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Powerful nor’easter brings historic snow to much of New England


A wide swath of New England was blanketed by record-breaking snow dumped by the season's first major winter storm. The remarkable snow made interstates impassable, resulting in road accidents and fatalities.

In Pennsylvania, Williamsport Regional Airport recorded up to 62.7 cm (24.7 inches) of snow– the most snow from a single storm on record, according to the National Weather Service (NWS) in State College.

"Williamsport Regional Airport made history," said NWS. It broke the previous record of 61.2 cm (24.1 inches) set in January 1964.

At least 30 to 60 vehicles were involved in a major vehicular accident on the westbound lanes of Interstate 80 in Clinton County. The Pennsylvania State Police reported at least two fatalities and several injuries. 

In Boston, up to 23 cm (9.1 inches) of snow fell since midnight on Wednesday, December 16. NWS meteorologist Bryce Williams noted that it was the new record, "and it will probably be more before it’s done."

The previous record for snowfall on December 17 was 16.3 cm (6.4 inches) set in 2013.

A snow emergency has been declared in the city and a parking ban has been implemented.

"Boston hasn't seen a sizable snowstorm since March of 2019– over 21 months ago," said Mayor Marty Walsh, advising people to be ready and prepared. 

"I ask all our residents and workers to be alert and remain cautious on our roads and sidewalks. Our Public Works Department will be working hard to pre-treat and clean our roads during this snowfall, and I thank them for their hard work."

"We are asking residents and businesses to do their part by staying safe, shoveling their sidewalks, walkways, catch basins, and fire hydrants, and looking out for one another as neighbors."

A state of emergency was declared as well in New Jersey as state offices were closed. "We urge all New Jerseyans to stay off the roads, stay at home, and stay safe," said NJ Governor Phil Murphy.

In New Hampshire, at least 50 crashes occurred due to hazardous road conditions on Thursday, December 17. 

In eastern New York, numerous disabled cars were reported along Interstate 87. According to the state police, a snowmobiler died after being struck by a tractor-trailer on Interstate 787.

Another major pileup was reported on the Henry Hudson Parkway involving about 19 vehicles, leaving at least six people injured. According to ABC 7 New York, nine of the 19 vehicles had to be towed off the bridge. 

Ahead of the winter storm, more than 1 200 flights were canceled across the Northeast. At least 700 were canceled on Wednesday and 500 on Thursday. Bus and rail services were also suspended.

The Nor'easter was one of the "largest and most disruptive" December winter storms in a while, WeatherNation said

As of Friday, December 18, the NWS said the system has pulled away from the coast, and "high pressure will build in behind it."

"This cool high will lead to below normal temperatures for the Eastern Seaboard, likely staying below freezing in much of the Northeast Friday and Saturday due to the high and the snowpack."

Featured image credit: New York State Police


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