Winter storm wallops Northeast with up to 2 feet of snow

  • Up to 20 inches of snow was expected in New York City.
  • Blizzard conditions remained possible in some areas, “because the winds are going to be so strong.”
  • The storm has maintained its fury since sweeping through much of the West and Midwest.

NEW YORK  – The densely populated Interstate 95 corridor in the Northeast remained in the thick of a sprawling, lumbering winter storm on Monday as Philadelphia, New York City and Boston dealt with heavy snowfall that was forecast to pile up over 2 feet in some areas.

Phones buzzed with an emergency alert Monday warning drivers to stay off New York City’s roads until Tuesday morning as Mayor Bill de Blasio issued a state of emergency. The National Weather Service warned that travel in the city, where 20 inches of snow was expected, was expected to become “very difficult to impossible” and that the storm would cause travel problems for days.

In Brooklyn, cars were sliding and getting stuck on a slight hill. 

As of Monday afternoon, some areas in New Jersey had already picked up nearly 20 inches of snow, and 13 inches was reported in New York City, the weather service said.

Blizzard conditions remained possible in some parts of the Northeast “because the winds are going to be so strong in addition to the heavy snowfall,” AccuWeather meteorologist Brett Rosio said.  “Driving will certainly be dangerous, it is not recommended.”

The weather service said winds could gust 35 to 50 mph, reducing visibility with drifting snow and leading to danger of falling tree branches and power lines.

In Pennsylvania, authorities said a 67-year-old woman with Alzheimer’s disease who was believed to have wandered away from her home was found dead of hypothermia on an Allentown street Monday morning. About 60 miles north in Plains Township, three people died in a shooting after an argument over snow removal. Authorities said a married couple were found shot to death outside in the street, and the body of the suspected shooter was later found inside a nearby residence.

Pedestrians stroll down a snow covered sidewalk Sunday, Jan. 31, 2021, in Chicago's Grant Park, as light snow falls during day two of a winter storm that was expected to dump nearly one foot of snow in the greater Chicago area.

In New York and New Jersey, many COVID-19 vaccination appointments for Monday were canceled because of the storm. In-person learning was also canceled in school districts across the Northeast on Monday. Schools in New York City will be closed Tuesday, the mayor said. 

Hundreds of flights were canceled at the region’s major airports on Monday. Above-ground subway service was also suspended in New York City as of 2 p.m., though below-ground trains continued to operate. 

Despite snow blanketing streets and wind whipping up dustings, plenty of New Yorkers still trudged through the winter weather to go about their day as normal on Monday. A few cars lurched through the slushy roads, and bodegas and laundromats remained open.

Alex Floraine brought her puppy to Msgr. McGolrick Park in Brooklyn’s Greenpoint neighborhood to play. “She loves the snow.”

Floraine was off work and figured she’d take the German Shepherd-Siberian husky mix out a few times. “It’s the best,” she said. “We need this. It’s fun.”

The intersection of Nassau and Leonard in Brooklyn's Greenpoint was blanketed with snow Monday morning. Mayor Bill de Blasio issued a state of emergency with 20 inches of snow expected.

Steve Brady, who was also out walking his dog in the park, adopted the chocolate lab, Beata, on Christmas Eve. “She hasn’t really seen that much snow since now,” he said. “She’s running around (like it’s) a new world.”

Brady, 47, said the storm won’t affect his daily routine too much. “At this point everything is inside. COVID has affected my day more than the snow,” he said. 

If exactly 20 inches of snow fell in this storm, it would tie for seventh among the biggest snowstorms in New York City history, the weather service said, based on records kept at Central Park. The record holder is 27.5 inches on Jan. 22-24, 2016.

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It snowed heavily through the day in the Northeast as the storm intensified off the East Coast, weather.com said. Snowfall rates of greater than 1 or 2 inches an hour were reported.

Snow and cold in Washington led President Joe Biden to postpone a visit to the State Department that had been planned for Monday. 

The storm has maintained its fury since sweeping through much of the West last week, slamming California with heavy rain and the mountains with feet of snow.

In recent days, the storm also had blanketed parts of the Midwest; some areas got the most snow in several years. Washington, D.C. and parts of Virginia received their first significant snow of the year.

Contributing: The Associated Press; John Bacon, USA TODAY

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