sent home from work at lunchtime, causing chaos at major train stations.
Jenna Freed, 28, a senior social media strategist, was waiting for a bus for more than an hour.
She said: “‘I’m trying pretty much any way to get home.
“They’re running the regular schedule, but there’s three times as many people. They’re telling people get out early, but you can’t.”
Tens of thousands of people were expected to lose power with warnings it would not come back on for several days.
As the snow came down, New York ground to a half in every conceivable way.
NBA basketball games were postponed, museums closed, courts shut and thousands of schools told children to stay away.
Central Park and other city parks were closed by 6pm out of fears branches could fall and hurt somebody.
Police cars roamed the deserted streets with their lights on but no sirens.
During a press conference on Monday afternoon, New York’s Mayor Bill de Blasio said:”‘It is not business as usual.
“Get off the roads, get off the sidewalks as this storm deepens. It’s going to pack a real punch.”