Snow storm batters US east, piling onto holiday chaos

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Intl desk, Jan 04: After a bruising holiday week of flight cancellations and record surges in Covid-19 cases, a powerful winter snow storm on Monday further snarled US transport, shuttering the federal government and bringing Washington to a standstill.

The storm packed an unexpectedly fierce punch and appeared to have caught much of the capital city off guard, temporarily stranding US President Joe Biden on Air Force One and dumping up to nine inches (23 centimeters) of snow on Washington.

Many Americans have been scrambling to return home after the Christmas and New Year period, with thousands of flights cancelled due to bad weather and airline staffing woes blamed in part on rising coronavirus infections among crews.

More than 4,900 flights Monday, the first workday of 2022, were cancelled globally as of 8:30 pm (0130 GMT Tuesday), including 3,173 flights within, into or out of United States, according to flight-tracking website FlightAware.

The latest cancellations along with 6,775 US flight delays Monday compounded holiday travel misery.