A former Huddersfield student who started a new life in New York a week ago had a less than warm welcome – from storms and record snowfall.

Former Greenhead College student Joe Cooke, 25, is now a media executive for American news channel NBC.

He flew out to New York last week to take up a job as associate for strategy and business development.

But a couple of days before he was due to start in his new job, the Big Apple went into lockdown as blizzards swept the east coast of the United States.

Hurricane-force winds battered towns and cities and the National Weather Service reported that the 26.6 inches of snow that fell in Central Park on Saturday was a one-day record for New York City.

Americans were told to keep off the streets and batten down the hatches as the storms hit.

There were travel bans and flights from Britain were cancelled.

The usually bustling New York City looked more like a ghost town. Broadway shows were affected and Bruce Springsteen cancelled Sunday’s scheduled show at Madison Square Garden.

Joe, who was brought up in Mirfield and studied at Oxford University, told the Examiner of what he described as “Snowmageddon”.

He said the storm was at first expected to be “relatively short” with only six or eight inches of snow but the forecast changed on Friday night and heavy falls were predicted.

In an e-mail to the Examiner, Joe said: “The snow has been relentless, not deposited in one huge blizzard but building layer by layer, hour by hour.

New Yorkers venture out on Sunday, the day after big storms hit the Big Apple.

“On Saturday morning a calm serenity fell on the city and even the hustle and bustle of Time Square fell ghostly silent.

“We were all warned to stay indoors unless of absolute emergency but the adventurer in me meant I had to see it for myself.

“Had it not been for the laughter of children sledging in the streets and shopkeepers fighting to keep the pavements clear, the city would have been desolate.”

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Joe said the roads were almost empty barring the occasional bus or garbage trucks turned into snowploughs.

After an hour trudging through the snow Joe returned to his apartment. He had followed other New Yorkers in stockpiling food just in case.

And he turned up the heating, happy in the knowledge that in New York renters don’t pay separately for their heating bills.

There were reports that at least 18 people died in the storms across the East Coast.