Northeastern US Digging Out From Major Snowstorm

A bicyclist peddles on slick roads during a winter snowstorm in Brunswick, Maine. (Robert Bukaty/Associated Press)
A bicyclist peddles on slick roads during a winter snowstorm in Brunswick, Maine. (Robert F. Bukaty/Associated Press)

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BOSTON — People of the northeastern U.S. shoveled themselves out Feb. 2 after a two-day snowstorm that shut down public transport, canceled flights and closed coronavirus vaccination sites.

Some bands of snow were still moving through parts of Maine and Pennsylvania in the morning, but the worst was over, with more than 30 inches in parts of New Jersey and just a few inches in Boston.

The New Jersey State Police reported that as of 7 p.m. Feb. 1, troopers had responded to 661 crashes and come to the aid of 1,050 motorists since 6 p.m. Jan. 31.

Ahead of the storm, multiple states had instituted bans on commercial vehicle travel, including Rhode Island, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and New York.

Lara Pagano, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service office in College Park, Md., noted that while several areas in the mid-Atlantic saw measurable snowfall for a few consecutive days, that hasn’t shattered such records. For example, she said the most consecutive days with measured snowfall for Washington is four, while the mark is five for New York City and six for Philadelphia.

“While this storm has been a prolonged event, it’s not a record-setter in that sense, but it does rank up there pretty high, of course,” she said.

The sprawling, lumbering storm had already walloped the eastern United States by Feb. 1. More than 17 inches of snow dropped on Manhattan’s Central Park, and as much as 30 inches was reported in northern New Jersey.


In this photo taken with a long exposure, a car driven on a snow-covered road leaves a trail of light during a winter snowstorm Feb. 2, 2021, in Freeport, Maine. (Robert F. Bukaty/Associated Press)

High tide caused flooding early Feb. 2 in coastal areas of Massachusetts, where the storm had already disrupted the second phase of the state’s vaccine rollout as a Boston site that was supposed to open Feb. 1 for residents ages 75 and older did not; some other mass vaccination sites remained open.

Several areas of Massachusetts were hit with 18-plus inches of snow, including the central Massachusetts communities of Fitchburg, Lunenburg and Ashburnham.

Much of southern New Hampshire got about a foot of snow. Parts of northern New Hampshire, where the state’s ski resorts and most of the snowmobile trails are, got 9-10 inches.

“For the next couple of weeks, the conditions are going to be phenomenal,” Gov. Chris Sununu said Feb. 2 during an interview on WZID-FM.

In Connecticut, Gov. Ned Lamont said the storm forced the postponement of about 10,000 shots and delayed the state’s weekly resupply of vaccine, now expected Feb. 2. He urged providers that called off vaccination appointments to extend their hours if needed to reschedule the shots by the end of the week.

A state of emergency imposed by New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy remained in effect Feb. 2 and the state’s six megasites for COVID-19 vaccines were still closed as plow operators faced snow showers and blowing snow.

There was also concern about coastal flooding in New Jersey. In a Facebook video posted by Union Beach Police, Keyport Police Chief Shannon Torres and Capt. Michael Ferm were shown rescuing a man who was showing signs of hypothermia in his car from floodwaters.

In Virginia, four firefighters were taken to hospitals with injuries that were not life threatening after their fire truck overturned Jan. 31 on snow-covered roads in Henrico County, The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported.

Power outages appeared to be minimal. About 5,000 customers in Massachusetts and about 3,000 in New York were without power Feb. 2.

In Pennsylvania, authorities said a 67-year-old woman with Alzheimer’s disease who reportedly wandered away from her home was found dead of hypothermia on an Allentown street Feb. 1.

About 60 miles north in Plains Township, a shooting after an argument over snow removal killed a married couple, and the suspect was later found dead at his nearby home of a wound believed to have been self-inflicted, officials in Luzerne County said.

A preliminary investigation indicates the people involved had a long-running conflict, but “this morning, the dispute was exacerbated by a disagreement over snow disposal,” District Attorney Stefanie Salavantis said.

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