NEW YORK/WASHINGTON, 24th January, 2016 (WAM) — Millions of residents, business owners and workers have begun digging out from a massive blizzard that brought Washington, New York and other northeastern U.S. cities to a standstill, killing at least 19 people in several states.

Reuters has quoted the National Weather Service as saying that the storm was the second-biggest in New York City’s history, with 26.8 inches (68 cm) by midnight Saturday, just shy of the record 26.9 inches set in 2006.

Thirteen people were killed in weather-related car crashes in Arkansas, North Carolina, Kentucky, Ohio, Tennessee and Virginia on Saturday. One person died in Maryland and three in New York City while shoveling snow. Two died of hypothermia in Virginia, officials said.

On the New Jersey shore, a region hard-hit in 2012 by Superstorm Sandy, the storm drove flooding high tides.

After dumping about two feet of snow on the Washington area, the storm unexpectedly strengthened as it spun northward and slammed into the New York metropolitan area on Saturday, home to about 20 million people.

WAM/AAMIR/Moran