Instead of closing schools and giving students snow days, the latest winter storm in the U.S. is shutting down vaccination sites and snarling other pandemic-related services as snow piles up from the Appalachians to New England, with the heaviest accumulations yet to come in many places.
With flakes falling since Sunday evening, New York City and northern New Jersey were bracing for as much as 56 centimetres of snow, and parts of New England for 30 centimetres or more. The National Weather Service warned that high winds and snowfall could persist into Tuesday in New York and Wednesday in New England.
“We’re looking at a long two days here,” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said at a virtual news conference, noting that road conditions were already “seriously dangerous” at midday.
Lara Pagano, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said the nor’easter would be a “pretty slow mover” as it brings heavy snow and strong winds.
“It’s going to be a prolonged event,” Pagano said.
As of Monday morning, in parts of Pennsylvania as much as 15 centiemtres had fallen, she said. In parts of New Jersey, nearly 18 centimetres had already been reported as of Monday morning.
In-person learning was cancelled in school districts across the Northeast on Monday, and many COVID-19 vaccination sites were closed.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said on MSNBC Monday morning that he hoped city-run vaccination sites could reopen on Tuesday.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy declared a state of emergency on Sunday and closed all state government offices for non-essential personnel.
Hundreds of flights were cancelled at the region’s major airports on Monday. Transportation officials said on Twitter that 81 per cent of flights were cancelled at New York’s LaGuardia Airport and 75 per cent at Newark Liberty Airport.
Amtrak cancelled all Acela service between Boston and Washington and Pennsylvanian service between New York and Pittsburgh. Amtrak’s Northeast Regional, Keystone Service and Empire Service were operating on limited or modified schedules.
All New Jersey Transit trains and buses were suspended, except for the Atlantic City Rail Line. New York Waterway ferries were suspended.
In recent days, a storm system blanketed parts of the Midwest, with some areas getting the most snow in several years. Ohio, Washington, D.C., and parts of Virginia also received snow.
Snow and cold in Washington led President Joe Biden to postpone a visit to the State Department that had been planned for Monday.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the administration had been in contact with the governors of states affected by the weather.