TODAY   |  February 06, 2014

Relentless winter weather pounds East Coast

The second in a string of nasty storms this week has snarled air travel and left hundreds of thousands without power up and down the East Coast. In Pennsylvania, the governor signed a disaster emergency proclamation. NBC’s Rehema Ellis reports.

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>> once again, the big story here, the relentless winter weather . it's the second of winter storms this week snarling travel. the snow and ice are so bad in pennsylvania, the governor has now signed a disaster emergency proclamation. good morning to you.

>> reporter: what makes a difference is the trees toppled on power lines and power is out to millions. now the vase race is on to get the power back before the next storm hits.

>> on windshields and tree branches is too much to bear.

>> the weight of the ice tends to bring those down.

>> reporter: pennsylvania was hardest hit with more than 720,000 customers without power at one point.

>> i've been living here about 12, 13 years. never seen this many trees fall in this one block.

>> and then there's the snow. a steady stream of snow plows in all shapes and sizes hit the pavement from michigan to massachusetts. most other drivers advised to stay off the road, with good reason. the man in this car was lucky to walk away .

>> i tried to stop but there was nothing you could do.

>> reporter: the harsh winter becoming a a burden on state and municipal budgets. new york city has spent more than $57 million on snow removal so far this winter, on pace to top last season. still navigating the calf-deep puddles has become a sport for new yorkers, though some needed a little help and mass transit was a mess, with delays causing jam packed subway platforms. in ohio, desperate times. apartment least within town has run out of salt for the roads, a growing problem for lots of communities, big and small. two ships carrying 50,000 tons of salt arrived in washington to help restock. more than 3,500 workers from as far away as arkansas are coming in to join local crews to get the power back on. they're making some progress but it's slow going.