Runners in the Boston marathon battled freezing rain and fierce headwinds on Monday as wild spring weather battered the US north-east, causing flash flooding that cascaded into subway stations in New York.
The annual race in Boston took place five years after the terrorist bombing near the finish line that killed three and injured hundreds more in 2013, and this year sent about 30,000 participants on to the streets in bone-chilling conditions.
Severe storms hit the New York region and up into New England early on Monday, with rain lashing down at up to half an inch an hour or falling as sleet and snow in some areas, according to the National Weather Service.
Commuters into downtown New York City faced hazards ranging from a waterfall cascading down subway station steps to rain pouring from a station ceiling.
Floods caused major traffic disruption across New Jersey and into the New York suburbs amid torrential downpours, thunder, lightning and gusts up to 40mph.
In Manhattan, one traveler posted a video on Twitter of water tumbling from Broadway down into the 145th St subway station serving the 1 train in Harlem. The flooding swirled into the ticket hall and trains were force to bypass the station, according to the authorities.
Travelers arriving at the busy Bryant Park station in Midtown Manhattan were confronted with flooding pouring from the ceiling at the platform level, forming a wall of water as train doors opened during rush hour.
Some in the north-east complained of being awoken at 3.30am by flash flood alerts of the kind that automatically prompt a loud warning on mobile phones.
As the storm gathered its fury after dawn, downed trees, inundated roads and strong winds caused travel delays. In Boston, race organizers issued elite runners with an extra bib, so they could shed layers with less risk of hypothermia. The thousands of competitors huddled under tents before the start of the morning event, while temperatures were close to freezing, then splashed their way through a soaking 26.2 miles, often into gale-force headwinds.
Desiree Linden became the first American woman to win the marathon since 1985. Japan’s Yuki Kawauchi was the male winner.