The first major snowstorm of the season left the Northeast covered in snow, setting records in some areas.
“The Williamsport Regional Airport made history,” said the National Weather Service at State College, reporting 24.7 inches of snow. Forecasters said it was the most snow recorded at that location since a single storm, breaking the previous record of 24.1 inches set there in January 1964.
Much of western and central Pennsylvania had double-digit accumulations.
Boston already broke the snowfall record on Dec. 17, registering 9.1 inches since midnight Wednesday, said a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Norton, Massachusetts.
“That’s the new record right now, and it will probably be more before it’s done,” Bryce Williams said. The previous record for snowfall on December 17 was recorded in 2013 when 6.4 inches fell in Boston. High elevations in the Berkshires saw the most snow, over a foot, in Massachusetts. Moderate to heavy snowfall is forecast through Thursday afternoon, with another 3-4 inches accumulated before slowly subsiding.
Nearly 40 inches of snow poured into Binghamton, New York, beginning Thursday morning, with widespread reports of snowfall over 3 feet in Broome County.
A spokesman for the National Weather Service said the storm sets a new two-day snowfall record. The previous record was recorded in March 2017 with a drop of 35.3 inches.
23-year-old Fred Cullin took more than an hour and a half to make his way out of his steep lakeside path in Ithaca, New York, which was filled with nearly three feet of plow-piled snow.
“It was pretty crazy,” Cullin said. “Paddling uphill on ice was definitely interesting.”
He then drove to work at a brewery about 45 minutes north, noting, “The roads are pretty brutal. I’m driving in an area where I normally travel at 60 mph and I’m cruising at about 40 just to be safe. “
Dangerous road conditions were reported in several states, leading to dozens of accidents in New Hampshire, Connecticut and eastern New York. New York State Police said a snowmobile was hit and killed by a trailer truck on I-787 in downtown Albany early Monday morning.
The storm came at a critical time in the coronavirus pandemic, although officials said they did not expect the winter blast to disrupt vaccine distribution. Covid-19 vaccines began to be administered to front-line healthcare workers earlier this week.
Overnight snowfall dwarfed the total amount recorded for all of last winter in New York City, where 6.5 inches of snow covered Central Park, far less than initial predictions of up to 12 inches. Only 4.8 inches of snow was recorded in New York City last year.
The storm caused the closure of outdoor dining spaces in New York City that were installed on roads during the pandemic and equipped with heaters and other features for the winter.
Just days after the state shut down indoor restaurants in the city again, the storm “couldn’t have come at a worse time,” said Andrew Rigie, executive director of the NYC Hospitality Alliance, an industry group. “It poses tremendous financial challenges for many restaurants, plus all the stress of securing outdoor dining facilities for the weather while they hope that what they put their money in isn’t destroyed in the snowstorm.”
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