NEWPORT, R.I. (AP) — As electricity returns and highways reopen, some Northeast residents tried to get back to their weekday routines Monday following the massive snowstorm that had millions digging out from New York to Maine.
But the routine for other New Englanders was disrupted by school and workplace closings. For some there's also a new worry: the danger of roof collapses as rain and warmer weather melts snow.
The storm that slammed into the region with up to 3 feet of snow was blamed for at least 15 deaths in the Northeast and Canada, and brought some of the highest accumulations ever recorded. Still, coastal areas were largely spared catastrophic damage despite being lashed by strong waves and hurricane-force wind gusts at the height of the storm.
And while most major highways were clear on Monday, many secondary roads still had a thick coating of snow, and high snow banks that blocked sight lines at intersections and near highway ramps, making turning and merging hazardous.
Parking spots were filled with snow and many two lane roads were down to one.
Fernando Colon, 48, of South Windsor, Conn., was driving to work Monday morning in heavy sleet on a two-lane highway that was down to one lane because of high snow banks.
"This is awful," he said as he stopped to pump gas during his trek.
Snow banks were piled high on the unusually quiet streets of downtown Hartford, where the big insurance firms encouraged people to work from home Monday.
On New York's Long Island, Samantha Cuomo was stressed out as her 40-minute commute to work turned into two hours.
She called the roads "an absolute mess."
Cuomo, of Bay Shore, is a manager at a group home and said the street near her work hadn't been plowed and trees were down.
"That's what people pay tax money for," she said.
Hundreds of people, their homes without heat or electricity, were forced to take refuge in emergency shelters set up in schools or other places. But by early Monday, outages had dropped to about 130,000 — more than 110,000 of them in Massachusetts.
"For all the complaining everyone does, people really came through," said Rich Dinsmore, 65, of Newport, R.I., who was staying at a Red Cross shelter set up in a middle school in Middletown after the power went out in his home on Friday.
Dinsmore, who has emphysema, was first brought by ambulance to a hospital after the medical equipment he relies on failed when the power went out and he had difficulty breathing.
"The police, the fire department, the state, the Red Cross, the volunteers, it really worked well," said the retired radio broadcaster and Army veteran.
Driving bans were lifted and flights resumed at major airports in the region that had closed during the storm, though many flights were still canceled Sunday. Public transit schedules were being restored.
The Boston-area public transportation system, which shut down on Friday afternoon, resumed full service on Monday — but told commuters to expect delays. The Metro-North Railroad resumed most train service on its New York and Connecticut routes while the Long Island Rail Road said commuters could expect a nearly normal schedule.
"A lot of progress has been made," said Salvatore Arena, a spokesman for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which operates Metro-North.
Some public schools canceled classes on Monday, including in Boston, Providence and on Long Island, while local governments in some areas told non-essential workers to take the day off.
On eastern Long Island, the harrowing images from New York's slice of the massive snowstorm — people stranded overnight, cars abandoned on long stretches of drift-covered highways — were slowly erased Sunday as hundreds of snowplows and heavy equipment descended to try to help clear the way for Monday's commute.
Long Island was slammed with as much as 30 inches of snow, which shut down roads, including the Long Island Expressway. A 27-mile stretch of the road was closed Sunday and but the roadway reopened Monday in time for the morning commute.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo said more than a third of all the state's snow-removal equipment was sent to the area, including more than 400 plow trucks and more than 100 snowblowers, loaders and backhoes.
"The massive amount of snow left behind effectively shut down the entire region," Cuomo said.
Utility crews, some brought in from as far away as Georgia, Oklahoma and Quebec, raced to restore power. By early Monday, about 130,000 customers still had no electricity — down from 650,000 in eight states at the height of the storm. In hardest-hit Massachusetts, officials said some of the outages might linger until Tuesday.
Boston recorded 24.9 inches of snow, making it the fifth-largest storm in the city since records were kept. The city was appealing to the state and private contractors for more front-end loaders and other heavy equipment to clear snow piles that were clogging residential streets.
"It was definitely a struggle to get here," said Dana Osterling, 24, who