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The streets of downtown Washington, D.C., are clogged with snow. ((Paul Hunter/CBC))

 The northeastern United States is climbing out from under a blizzard that dumped more than half a metre of snow along the eastern seaboard.

The snowstorm caused major disruptions for holiday travellers, snarling highway traffic and forcing the cancellation of hundreds of flights. The slow-moving storm, which also caused at least six deaths, continued its northward trek Sunday.

Blizzard warnings were in effect for parts of Rhode Island and Massachusetts with gusts up to 96 km/h. As much as 40 centimetres of snow was expected to cover the southern part of the New England states.

Nearly 60 centimetres of snow fell Saturday in parts of New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania,  Maryland, Virginia and North Carolina, scuttling travel plans for thousands of people at the start of the Christmas holiday rush.

Roads are treacherous and travel in Washington, D.C., is virtually shut down.

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A passer-by takes a picture of the White House on Sunday morning. ((Paul Hunter/CBC) )

Hundreds of flights have been cancelled in Washington, Baltimore and Philadelphia and airport terminals are filled with frustrated and grumpy travellers.

Record one-day snowfall totals were reported Saturday at the U.S. capital's two airports, Dulles International and Reagan National, and more snow was falling Sunday.

In Virginia, two people died in traffic accidents blamed on the weather and one person died of exposure, state officials said. In Ohio, two people were killed in accidents on snow-covered roads. In western North Carolina, a 52-year-old man was killed when his car slid down an embankment.

In New York City, crews have outfitted garbage trucks with snowplows to clear the streets because snow-removal vehicles are in short supply

Twenty-five centimetres of snow had fallen on New York City by Sunday morning, and the storm could be the worst the city has seen since about 65 centimetres fell in February 2006, National Weather Service meteorologist Patrick Maloit said.

The northern edge of the storm system reached parts of southwestern Nova Scotia on Sunday. Up to 25 centimetres of snow is expected in Digby, Yarmouth, Shelburne and Queens counties, while Halifax and Lunenburg County could get up to 10 centimetres.

There were also warnings of blowing snow for those regions, possibly making driving dangerous.

Freezing rain is in the forecast for parts of Newfoundland and Labrador. Up to 50 millimetres of rain is expected by Monday for southeast Labrador.

Among those affected by the storm are the Montreal Canadiens, who had been snowed in at a hotel in Uniondale, N.Y.

The NHL team's plane couldn't take off after the Habs made their way to the airport following their 3-0 victory over the Islanders on Saturday.

The players were forced to return to their hotel, but they caught a flight later Sunday for a game in Atlanta on Monday.

With files from The Associated Press and The Canadian Press