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8 senators unveil proposed legislation lifting restrictions on tourism to Cuba

Hearings on Cuba are scheduled for next week in both the House and Senate

Published On: Jan 29 2015 12:10:40 PM EST   Updated On: Jan 29 2015 11:50:00 PM EST

First legislation introduced would lift travel ban for all Americans

THAT OFFICER SAYS SHE DOESN'T THINK SHE WAS PERSONALLY TARGETED. THE FIRST LEGISLATION HAS BEEN INTRODUCED THAT WOULD LIFT THE TRAVEL BAN FOR ALL-AMERICANS BUT SOME ARE NOT TOO HAPPY ABOUT IT, LOCAL 10 LIVE NOW AT THE FREEDOM TOWER IN MIAMI DOWNTOWN. TO EXPLAIN FOR US, HATZEL. ON ONE SIDE YOU HAVE A BIPARTISAN GROUP THAT SAYS THIS ISN'T GOING TO CHANGE OVERNIGHT, BUT IT DOES SET THE STAGE, AND ON THE OTHER SIDE YOU HAVE THE COMMUNITY THAT SAYS THIS IS ONLY ENRICHING THE GOVERNMENT. THEY ARE CHANGED FOR FREEDOM IN CUBA. AND THEIR SUPPORTERS APPROPRIATELY CIRCLED AROUND THE BAY OF PIGS MEMORIAL. TONIGHT, THEY WORRY NOTHING WILL CHANGE ON THE ISLAND. THE TRUE NATURE OF THE REGIME DOES NOT CHANGE, YOU CANNOT CHANGE A REPRESSIVE TELLTALE TIN REGIME. OUTLINED DEND MAS AMONG THEM, THE END TO THE EMBARGO, AND RETURNING THE LAND WHERE THE NAVAL BASE IS LOCATED. IS IT THE PRESIDENT'S INTENTION WHEN HE DOES CROW THE FACILITY TO GIVE BACK THE ACTUAL TERRITORY TO CUBA. NO. ON THE TRAVEL FRONT A GROUP OF SENATORS SAY THEY PLAN TO INTRODUCE LEGISLATION THAT WOULD ALLOW ALL-AMERICANS TO TRAVEL TO CUBA. WE ARE SAYING THAT AMERICANS SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO HAVE THE RIGHT TO TRAVEL WHEREVER THEY WOULD LIKE TO URGE LESS THERE'S A COMPELLING NATIONAL SECURITY REASON. THEY ACKNOWLEDGE LIFTING THE TRAVEL BAN WON'T BRING DEMOCRACY, BUT IT LIGHTLY SETS CONDITIONS FOR DEMOCRACY SOONER. LAST YEAR HALF A MILLION TRAVELS LEGALLY, MOST WERE CUBAN AMERICANS VISITING FAMILY, THE RESTS WERE AMERICANS TRAVELING WITH LICENSE COMPANIED UNDER 12 CATEGORIES LIFTING THE TRAVEL BAN COULD SPELL TROUBLE FOR THE TRAVEL AGENCIES WHICH MAKE MONEY ON TRAVEL TO CUBA. 80% OF MY BUSINESS IS THE SITE. SO WE WOULD HAVE TO REINVENT OURSELVES. THERE WILL ALWAYS BE A NEED FOR CHARTERS AS THERE ARE TO OTHER DESTINATIONS SO WE WILL JUST HAVE TO ADAPT. TONIGHT, THIS FROM CONGRESSMAN, IN A STATEMENT HE SAYS AND I QUOTE HERE, THE VAST MAJORITY OF CONGRESS CONTINUES TO SUPPORT SANCTIONS AGAINST THE CASTRO REGIME, ON TO ALL POLITICAL PRISONERS ARE FREE, BASIC HUMAN AND CIVIL RIGHTS WILL RESTORED AND FREE AND DEMOCRATIC ELECTIONS ARE HELD. MARIO DIAZ ALSO SAYING THAT HE SAYS THERE'S LITTLE HOPE FOR THIS BILL TO BECOME A LAW.

WASHINGTON -

In the first effort from Congress to end the embargo against Cuba since President Barack Obama started to lobby against it, a bipartisan group of senators unveiled legislation Thursday that would allow U.S. citizens to vacation in Cuba.

Under Obama's new rules, tourism remains prohibited and only congressional action can lift the embargo. U.S. citizens are allowed to travel to Cuban only if they fit one of the 12 approved categories, which include educational and humanitarian trips.

If the Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act of 2015 passes, tourists would be able to just book their flights and hotels legally online.

"The exchange of ideas and values via people-to-people travel can have a far greater, positive impact than the decades-old failed policy of isolation,” the bill proposal's summary says.

The eight senators -- half Republicans and half Democrats -- backing the lift of the tourism ban are Jeff Flake, of Arizona; Jerry Moran, of Kansas; Michael Enzi, of Wyoming; John Boozman, of Arkansas; Patrick Leahy, of Vermont; Richard Durbin, of Illinois; Tom Udall, of New Mexico and Sheldon Whitehouse, of Rhode Island.

"We have tried this current policy that we have prohibiting travel for about 50 years, and it hasn't worked, so it's time for something new," Flake said. "It's time to allow Americans to travel freely to Cuba."

In the U.S. House of Representatives, Republican Rep. Mark Sanford and Democrat Rep. Jim McGovern plan to introduce a similar bill next week. The legislation would also allow tourism-related banking transactions.

"It makes no sense to have this prohibition," Leahy said.

HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH: Read the 2015 report on Cuba

OPPOSITION TO THE PROCESS

Former political prisoners stage protest

MORE ABOUT THAT IN A FEW. Calvin Hughes: LIVE PICTURES FROM RIEL HAVANA WHERE NORMAN CUBAN HAVE WRAPPED THEMSELVES IN CHAINS TO SHOW THEIR OPPOSITION TWO RELATIONS BETWEEN THE U.S. AND CUBA. THEIR DEMONSTRATION COMES A DAY

Those dreaming of walking the streets of Old Havana to enjoy the pastel-colored Spanish Colonial architecture and ride a 50s classic convertible near the sea-front wall, shouldn't pack their bags yet.

There is plenty of opposition in Capitol Hill. A Feb. 4,2009 attempt at similar legislation with the same name was buried. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker John Boehner have been critical of the idea.

Rep. Ileana Rosh-Lehtinen has fiercely voiced her opposition every day since Castro and Obama announced they would move toward repairing the relationship Dec. 17. When Obama issued new rules to relax the embargo and delegations from both countries met for historic negotiations in Havana last week, Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart was outraged.

The change in policy defies Sen. Marco Rubio and other Cuban-Americans who support the embargo and fear that U.S. tourism will strengthen the repressive Castro regime and hurt dissenters.

With a bit of mistrust, Fidel Castro approved. "El Che" Guevara's daughter said that if her father was alive, he would too approve of the talks. The sole mention of their names can still be explosive in Miami's Little Havana.

The Wednesday announcement of the lawmakers' plan to unveil the bill came hours after Cuban President Raul Castro mentioned his list of demands during a speech in front of Latin American heads of state attending a summit in San Jose, Costa Rica.

The younger Castro warned during his speech that there were "certain forces" that wanted to slow the process of re-establishing relations,as Rubio announced he was named chairman of a subcommittee that will be discussing the effects of the new policy in February.

PREPARING FOR CHANGE

Cubans show off their classic American cars as national treasure

Cruise line executives have been looking into the possibility for years. Outside of the political arena, most of the business sector seems convinced of an impending wave of U.S. tourism arriving to the island -- only 90 miles south of Key West.

Kayak, a U.S. travel search engine, recently added booking links for Cuba-related hotels and flights searches. Even a Chef is planning a culinary tour.

Mastercard plans to lift the ban on transactions in Cuba March 1. And American Express is preparing to do the same.

Airline executives from American Airlines, Delta Airlines, United Airlines, Southwest Airlines and JetBlue were preparing to add more flights to Cuba from Miami International Airport.

In Cuba, the unofficial tourist guides known as "Jineteros" expect good times. Like hustlers, they make their money from wrestling tips, selling counterfeit goods, drugs and sometimes from prostitution.

There is fear among some tourism industry experts, who are concerned that the current infrastructure won't be able to keep up. Old plumbing, air conditioners, washcloths, taxi cabs and Wi-Fi can be unreliable.

Despite the quality, hotel rates are not cheap and the rates of those that meet international standards may go up. Restored family-run colonial guest houses will remain the best options since they will benefit the island's private sector.

The Varadero beach resort, about 80 miles east of Havana, continues to be the island's high-end destination. But for those who want to reminisce of Havana's glamorous days and can afford a presidential suite with really old furniture for at least $1,080 a night,  The 1930 Hotel Nacional de Cuba remains the great pearl.

Local 10 News will be following the Congressional hearings on Cuba policy that are scheduled for next week.

Airlines prepares to add more flights from Miami International Airport to Cuba

Delta Air Lines, United Airlines and JetBlue Airways have also expressed interest in adding flights to Cuba

Published On: Jan 29 2015 10:04:41 AM EST   Updated On: Jan 29 2015 10:05:46 AM EST

From American Airlines

MIAMI -

Add American Airlines to the list of carriers that want to take you to Cuba.

An airline executive said Tuesday that American already operates about 20 charter flights a week to Cuba and would like to add regular flights from Miami International Airport.

"We will be anxious to start serving Cuba as soon as it's legally allowed," the airline's president, Scott Kirby, said on a conference call with analysts and reporters, "but

Delta Air Lines, United Airlines and JetBlue Airways have expressed interest since President Barack Obama announced last month that the U.S. would establish diplomatic relations and expand trade and tourism with Cuba.

Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly said last week that his airline is interested too, although he said Southwest has 50 potential destinations beyond the U.S. mainland, and Cuba "will just be one more."

New U.S. government rules issued this month relaxed travel restrictions that have stood for 54 years since the communist revolution in Cuba. Licenses are no longer required, but trips are limited to 12 categories including visiting close relatives, humanitarian missions and educational tours. Tourism is not an approved reason to visit - yet.

JetBlue and Sun Country also offer charter flights to the island.

Also on Tuesday, American Express Co. said it will start doing business in Cuba after the Obama administration lifted a ban on U.S. banks and credit card companies operating on the island. The New York company did not say when people could use American Express cards in Cuba, where it currently has no terminals set up or merchant relationships.

MasterCard Inc. last week became the first major U.S. credit card company to say it would start handling U.S. card transactions in Cuba. Visa Inc. did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Tuesday.

Northeast blizzard continues to affect South Florida airports

Historic blizzard named Juno causes about 7,000 flight cancellations

Published On: Jan 27 2015 11:20:28 AM EST   Updated On: Jan 27 2015 10:35:29 PM EST

Courtesy of Broward County Aviation Department

Dozens of planes line up at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport Tuesday.

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -

Dozens of planes lined up at South Florida airports with nowhere to go, as a howling blizzard heaped snow on Boston Tuesday. 

The blizzard hit the eastern Massachusetts and parts of Long Island Tuesday with wind gusts topping 75 miles per hour. It failed to live up to the hype farther south in Philadelphia and New York City, which canceled its travel ban amid better-than-expected weather conditions.

The leftover cancellations caused ripple effects for travelers worldwide. The travel ban issued Monday was no longer in effect in New York. Bans in Connecticut, Massachusetts, parts of Pennsylvania, New Hampshire and Maine were still in effect Tuesday morning.

The travel bans were a headache for many in South Florida. Melissa Davey remained positive early Tuesday morning. She was at Miami International Airport and said she won't be able to fly to  Boston until Thursday.

"Luckily we have friends in Delray Beach, so we are going to rent a car and drive to Delray and continue our vacation," Davey said.

The weather is beautiful in South Florida. But not everyone was able to enjoy it. At MIA, dozens of people camped out on the fourth floor of the American Airlines section.

LIVE UPDATES: FLIGHT TRACKERS

The cities affected were New York City, Boston, Philadelphia, Newark, Charlotte, North Carolina, Chicago, and Hartford.

FLIGHT INFORMATION AT MIA

FLIGHT INFORMATION AT FLL

There were 108 flights cancelled and four delays at MIA as of 9:30 p.m. Tuesday, according to Miami-Dade Aviation Department spokesman Greg Chin. Airlines affected by the conditions were American Airlines, American Eagles, Delta Airlines, Frontier Airlines, United Airlines and US Airways.

There were 137 cancellations and 46 delays at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport as of 10:30 p.m. Tuesday, according to Broward County Aviation Department spokesman Gregory Meyer.

"Airlines have parked 25 aircraft at FLL, while they wait for the storm to pass," Meyer said.

Travelers urged to be patient

BACKS TO THE BLIZZARD OF 2015. THE MASSIVE STORM IS HAVING A MAJOR IMPACT ON TRAVEL NATIONWIDE. MORE THAN 400,000 PASSENGERS ARE AFFECTED BY THE THOUSANDS OF CANCELED FLIGHTS. KAREN TRAVERS HAS THE LATEST DETAILS FROM WASHINGTON. Reporter: THIS MASSIVE STORM IS MOVING OUT BUT ITS IMPACT COULD BE FELT ALL WEEK. WE DO EXPECT THERE TO BE CANCELLATIONS AND DELAYS OVER THE NEXT TWO TO THREE DAYS IF NOT EVEN LONGER. Reporter: THIS IS A LIVE FLIGHT MAP USUALLY SHOWING HEAVY AIR TRAFFIC. BUT NOW EMPTY SKIES OVER MUCH OF THE NORTHEAST. AND THE TRAVEL WOES EXTEND ALL THE WAY TO THE WEST COAST LEAVING PASSENGERS FRUSTRATED. WE HAD A 3:00 FLIGHT OUT OF HERE AND NOW WE ARE FINDING OUT THAT ALL FLIGHTS ARE CANCELED AND WE ARE NOT GOING HOME FOR ANOTHER TWO DAYS. Reporter: AND STRANDED. I'M TRYING TO GO TO NEWARK. HE HAVE BEEN FLYING 12 HOURS. Reporter: THOUSANDS OF FLIGHTS CANCELED, NEARLY HALF A MILLION PASSENGERS AFFECTED. CALL YOUR CARRIERS IF YOU ARE PLANNING ON LEAVING TOMORROW WHEN THE ROADS HAVE BEEN REOPENED WHENEVER THAT TIME IS. Reporter: THE SNOW TOTALS MAY NOT HAVE BEEN AS HIGH AS EXPECTED IN PARTS OF NEW JERSEY AND NEW YORK BUT IT WAS THE HIGH WINDS THAT LED AIRLINES TO CANCEL MOST FLIGHTS IN AND OUT OF THE NORTHEAST. WITH THE TRAVEL BAN IN PLACE IN NEW YORK THESE STRANDED PASSENGERS COULDN'T LEAVE THE AIRPORT. AT PHILADELPHIA INTERNATIONAL CUTS FOR TRAVELERS GOT STUCK AND LUCKY FOLKS ABLE TO GET HOTEL ROOMS. IF THIS PUSHES BEYOND ME GETTING ON THE FLIGHT BY THURSDAY MORNING, I WILL NOT BE A HAPPY CAMPER. THE IMPACTED AIRPORTS ARE EXPECTED TO REOPEN TOMORROW AND THINGS SHOULD START GETTING BACK TO NORMAL. BUT EXPERTS ARE WARNING TRAVELERS TO BE PATIENT.

FLL morning report

LET'S PRETEND YOU'RE HERE, YOU'RE TRYING TO LEAVE. WHAT DO YOU DO RIGHT NOW? Reporter: IF YOU'RE TRYING TO GET HOME, UP TO THE NORTHEAST, YOU'RE REALLY THOUGHT GOING TO HAVE MUCH LUCK. WE ARE MONITORING FLIGHTS. I CAN TELL YOU THE STATUS IS CHANGING BY THE MINUTE WITH MORE AND MORE FLIGHTS GETTING CANCELED. AS OF LAST NIGHT 70 FLIGHTS WERE CANCELED AND ANOTHER 73 DELAYED. MOST OF THE FLIGHTS WERE TO THE NORTHEAST WITH MOST OF THE MAJOR CITIES LIKE NEW YORK CITY AND BOSTON. DELTA STARTED CANCELING FLIGHTS A FEW DAYS EARLIER SO PASSENGER COULD SEE MAKE ARRANGEMENTS. HUNDREDS OF PASSENGERS ARE SCRAMBLING TRYING TO FIND A WAY HOME OR FIND HOTELS TO STAY AT. NATIONWIDE MORE THAN 3,000 FLIGHTS WERE CANCELED. THE WORST OF THIS WEATHER HIT LATE LAST NIGHT AND INTO THIS MORNING. I ACTUALLY CHECKED THE LATEST ON THOSE FLIGHTS ABOUT FIVE MINUTES BEFORE COMING ON-LINE AND THESE ARE THE LATEST NUMBERS HERE AT HOLLYWOOD-FT. LAUDERDALE INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, SO FAR 20 ARRIVING FLIGHTS CANCELED AND ANOTHER 31 FLIGHTS DEPARTING CANCELED AGAIN. THOSE NUMBERS KEEP CHANGING, NOT TO MENTION ALL THOSE FLIGHTS GETTING DELAYED. SO IF YOU ARE PLANNING ON FLYING OUT, YOUR BEST BET IS TO CHECK YOUR FLIGHT STATUS BEFORE HEADING TO THE AIRPORT. OF COURSE WE WILL BRING YOU ALL THE LATEST AS WE GET IT. REPORTING LIVE FROM FT. LAUDERDALE-HOLLYWOOD INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, JENISE FERNANDEZ, LOCAL 10 NEWS. IF YOU'RE FLYING OUT OF MIAMI INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT THERE ARE 31

MIA morning report

AT MIAMI INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT. WHAT'S THE LATEST ON THE CANCELLATIONS THERE? Reporter: GOOD MORNING, ERIC. WE'RE SEEING EVEN MORE CANCELLATIONED TODAY. WE HAVE TWO FLIGHTS TO BOSTON CANCELED. WE COME OVER HERE, NEW YORK, NEW JERSEY, THE NUMBER OF FLIGHTS CANCELED. PHILLY TO MORE FLIGHTS CANCELED OVER THERE. SO WHAT WE'RE SEEING IS DOZENS OF TRAVELERS, A LOT OF THEM HERE IN SOUTH FLORIDA FOR VACATION AND NOW THEY ARE EXTENDING THEIR TRIPS BECAUSE THEY CAN'T GET HOME. FROM NEW YORK TO SOUTH FLORIDA THIS MASSIVE BLIZZARD CAUSING A TRAFFIC NIGHTMARE. PLANES GROUNDED. TERMINALS TURNED INTO MAKE-SHIFT HOTELS WHILE THE NORTHEAST DEALS WITH WHITE-OUT CONDITIONS. I HAVE TO RESCHEDULE FOR THURSDAY. WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO BE DOING UNTIL THURSDAY? LUCKILY WE HAVE FRIENDS IN DELRAY BEACH SO WE'RE GOING TO RENT A CAR AND DRIVE TO DELRAY BEACH AND CONTINUE OUR VACATION I GUESS. Reporter: GETTING TO SOUTH FLORIDA WAS ALSO A HEADACHE. DOUG WAS ONE OF THE LUCKY ONES. HE MADE ONE OF THE LAST FLIGHTS OUT OF PHILADELPHIA ARRIVING AT MIA. THE KIND OF WEATHER THAT'S GOING TO GET ME A DIVORCE FOR LEAVING FOR WORK, SO ANYWHERE BETWEEN 12 AND 14 INCHES. Reporter: WE'VE BEEN FOLLOWING THIS SINCE YESTERDAY. HERE'S MIA WE KNOW 21 ARRIVALS HAVE BEEN CANCELED AND WE COMPARE THAT TO 30 DEPARTURES THAT HAVE BEEN CANCELED. A LOT OF PASSENGERS FRUSTRATED. SOME HERE FOR WORK, SOME HERE FOR PLEASURE BUT

Blizzard spares New York

AND HAS MUCH MORE FOR US. RIGHT NOW, HOW ARE THE CONDITIONS THERE, LANA? HERE IN NEW YORK MANY PEOPLE ARE ASKING WHERE WAS THAT BLIZZARD OF 2015? YOU SEE THE STORM'S TRUE BRUTALITY YOU HAVE TO LOOK NORTH. Reporter: MILLIONS ARE STILL AFFECTED BY THIS STORM THAT RAGED THROUGH NEW ENGLAND. LOOK AT THIS PHOTO FROM SPACE AND YOU CAN UNDERSTAND THE MAGNITUDE OF THIS STORM, ALMOST HALF OF NAN TUCKET IS WITHOUT POWER. AREAS OF MASSACHUSETTS, CONNECTICUT AND LONG ISLAND AND NEW YORK BLANKETED BY 20 INCHES OR MORE. THE STORM ALSO BROUGHT OUT SOME UNUSUAL IMAGES. OUTSIDE OF BOSTON A YETTI WAS ON THE PROWL. OUR ROB MARCIANO MET ONE BUSINESS TRAVELER WHO FORGOT TO PACK HIS COAT. WHERE ARE YOU HEADED? TO THE OFFICE. Reporter: HERE IN AMERICA'S BUSIEST SKITE AT A STOP. THE NEW YORK CITY SUBWAY CLOSED. I CAUGHT ONE OF THE LAST TRAINS LAST NIGHT. USUALLY IT IS TEAMING WITH PEOPLE AND IT IS EMPTY. Reporter: THE GOVERNOR IS NOT BACKING DOWN FROM HIS DECISION TO SHUT DOWN SO MUCH OF THE STATE. YOU ACT ON THE INFORMATION THAT YOU HAVE AT THE TIME. THE ROADS WERE EMPTY, WE COULD ACTUALLY PLOW THE ROADS. Reporter: CONNE CONNECTICUT'S GOVERNOR GLAD FOR THE ACTION. WE ONLY HAD 11 ACCIDENTS ON THE HIGHWAY SYSTEM AND ONE MINOR INJURY. THAT'S SPECTACULAR. ONE PERSON WHO IS APOLOGIZING TODAY AND GETTING A LOT OF BUZZ FOR IT, A METEOROLOGIST IN NEW JERSEY. HE SAID YOU EXPECTED US TO GET IT RIGHT, WE DIDN'T.

Reporters brave blizzard

BUT FOR THOSE ON ASSIGNMENT DURING BLIZZARD 2015 IT IS NO EASY TASK. Reporter: ALL ACROSS THE NORTHEAST UNITED STATES, RESIDENTSES ARE TAKING COVER FROM BLIZZARD 2015. REPORTING LIVE FROM NASSAU, COUNTY. Reporter: THE REPORTERS ON ASSIGNMENT ARE RIGHT IN THE THICK OF IT. IT IS COLD AND I HAVE HAD A LOT OF SNOW BLOWN INTO MY FACE. Reporter: FROM RAIN AND SNOW TO EVERYONE'S FAVORITE. THE THING WE FOUNT MOST DIFFICULT TO DEAL WITH ARE THE BIG WIND GUSTS, TROPICAL STORM FORCE WIND GUSTS. Reporter: ALTHOUGH THEY STAY POISED THERE IS NO JACKET THICK ENOUGH TO DEAL WITH MOTHER NATURE'S WRATH. VERY STRONG WINDS AND THAT HAS JUST BEEN BLOWING SNOW. A LOT OF SNOW HAS FALLEN. Reporter: LIKE MOST SEVERE WEATHER SCENARIOS THEY HAVE NO CHOICE BUT TO GRIN AND BEAR IT. YOU KNOW, PEOPLE ARE DEFINITELY HEEDING THE GOVERNOR'S WARNING. NOW AS THE STORM CLEARS, HOPEFULLY SOME OF THESE GUYS WILL GET A DAY OR TWO TO THAW

Weather Authority report on blizzard

TIME AGO ON A RUNWAY. A BEAUTIFUL DAY HERE IN SOUTH FLORIDA. TOTALLY DIFFERENT FOR US OUT HERE ALTHOUGH COLD WE'VE GOT OUR LONG SLEEVES, SWEATERS ON BUT THE STORM IT WASN'T AS BAD AS PREDICTED. NOT AS BAD FOR OUR FRIENDS IN NEW JERSEY AND NEW YORK BUT THE WORST IS CONTINUING FOR OUR FRIENDS IN BOSTON AND NORTH OF THAT AREA. MAINE GETTING SLAMMED AGAIN. WE HAVE HEAT FEETER BANDS WRAPPING AROUND THIS AREA OF LOW PRESSURE OVER THE WESTERN ATLANTIC. I TALKED ABOUT IT THIS MORNING. FEEDER BANDS ARE WHAT WE DEAL WITH TROPICAL STORM CALLED RAIN BANDS. THEY HAVE SNOW BANDS THIS AFTERNOON AND THEY HAVE BEEN DEALING WITH IT CONSISTENTLY THE LAST 12 TO 16 HOURS. IT MAY NOT HAVE BEEN THE WORSE WEATHER IN NEW YORK AND NEW JERSEY BUT DID SEE SNOW. WINDS NOT STRONG AS WHAT THEY EXPECTED QUALIFIED AS A BLIZZARD FOR THREE HOURS. WE ARE SEEING WHERE THE BLIZZARD IS STILL AFFECTING MOST OF THE NORTHEAST. AGAIN BOSTON, PORTLAND, MAINE, THEY ARE DEALING WITH HEAVY SNOW WRAPPING AROUND THE AREA OF LOW PRESSURE AND GUSTY WINDS AND FRIGID TEMPERATURES. CHECK IT OUT. 24 DEGREES IN NEW YORK, 15 IN BOSTON, 13 IN ALBANY. THIS ISN'T EVEN WHAT IT FEELS LIKE. THIS IS THE ACTUAL AIR TEMPERATURE AND FEELS COLDER TO THE SKIN. THEY ARE NOT DONE YET. THERE WILL BE MORE SNOW TODAY AND LATER INTO TONIGHT. FOR BOSTON THE WORST OF THE STORM JUST STAYED NORTH OF NEW YORK. IT STAYED FAR AWAY FROM US. I'M HAPPY TO SHOW YOU THIS BEAUTIFUL SHOT FROM OUR HOLLYWOOD BEACH CAM. ALL IS QUIET, DRY, COOL, COMFORTABLE.

Julie Durda's S. Fla. forecast

WANT TO HEAD TO THE BEACH, A LIT CHILLY BUT ENJOY THE SUNSHINE. THE SEAS ARE ROUGH. WE FINISH OFF THE DAY WITH TEMPERATURES IN THE LOWER 70s, COOL AND WINDY AND TEMPERATURES WILL DROP DOWN TO THE 50s TONIGHT. LOWER 50s INLAND, MID 50s NEAR THE COAST.

Total accumulation was expected to reach or exceed two feet in most of Massachusetts, potentially making it one of the top snowstorms of all time. The National Weather Service said a wind gust of 78 miles per hour was reported on Nantucket, and a 72 miles per hour gust was reported in Aquinnah on Martha's Vineyard.

Coastal residents braced for a powerful storm surge and the possibility of damaging flooding and beach erosion, particularly on Cape Cod.

"It's part of living here," said Steve Berlo, who has an oceanfront home in Scituate, Massachusetts. "When the water comes, you get out of the way, and when it goes, you see what it left you. Like we always say, five days a year it sucks to live here, but the rest of the year it's good."

Maine and New Hampshire each declared a state of emergency, and government offices in both states were closed Tuesday. Cities in eastern Connecticut including Norwich and Groton had accumulated more than a foot of snow. Providence, Rhode Island, reported 10 inches of snow early Tuesday.

Parts of Long Island also experienced a blizzard, with snow falling 2 inches per hour. Mattituck in Suffolk County had topped 2 feet of snow by Tuesday morning.

A 17-year-old boy snow-tubing with friends was killed when he crashed into a light pole and died Monday night amid moderate to heavy snow and gusty winds.

"It feels like a hurricane with snow," said Maureen Keller, who works at Gurney's, an oceanfront resort in Montauk.

Sections of New York were forecast to see 10 to 20 inches of snow, and a 60-mile stretch of the New York Thruway reopened after being shut down for about nine hours.

But as the storm system spun northward, conditions improved quickly from southwest to northeast. Travel bans were lifted by mid-morning in New Jersey and New York. New York City buses, subways and trains were expected to restart later in the morning, and a return to a full schedule was expected Wednesday.

The National Weather Service over the weekend had issued a blizzard warning for a 250-mile swath of the region, meaning heavy, blowing snow and potential whiteout conditions.

But some areas in the Northeast escaped the brunt of the storm. In southern New Jersey and Philadelphia, where a foot or more of snow had been forecast, residents dealt with just 3 to 5 inches, which proved to be more annoying than life-altering.

On Monday, some cities came to a near halt as officials ordered workers to go home early, banned travel, closed bridges and tunnels and assembled their biggest plowing crews. Light snow fell steadily early Tuesday in midtown Manhattan as a few municipal trucks rumbled down empty streets.

La Guardia International Airport recorded 11 inches of snow, and Central Park was blanketed with almost 8 inches. The city had an almost eerie, post 9/11 feel to it: no airplanes in the sky. An unexpected quiet.

More than 7,700 flights in and out of the Northeast were canceled, and many of them might not take off again until Wednesday.

Schools and businesses let out early. Government offices closed. Shoppers stocking up on food jammed supermarkets and elbowed one another for what was left. Broadway stages went dark. On Wall Street, the New York Stock Exchange operated normally. Through mid-morning, utility companies across the region reported minimal power outages.

Brandon Bhajan, a security guard at a West 33rd Street building, said the situation early Tuesday was better than expected.

"We expected a lot more accumulation," Bhajan said. "I feel like the wind is more of the problem than the actual snowfall. It's rough to walk and it's very, very cold.

"I don't think they (city) over blew it. I think it's like the situation with Ebola ... if you over-cover, people are ready and prepared rather than not giving it the attention it needs."

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