STORM Olena halted Covid vaccinations in 20 states and sparked travel chaos across across the North East on Monday – as expected snowfall highs of 2ft were smashed with hours of blizzards still to come later on Tuesday.
As the storm continues into Tuesday, officials warn the heaviest of the snow accumulation is still to come in some places, as parts of northern New England wait their turn to be pummeled by the storm.
The National Weather Service said a foot or more could be on the ground in New England by the time the snow finally tapers off in the northernmost states by Wednesday evening.
Already, at least 2,000 flights were cancelled and thousands were left without power, a Pennsylvania woman with Alzheimer’s froze to death after reportedly wandering from her home – and three others in the state were killed in an alleged murder-suicide after a fight over shovelling snow.
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 Tuesday.
He urged providers that called off vaccination appointments to extend their hours if needed to reschedule the shots by the end of the week.
Along with vaccination delays, the lumbering storm caused other problems all along the eastern United States on Monday.
At least four people have died in the winter freeze, including a 67-year-old woman with Alzheimer’s disease who reportedly wandered away from her home in Pennsylvania.
A further three deaths, also in Pennsylvania, were announced by authorities on Monday night in a murder-suicide linked to a dispute between neighbors over snow shoveling.
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.
On Monday night, 20 inches or more had already fallen from eastern Pennsylvania to northern New Jersey. The highest total of 30 inches was reported in Mendham, New Jersey, at 11 pm.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo described the situation as being “serious as a heart attack” as cities from DC to New York were pummeled by two feet of snow.
The storm dumped over 16 inches of snow in Central Park by 7pm Monday, according to the National Weather Service.
In Virginia, four firefighters were taken to hospitals with injuries that were not life threatening after their firetruck overturned Sunday on snow-covered roads in Henrico County, The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported.
Winter Storm Orlena watches and weather advisories are now in effect across 20 states, says the National Weather Prediction Center, just as the blizzard begins to wreak havoc across the country.
The slow-moving storm is expected to continue to dump two or three inches every hour in New York, where authorities are bracing for one of the worst snowstorms since 1869.
Above-ground subways and New York’s commuter railroads will resume service early Tuesday morning following shutdowns caused by Winter Storm Orlena.
The subway service will return at 5am, according to Gov Cuomo’s office, while the Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North are expected to resume operations by 4 am.
Earlier, New York Mayor Mayor Bill de Blasio declared a state of emergency, restricting all non-essential travel after 6am on Monday.
Cuomo declared an emergency in nine more counties throughout the Hudson Valley and Long Island.
During Cuomo’s press conference on Monday – where it was announced above grounds Subway trains would start to close at 2pm – Interim Transit President Sarah Feinberg said: “If you are not home and you need to get home, you need to start making your way there now.”
Flights were grounded at JFK and LaGuardia airports and major roadways including the Long Island Expressway, I-84 and others were threatened with closure.
Cuomo warned: “This storm is no joke and the main concern right now is that the expected snowfall rate of two inches per hour this afternoon creates an extremely dangerous situation on our roadways.
“I want New Yorkers to hear me loud and clear – stay home and off the roads and if you must travel, get where you’re going before noon, and expect to remain home for some time.”
New Jersey also declared a state of emergency, and said some vaccination sites had been forced to close.
Vaccine centers also closed across Connecticut.
Meanwhile a fire engine in Henrico County, Virginia, was overturned when it slipped on slippery ice while responding to a call, forcing firefighters to go to hospital instead.
Areas facing the wintry blast range from parts of the Northern Plains and southern Great Lakes to the southern Appalachians, Mid-Atlantic states and New England.
The governor of New Jersey, Phil Murphy, has declared a state of emergency due to the weather conditions.
He wrote on Twitter: “In preparation for the expected winter storm, I’m declaring a STATE OF EMERGENCY beginning at 7:00 PM tonight. State agencies are ready to respond, and we will use every resource at our disposal to ensure the safety of New Jerseyans.”
In another tweet he added: “All @NJTRANSIT buses, rail (except the Atlantic City Rail Line), light rail and Access Link service will be temporarily suspended systemwide for the entire service day on Monday, February 1st due to the significant expected impacts of the snow storm.”
Speaking to MSNBC on Monday morning about the likely impact of conditions on New York’s vaccination program, de Blasio said: “What do they say – when it rains, it pours?
“Right now we’re hearing we could have as much as 22 inches of snow. I declared a state of emergency last night. I said to folks, stay off the roads. It’s dangerous.
“Job one right now is to protect people’s lives by dealing with the snow first.”
He also said today that all five boroughs of New York City face “blinding snow.”
Speaking to WCBS, Cuomo said that everyone except essential workers should remain at home.
“We just have to get through it,” he said.
“I know it’s been a long year and months before this is over but this tests your character. [It’s] one of these life moments.
“We will overcome this. [The] next couple of days, stay home, stock up, and be prepared.”
He also said that any vaccine appointments cancelled today or tomorrow would be rescheduled.
Philadelphia has also declared a snow emergency which will last until February 2.
DC Mayor Muriel Bowser has also declared a snow emergency after a few inches of snow fell but several more inches are expected with around six inches due to fall in total.
Winter Storm Orlena proves to be rather dangerous in that meteorologists have predicted it would be a combination of two storms put into one, unleashing what some have estimated to be well over three feet of snow in some places.
The storms will reach as far west as the Ohio Valley, carrying with it moisture from the Atlantic Ocean which is certain to keep it fueled well past Ohio and into Wisconsin as it travels north.
Another storm is expected to travel north from DC well past New York City and into Boston, where it has been pummeling the streets with icy conditions.
Coastal areas are also expected to be hit with hurricane-force winds causing major flooding from New Jersey to Cape Cod.
Wind gusts in Cape Cod are expected to reach 75mph.
The winter storms are same ones that dumped 15 inches or rain and more than 100 inches of snow over parts of California earlier this week.
The storm is over the Southwest but is on the move eastward, while brutal cold has engulfed the Great Lakes and Northeast.
Wind chills are as low as 20 degrees below zero in parts of New England, CBS News reports.
Accuweather meteorologist Bill Deger has warned New Yorkers to take precaution whilst out and about.
“It will make for some treacherous travel,” Deger said.
Heavy snow falling at an inch to three inches an hour was forecast for Monday in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, the National Weather Service said. Much of the region could see blizzard-like conditions, with a foot to 18 inches of snow.
Harsh winds of 25mph are to set in on Sunday and Monday – just five mph below what is considered a blizzard.
The temperature will stay in the low 20s but the polar vortex will make it feel more like low teens.
Chicago got almost seven inches of snow by Sunday morning, leading to the cancellation of a couple hundred flights at the city’s two airports.
In Wisconsin, snow depths in some counties near Lake Michigan had reached more than 15 inches, and the snow was still falling.
“That’s more snow than we’ve seen in a decade,” Chris Stumpf, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Sullivan, Wisconsin, told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
New York City is also expected to hit record-high snowfall with Winter Storm Orlena, expected to receive well over two feet of snow. The last time such a blizzard hit the city was 2016, when Winter Storm Jonas buried the city in over 27.5 inches of snow.
That was the largest snowfall the city has ever recorded in Central Park when it first began recording in 1869.
Snowfall in the city hitting 20 or more inches is pretty rare – New York has only recorded seven snowfalls averaging that much since 1869, four of which occurred this century.
The deluge in California led to landslides, resulting in a massive crater on Highway One.
This comes as storms caused a landslide in California, resulting in a massive crater on Highway One.
Heavy rainfall led the California Highway Patrol in Monterey to issue warnings to stay away from the area of Highway One on Thursday.
View more information: https://www.the-sun.com/news/2242150/winter-storm-olena-latest-new-york-pennsylvania-new-england/