Winter storm detonates East Coast, dumping more snow than some saw all last season

Large parts of the eastern United States will wake up to snow from a major winter storm that has dumped more than a foot in parts of Pennsylvania, led to hundreds of car accidents and is believed to have killed at least three.

More than six inches of snow and sleet covered New York’s Central Park from midnight, surpassing the 4.8 inches that fell all winter, said the National Weather Service. According to the NYPD, lanes on the Henry Hudson Bridge were closed after a 19-car collision during the storm, urging people to stay at home.

Parts of Central Pennsylvania saw more than a foot on Wednesday. In a crash on Interstate 80 in Clinton County involving dozens of vehicles, two people were killed, and weather was a factor, state police said.

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When the storm moved north on Wednesday, Virginia State Police responded to about 200 crashes and 125 disabled or stuck vehicles. One such crash in Pulaski County killed a 19-year-old North Carolina man, a police spokeswoman said.

“We are clearly asking people to stay off the road,” Massachusetts Governor Charlie Barker, whose state is expected to receive a foot or more of snow, said during a Wednesday briefing.

Boston is expected to get 8 to 12 inches, with the heaviest snow likely between midnight and 7 a.m. Thursday, said Torry Gaucher, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service. Persistent snow showers should leave the area on Thursday evening or night, he said.

A crew from BZ Pools in Johnstown, Pennsylvania is working to create the sidewalks for several of their Johnstown customers at the start of winter storm Gail on December 16, 2020.Todd Berkey / The Tribune Democrat via AP

The great storm is hitting as the nation faces growing Covid-19 numbers and vaccine distribution.

“Our theme today should probably be if it’s not the one, it’s another,” New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said Wednesday morning. He declared a state of emergency ahead of the storm and closed state offices on Wednesday afternoon.

Parts of central Pennsylvania got heavy snow. The National Weather Service at State College measured 12.5 inches at its office at 11 p.m. and noted that the site recorded 13.5 inches for the entire 2019-2020 winter season.

A foot of snow had been recorded in Lock Haven as of 9 p.m. Wednesday, and spotters reported 13 inches in parts of Center County, the national weather service said.

Video posted by emergency services at Collier Township, just west of Pittsburgh, showed a truck colliding directly into an emergency vehicle while a crew was attending a car accident.

“This is a reminder to please get SLOW and use CAUTION not only in this weather, but ALWAYS,” the post said. “Two of our members were nearly hit during this incident, be careful.”

The winter storm would also cause significant snowfall in southern Maine and New Hampshire, with forecasts of a foot or more in the region, the national weather service said.