Boston schools close, New York declares emergency as winter storm persists

Dec. 3 (UPI) — A lengthy storm that began across the country just before Thanksgiving is slowly winding down off the far eastern coast of New England, but not before dropping feet of snow across the interior Northeast.

Nearly 1,000 accidents were reported in snowy conditions across the Northeast, prompting officials to declare a state of emergency and to warn people to stay off the roads unless absolutely necessary.

The storm arrived in the region late Saturday but ramped up on Sunday, which led to broken records and disastrous travel conditions. The snowstorm will continue into Tuesday night across eastern New England.

“What is making this storm a major snow producer is an unusually long duration. A typical nor’easter will produce accumulating snow for 10 to 16 hours in any one spots but this one has been causing accumulating snow over a large area for more than 24 hours. In parts of New England, it will be 36 hours,” AccuWeather meteorologist Dave Bowers said.

On Tuesday morning, nearly 19,000 customers were without power in Pennsylvania about 10,000 outages were reported in the state of New York and nearly 50,000 were listed in New Jersey, according to PowerOutage.us.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said via Twitter his office was closely monitoring the situation and “pressing the utilities to get the lights back on as quickly and safely as possible.”

Some of the highest snowfall amounts came around central New York, where some locations received more than 2 feet. The state capital of Albany fell just short of the 2-foot mark.

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker advised residents to avoid driving if they can and to “build in extra time” in their morning commute and consider taking public transportation.

He announced via Twitter a 10 a.m. start to the business day for all non-emergency state executive branch employees.

Meanwhile, Boston Public Schools canceled all classes and after-school activities.

In New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo urged drivers to stay off the roads after a bus accident on Monday evening.

“If you have to drive, use caution,” he said.

Cuomo declared a State of Emergency for Albany, Columbia, Greene, Rensselaer, Schenectady, Saratoga and Ulster counties due to the storm, activating 300 members of the National Guard to assist with snow removal and cleanup.

“Our state is no stranger to this type of extreme winter weather and these additional measures will be critical in our efforts to keep all New Yorkers safe throughout the remainder of this storm,” he said.

The final three-day storm total at Albany International Airport was 22.6 inches, making it the eighth biggest snowstorm all-time in the city’s recorded history and the fourth biggest December snowstorm in Albany history.

“This is also the most snow in one storm since the March 13-14, 1993 superstorm,” the National Weather Service in Albany said on Twitter.

The 13.3 inches that fell at the airport on Sunday broke the previous daily record for Dec. 1 of 3.7 inches from 1969. On Monday, another daily record was broken when 6.8 inches fell, surpassing the city’s old total of 6.2 inches from 1949.

Classes were canceled on Monday at the University at Albany due to the storm.

Winter storm watches and warnings were in effect from the southern Appalachians to eastern Maine to start the week. Winter storm watches and were lifted in Philadelphia and New York City by Tuesday, but Boston remained under a winter storm warning.

More than 770 flights within, into or out of the United States were canceled on Monday, according to FlightAware.com, with many of them including the New York and Boston airports.

The New York City Department of Transportation warned commuters of delays on the Staten Island Ferry during the Monday evening rush hour due to reduced visibility caused by inclement weather. They are asking travelers to allow for extra travel time.

Snowfall totals also approached or surpassed 2 feet in portions of southern Vermont, southeastern New Hampshire and western Massachusetts.

According to the New Jersey State Police, officers responded to about 428 car accidents and 312 motorist aids (spinouts and other incidents that aren’t deemed accidents) as of 6 p.m. Monday.

The heavy snow Monday was considered the second phase of a “double-barreled” storm system. The first phase of the storm included freezing rain and sleet which turned some roads icy in parts of Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey.

“Freezing rain caused icy roads and treacherous traveling conditions Sunday morning across Pennsylvania and New York,” AccuWeather senior meteorologist Dave Samuhel said.