A powerful winter storm has engulfed much of the US northeast as heavy snow fell across vast swaths of the region and high winds swept coastal areas, causing widespread disruption in New York City and other major urban centres.
The nor’easter – a strong east coast storm whose winds blow from the northeast – is forecast to bring 31-61 centimetres of snow to some areas of the United States’ most densely populated region through Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service.
By early Monday afternoon, the storm had dumped as much as 48cm of snow in parts of New Jersey and Pennsylvania, 43cm in the New York City borough of Queens and more than 33cm in Manhattan’s Central Park, the weather service said, as bands of snow began moving north into New England and south across southeastern Pennsylvania.
If it achieves its maximum potential, it would be the first winter storm to generate more than 61cm of snow in New York City since 2016, when a record-breaking blizzard dumped 70cm on the country’s most populous city, according to the weather service.
Winter storm warnings and weather advisories were in place across the northeast.
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy declared a state of emergency on Sunday, suspending public bus and commuter rail service for all Monday.
In New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio imposed restrictions on non-essential travel due to heavy snowfall and strong winds expected to batter the city.
Mayor De Blasio also announced the suspension of in-person learning at the city’s public schools throughout Tuesday.
New York state Governor Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency in the city and 44 other counties.
The stormy weather affected more than just roads and travel as COVID-19 vaccination sites and testing locations were forced to close or change their schedules.