A powerful winter storm has engulfed the US northeast, blanketing much of the region in heavy snow, blasting coastal areas with high winds and bringing New York City and other major urban centres to nearly a standstill.
The nor’easter – an east coast storm with winds blowing from the northeast – could bring accumulations of 31-61 centimetres to the country’s most densely populated region before tapering off on Tuesday, the National Weather Service says.
By early Monday evening, it had dumped as much as 68cm of snow in parts of New Jersey and Pennsylvania and 43cm in parts of New York City. More than 33cm covered Manhattan’s Central Park, as bands of snow began moving north into New England.
Boston reported a mix of snow and rain. But just a few kilometres inland from the New England coast, up to 30cm of snow were reported. By Tuesday morning, some areas could see 38cm.
If the winter storm achieves its potential, it would be the first to bring 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.
Damaging winds of 48-64km/h were forecast along the New Jersey coast. In Massachusetts, the weather service forecast gusts up to 97km/h on Cape Cod and the islands of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket.
Power outages are possible overnight across the region but no major outages were reported early on Monday evening.
Winter storm warnings and weather advisories were in place across the northeast. Outdoor subway service in New York City and PATH commuter trains linking Manhattan and New Jersey were suspended. The city closed public school buildings through Tuesday.
New York state Governor Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency in the city and 44 other counties, and warned of possible road closures in the hours ahead.
More than 90 per cent of flights at New York City-area airports were cancelled.
COVID-19 vaccination sites and testing locations were forced to close or change schedules.