New York, United States:
A huge blizzard wreaked havoc on the east coast of the United States on Monday, canceled thousands of flights, closed schools and forced the postponement of coronavirus vaccinations as New York City braced itself for one of the heaviest snowfalls of all time.
The National Weather Service (NWS) issued storm warnings from Virginia to Maine – home to tens of millions of people – as heavy snowfall with gusts of wind up to 50 miles per hour triggered blizzard-like conditions along the east coast.
New York declared a “state of emergency,” which restricted unnecessary travel, returned all children to distance learning, and rescheduled long-awaited vaccination shots as the city prepared for nearly two feet of snow.
Salt trucks and snow plows drove through the streets of New York, which were already quieter than usual due to Covid-19, when Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that the few children who had returned to the pandemic classrooms would also be staying home on Tuesday .
“There will be locusts next as soon as we go,” joked de Blasio on MSNBC, who also stopped outdoor dining in the final blow against the city’s restaurants affected by the pandemic.
More than 1,600 U.S. flights have been canceled – mostly at airports in New York, Boston, Philadelphia and Washington – disrupting travel, which has already been severely restricted by the pandemic.
The airlines canceled all flights to and from LaGuardia Airport and JFK Airport, while 71 percent of flights at Newark Liberty Airport were scrapped.
The Covid-19 vaccinations for New York City should also end on Tuesday.
“This is a dangerous, life-threatening situation,” New York Governor Andrew Cuomo told reporters.
At 4:00 p.m. Monday, 15.3 inches of snow had been recorded in Central Park, according to NWS, with eight inches falling in just six hours.
The snowfall was expected to continue through Tuesday morning. Forecasters are predicting a total of 20 inches before the storm moves northeast through New England.
With that much falling into the Big Apple, it will become the city’s eighth largest blizzard since records began in 1869.
“This is expected to be one of the major snowfall events for New York City,” Matthew Wunsch, a forecaster for the National Weather Service, told AFP.
Most of the snowfall that covered America’s commercial capital was 27.5 inches over three days in January 2016.
In Washington, where snow and ice has formed since Sunday, President Joe Biden has postponed a scheduled visit to the State Department due to conditions.
The capital postponed until Tuesday a planned return to school for tens of thousands of children who have been studying at home for almost a year because of the pandemic.
Heavy snow also lashed New Jersey, Philadelphia, and Connecticut.
A state of emergency was declared in New Jersey, which allowed authorities to block roads, evict houses and command public safety equipment.
“This storm will get worse before it gets better,” tweeted Governor Phil Murphy, adding that six vaccination sites in the state would remain closed on Tuesday.
Philadelphia also declared a snow safety emergency, closing the city’s government buildings for Monday and ordering residents to remove their cars from snow safety routes so the plows can get through.
In suburban Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, a couple were shot dead by their neighbor in their fifties while trying to move snow in front of their home, the local police chief told AFP.
The gunman took his own life when police arrived to arrest him, he added.
The storm hit mountainous parts of California last week with over six feet of snow and heavy rain.
It then moved to the Midwest and dropped about 8 inches of snow in Chicago, according to NWS.
(This story was not edited by GossipMantri staff and is automatically generated from a syndicated feed.)