By Elizabeth Barber
BOSTON (Reuters) - Biting cold and driving snow kept the U.S. Northeast in the grip of another major winter storm on Sunday that made February the snowiest month in Boston's history.
Blizzards forced the cancellation of more than 1,750 U.S. passenger flights, most of them into and out of airports in Boston and New York, where gusts of up to 60 miles per hour (97 kph) were predicted.
The temperature at 1 p.m. in Boston was around 18 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 8 Celsius), but felt like zero (minus 18 Celsius) thanks to wind chill. By Monday morning, it was likely to feel like minus 20 (minus 29 Celsius).
Bruce Sullivan of the National Weather Service (NWS) said temperatures were 25 to 30 degrees below normal.
The storm was a fresh blow for retailers who were looking to the long Presidents’ Day weekend and Valentine’s Day to make up for sub-par sales during the last three lashings of snow.
Boston's fourth major snowstorm in two weeks made February the city's snowiest month since records began, the NWS said.
Boston had seen about 6 feet (1.8 meters) of snow since late January and had already set a record for the amount of snow in a single week.
Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker urged drivers to stay home on Sunday and said he was relieved the President's Day holiday on Monday would give keep traffic down and give more room to the snowplows.
Some Boston restaurants sought to coax customers out of hibernation for a meal or drink on Sunday evening, when the snow was expected to let up. One South Boston restaurant added the hashtag “#cabin fever” to its Twitter messages.
The area's deepest snowfall on Sunday was the 20 inches (50 cm) recorded in Ipswich, Massachusetts, a coastal town northeast of Boston, said NWS meteorologist Benjamin Sipprell.
Conditions were so treacherous that Interstate 195 was shut down after a snowplow got stuck, Massachusetts State Police said in a tweet.
Across the state, about 600 members of the National Guard were helping out during the blizzard, Baker said.
Conditions were so bad in New Hampshire that the town of Alton called off its annual ice carnival.
The brutal cold was expected to last through Monday, but another storm front was forming near the Tennessee Valley.
Freezing rain and sleet were forecast for Monday night in Oklahoma, Arkansas, northern Mississippi, Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana and Illinois, Sullivan said.
The system was expected to head east, turning to snow that could snarl Tuesday morning commutes into Washington D.C., Philadelphia and Richmond.
(Reporting by Elizabeth Barber in Boston; Writing by Barbara Goldberg; Editing by Kevin Liffey)