Police pursue a couple of snow ponies as blizzard hits US

It was a police pursuit that didn't have a lot of horsepower - two runaway ponies on Staten Island in the midst of a snowstorm.

Photos and video of nine-year-old Blondie and five-year-old Jewels on the run from the long arm of the law have seen them become stars of the storm.

They managed to escape after wind blew open their barn while owner Julius Nasso was in the shower. From there they hoofed it across the New York City borough as the entire East Coast was slammed by a late winter storm.

The unusual sight saw residents make a number of phone calls to police, with one resident saying they did a double take.

"I thought I was seeing things," Robert Stasio told the New York Daily News.

"They were just running up my block. I looked out the windows and I see these two horses, these two ponies, flying by."

But the pursuit had a happy ending, with officials confirming an off-duty NYPD officer managed to bring their free reign to an end.

Blondie and Jewels were wrangled safely (Anthony Dominick / Supplied)
Blondie and Jewels were wrangled safely (Anthony Dominick / Supplied)

The "cowboy" officer's actions even earned him praise from the city's mayor Bill de Blasio.

"I want to thank our cowboy officer for having quickly addressed the situation," he said.

Mr Nasso says the ponies quickly got over their big adventure.

"They went right back [into their pen]. They started eating their hay."

The weather has caused major transportation headaches across the East Coast, cancelling thousands of flights, stopping trains, closing roads and a warning for residents to stay inside.

Two people have already died in the late winter snow dump.

The AM Show's US correspondent Patrice Howard says no one was expecting the storm to hit so hard a week out from Spring.

"It is walloping the northeast coast, inching its way up right now. It missed New York City, but it is sweeping inland and cities are on alert."

Winter storm warnings and states of emergency have been declared in a number of cities.