new york weather snow.jpg
Photograph: EPA/JASON SZENES

Snow tapered off and skies cleared Sunday over the US Mid-Atlantic and north-east as a winter storm system tracked offshore, leaving record-setting amounts of snow in its wake.

New York City, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington were among the worst hit by the weekend onslaught of snow and blizzard conditions. West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York also received heavy snow over a 36-hour period, the National Weather Service said.

A few locations came close to or broke all-time one day and two day snow records, the service said. Accumulations of 60 to 90 centimetres were common, and a few isolated areas in West Virginia and Maryland measured nearly 1 metre of snow.

The clear skies and calm conditions were expected to last into Monday, Accuweather said.

"Those clearing roads, driveways and roofs will not have to deal with gusty winds further blowing and drifting snow around," the weather service said.

The storm left at least 17 people dead, mostly in traffic accidents, but a few of the fatalities were people who collapsed while shoveling snow.

The Washington area's public transportation system, including the subway, remained shut down for a second day Sunday. The city announced that schools would remain closed on Monday as the extent of the digging out process became clear.

A record 55.8 centimetres of snow fell at Dulles International Airport about 40 kilometres west of downtown Washington, according to the National Weather Service. New York's John F Kennedy International Airport received a record 76.9 centimetres on Saturday, and Baltimore's airport set a record with 64.7 centimetres, the service said.

More than 3,800 flights were cancelled on Sunday, including about 45 per cent of the flights headed to JFK and 59 per cent of the flights headed to Washington's Reagan National Airport, according to the website flightaware.com.

Eleven states had called states of emergency ahead of the storm that brought high winds that reduced visibility and created especially dangerous conditions. Some 2,200 National Guard soldiers from 12 states had been called in to assist local authorities, the Defence Department said.

The storm also knocked out power to hundreds of thousands of households, especially in New Jersey. Most had electricity again by early Sunday, according to NBC News, but about 25,000 customers in New Jersey remained without power.

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