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Northeast Snowstorm News: Live Updates of NY, NJ, PA, MA and More

A winter storm brought high winds and snow to Pemaquid Point near Bristol, Maine, on Tuesday.
A winter storm brought high winds and snow to Pemaquid Point near Bristol, Maine, on Tuesday.Credit…Tristan Spinski for The New York Times

A powerful winter storm pushed into northern New England on Tuesday, after hammering much of the Northeast the day before, leaving at least one person dead and disrupting travel for millions.

The storm was swooping away from the Boston area, which received just a few inches of snow but was still dealing with the cancellations that have accompanied the storm as it trudged the region. By early Tuesday, Boston Logan International Airport had reported dozens of canceled flights, though two mass coronavirus vaccination sites in the Boston area were scheduled to open as usual, after closing early on Monday because of the storm.

North of Boston, in the town of Wilmington, about 20 inches of snow layered the ground on Tuesday morning, according to the National Weather Service. The storm battered other parts of the Northeast on Monday, when the Weather Service said the highest reported snowfall was in Mendham, N.J., which received 30 inches.

The snowfall was just beginning in northern Maine on Tuesday morning, said Patrick Maloit, a meteorologist with the Weather Service in Caribou.

The region was expecting about nine to 15 inches of snow, with the heaviest snowfall beginning on Tuesday afternoon and continuing into the evening. The storm will create dangerous travel conditions, but Maine residents are used to these warnings, Mr. Maloit noted. “It’s not like we don’t get these conditions every year,” he said.

In southern Vermont, nearly six inches of snow was reported by Tuesday morning, with more expected. A winter storm warning was in effect for the southern part of the state until Tuesday evening, while northern counties were under a warning until Wednesday, according to the Weather Service. Between eight and 13 inches of snow was expected on Tuesday.

In Allentown, Pa., the police said they responded to a call that a 67-year-old woman with Alzheimer’s disease who had walked away from her home early Monday morning. She was later found lying in the snow, dead from hypothermia, according to the county coroner.

Areas north of New York City, including Fairfield and New Haven counties in Connecticut, were forecast to receive an additional inch of snow with some ice accumulations by Tuesday morning. As much as 19 inches fell in Danbury, and more than 11 inches fell in Hartford, the Weather Service said. More than two feet of snow was reported in Harrison, N.Y.

A subway train in Bushwick, Brooklyn, on Tuesday, a day after aboveground service was suspended because of the snow.
A subway train in Bushwick, Brooklyn, on Tuesday, a day after aboveground service was suspended because of the snow.Credit…Sarah Blesener for The New York Times

New York City’s subway system resumed aboveground service on Tuesday morning, a day after it was suspended because of one of the most powerful winter storms to hit the area in years. Two commuter rail lines, the Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North Railroad, also resumed service.

In-person instruction at the city’s public schools was canceled until Wednesday, and coronavirus vaccination appointments scheduled for Tuesday were postponed until later in the week.

At least 17.2 inches of snow fell on Central Park by early Tuesday, the National Weather Service said, making it one of the heaviest snowfalls in the city’s history. Road conditions were expected to remain slippery, causing more delays, and alternate side parking has been suspended through Saturday.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city’s Open Restaurants program, which greatly expanded outdoor dining options for restaurants struggling during the pandemic, would resume at 3 p.m. on Tuesday.

The dense, heavy snowfall did not appear to have greatly damaged the yurts, huts, patios and other structures that restaurateurs have improvised to keep serving diners, the mayor and sanitation officials said. The storm marks the second time this winter that outdoor dining briefly closed because of inclement weather.

Mr. de Blasio stressed that diners and restaurateurs should still be cautious, and that restaurant owners could call 311 for an inspection if they thought a structure was unsound.

“We want to hear if there’s a problem out there,” the mayor said at a news conference on Tuesday.

High winds were expected, and winter storm warnings were in effect for parts of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.

On Long Island, more than 10 inches of snow had fallen by early Tuesday, while Newark received 16 inches, the Weather Service said. Further inland, snow totals reached 20 inches.

Still, during a winter in which the coronavirus pandemic has surged and temperatures have dropped, the storm offered a welcome change of scenery for New Yorkers who have become accustomed to being stuck at home.

“This is quite nice, to have just a little part of time set out for not thinking about anything Covid-related,” said Krivia Jara, 31, as she walked her dog in Washington Heights on Monday.

(A picture caption with an earlier version of this item misstated the day that the photo was taken. It was Monday, not Tuesday.)

More than 17 inches of snow fell in Central Park, making it New York City’s biggest snowstorm in five years.
More than 17 inches of snow fell in Central Park, making it New York City’s biggest snowstorm in five years.Credit…Simbarashe Cha for The New York Times

Last winter was tough for New Yorkers who like to build snowmen or, inexplicably, do not mind stumbling through snow to the subway or digging out their cars.

This week surely made those people smile: New York City was smothered by 17.2 inches of snow by early Tuesday, more than in all of last winter, when only 4.8 inches fell on the city.

It was also the biggest snowstorm since a record-setting blizzard of 2016, a National Weather Service meteorologist said.

The storm was so fierce that it crippled public transit, forcing the closing of outdoor subway service on Monday and shutting down all three of the region’s major commuter rail lines, as well as a train line that links Manhattan and New Jersey.

Still, it was a far cry from the hammering the city received in 2016, when a storm dumped 27.5 inches of snow on Central Park.

There have also been far more destructive storms, like the blizzard of 1888, which dropped 21 inches of snow on the city and killed an estimated 200 New Yorkers. Of course, back then horses were the main form of transportation, making for a far more perilous commute than a contemporary subway car.

Across the region this week, snowfall totals neared the 2016 Central Park record. The deepest was 26.2 inches in Bloomingdale, in Passaic County, N.J.

The snowfall in this storm was very wet and heavy, “which is good if you like making snowmen and having snowball fights,” said Dominic Ramunni, a Weather Service meteorologist.

But snow like this is also more difficult to clean up, Mr. Ramunni said, noting that “shoveling this stuff is almost like shoveling bricks.”

Mr. Ramunni, who said snow flurries and some rain could continue throughout Tuesday, also mentioned another sobering statistic — six of the 10 deepest snowstorms since officials began recording them in 1869 have occurred since 2000.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo touched on the issue during a radio interview on Tuesday morning.

“We now have a 100-year storm twice a year,” Mr. Cuomo said.

The Mount Washington Observatory and summit in New Hampshire. In the winter it becomes an “arctic island,” said an observatory manager.
The Mount Washington Observatory and summit in New Hampshire. In the winter it becomes an “arctic island,” said an observatory manager.Credit…Cappi Thompson/Getty Images

The major snowstorm that pounded the Northeast on Monday forced schools to close, led to hundreds of flight cancellations and generally disrupted routines that had already been altered by the pandemic. It also brought further evidence that Mount Washington in northern New Hampshire is a contender for the title “home of the world’s worst weather.”

At the 6,288-foot mountain’s summit, it felt like 18 degrees below zero on Monday night, with wind gusts of up to 75 miles per hour, according to the National Weather Service. On Tuesday, the wind chill may make it feel like 17 below zero.

As many as a quarter of a million people visit Mount Washington every summer. The sky is blue, the grass is green and the views are spectacular.

By winter, though, the mountain becomes an “arctic island,” according to Rebecca Scholand, a manager at the Mount Washington Observatory. Sophisticated weather equipment is stored in a concrete structure built into the side of the mountain, which can give meteorologists who stay there an unsettling feeling. “If you’ve ever watched ‘The Shining,’ it hits a little too close to home on the summit,” she said in a November interview.

For the next few days, only a few inches of snow are expected to accumulate, under a cloudy sky and ferocious winds. The temperature may vary from a few degrees above zero during the day to a few degrees below at night. By Saturday, officials said, it may reach “a high near 17.”

Snow piled up on a Cobble Hill, Brooklyn, street on Monday.
Snow piled up on a Cobble Hill, Brooklyn, street on Monday.Credit…Ryan Christopher Jones for The New York Times

Winter storms typically leave office-bound companies in a scramble with workers unable to get to work. This year brings a new twist: The coronavirus pandemic has prepared more people than ever to work from home.

Now, for those who have been working from home for months, a snow day is just another day. The logistics have already been sorted out, making it easier for employers to weather the storm.

In previous years, more workers may have been required to take a treacherous drive into the office, which could be stressful at best and life-threatening at worst. If workers stayed home, they may not have had the technology or the communication systems set up to efficiently continue their tasks.

“A lot of people are going to realize remote work is a little more seamless in these types of events, whereas historically it would have been a bigger deal,” said Sara Sutton, the chief executive of FlexJobs, a job board for remote workers.

But the move to remote work also brings a new risk: Workers cannot do much if the power goes out. Office buildings and other professional environments often have backup generators to guard against power outages, but many homes and apartment buildings do not.

Ms. Sutton suggested having a backup plan ready to stay connected through power outages. It could include going to a friend’s house where there is still power, or having multiple ways to get online.

Many phones allow users to create a hot spot that can connect a computer to the internet. But beware: It will chew through phone data quickly. Mobile hot spots are another option.

Among people whose jobs can be done from home, 71 percent said they were working from home all or most of the time, according to a Pew Research Center survey from December.

Gantry State Park in Long Island City, Queens, on Monday. A City Council election is proceeding on Tuesday despite the snowfall.
Gantry State Park in Long Island City, Queens, on Monday. A City Council election is proceeding on Tuesday despite the snowfall.Credit…Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

For weeks, eight people have campaigned for a City Council seat in eastern Queens amid several obstacles: the coronavirus pandemic, unfamiliar ranked-choice voting, and attack ads aimed at a progressive candidate.

Then came the snow. Lots of it.

On Monday, when the storm brought more than 16 inches of snow to Central Park, at least four candidates unsuccessfully called on Mayor Bill de Blasio to postpone Tuesday’s special election. They are battling for a seat that was vacated in early November when Rory Lancman left to join Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s administration.

Deepti Sharma, a small-business owner in the race, focused on making the best of it, even if the scene outside her home, by 155th Street and Horace Harding Expressway, was not promising.

“Streets aren’t completely plowed,” she said on Monday evening. “The sidewalks are barely, barely shoveled, because snow is still coming and there’s wind blowing.” Her campaign had scrapped plans to hand out literature to shoppers at local supermarkets. “We’re spending a whole day calling people, letting them know that the election is still on,” she said.

At about 5:30 p.m., Mr. de Blasio tweeted that Tuesday’s election would continue.

Sanitation plows “are making extra rounds near polling sites,” wrote the mayor, who earlier declared a state of emergency for the city and asked people to restrict nonessential travel.

Several candidates wanted the election to be postponed. There had been three early voting sites — at York College, Queens College and Queensboro Hall — but in a district with limited mass transit, other voters were waiting for Tuesday.

“I don’t want someone endangering themselves to come out in a foot of snow to cast a vote,” one candidate, Soma Syed, a lawyer and small-business owner, said in a statement.

Another candidate, Dilip Nath, who has worked in health care technology, said that holding the election would be a “disenfranchisement of voters that are not able-bodied and voters that do not have a reliable method of transportation.”

Two other candidates, Dr. Neeta Jain, a psychologist, and Mujib U. Rahman, president of the Bangladesh Society of North America, signed on to Ms. Syed’s statement.

“Turnout will be very, very low if we go through,” Dr. Jain said in a brief interview. A little more than 5,500 people submitted ballots during nine days of early voting, which ended Sunday, according to figures from the New York City Board of Elections.

Other candidates had urged for the election to continue. Moumita Ahmed, a progressive activist who was the target of attack ads, wrote on Twitter, “Working-class immigrant families in Queens have endured far, far worse than this snowstorm throughout this pandemic.” James F. Gennaro, a former City Council member, tweeted on Monday for residents to “BEAT THE SNOW AND VOTE NOW!”

Also running for Mr. Lancman’s seat is Michael Earl Brown, who could not be reached on Monday.

The winner of Tuesday’s election will hold the seat only until Dec. 31. There will be a primary in June and a general election in November for a full four-year term.

Yes, the heavy snow across the Northeast caused plenty of problems, but it was also responsible for the following video of pandas sliding and rolling in the snow.

In the spirit of that footage, shared by the National Zoo in Washington on Sunday, here are a few other ways of making the most of the winter weather.

Some people took the opportunity to build snowmen — masked, of course.

And with some roads covered in snow, one woman strapped on her skis and took to the streets of Manhattan.

Last week, the Manhattan Bird Alert Twitter account shared news that a snowy owl had been spotted in the middle of Central Park’s North Meadow ball fields — the first recorded sighting since 1890. The owl had not been seen on Monday, but birders still kept tabs on these sledders flying down a hill and some mallards trudging through the ice.

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transcript

Groundhog Predicts Six More Weeks of Winter

At a virtual ceremony, the groundhog known as Punxsutawney Phil predicted six more weeks of winter.

“Phil, Phil, Phil, Phil, Phil, Phil, Phil.” [knocking] [cheering] “Hi, what do you think? This one? Is it this one?” “It’s a beautiful morning, this I can see, with all my fans viewing virtually. My faithful followers being safe and secure, our tradition of Groundhog Day must endure. But now when I turn to see, there’s a perfect shadow cast of me — six more weeks of winter there will be.” [cheering]

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At a virtual ceremony, the groundhog known as Punxsutawney Phil predicted six more weeks of winter.CreditCredit…Barry Reeger/Associated Press

Punxsutawney Phil — that prognosticator of prognosticators, that seer of seers — was dragged from what seemed like a very cozy den in a small town in western Pennsylvania at the crack of dawn on Tuesday morning to deliver his annual proclamation: there will, he says, be six more weeks of winter.

There was no live crowd to cheer him on this year, but nearly 20,000 people joined via livestream to watch as a socially distanced group of men stood on a stage still bearing piles of snow from the storm moving through the Northeast to wake the critter up, put their ear to his mutterings, and translate whether or not he had seen his shadow.

He had, they declared, for the 106th time in the 136-year history of the event.

At least one forecaster contradicted Phil’s wintry prediction. Staten Island Chuck, New York City’s resident rodent meteorologist, indicated that spring was on the way in a video watched by around 12,000 people on the Staten Island Zoo’s Facebook page.

One member of Phil’s “inner circle,” perhaps aware that the extension of winter would not be welcome news in this of all years, urged people to look beyond the rodent’s forecast.

“After winter, you’re looking forward to one of the most beautiful and brightest springs you’ve ever seen,” he said.

Clearing a sidewalk in Philadelphia on Monday, where 7.7 inches of snow fell near the airport.
Clearing a sidewalk in Philadelphia on Monday, where 7.7 inches of snow fell near the airport.Credit…Mark Makela for The New York Times

In Pennsylvania, some parts of the state saw especially high snowfalls overnight before the flurry of snowflakes tapered down on Tuesday. Nazareth, a borough in the eastern part of the state, recorded 31 inches of snow as of Tuesday morning, according to the National Weather Service.

In Lehigh County, snowfall totals reached similar heights. Whitehall Township saw 28 inches of snow, and at the Lehigh Valley International Airport, more than two feet — 27.3 inches — layered the ground, the National Weather Service said.

Just a few miles away in Allentown, William Kohler said that many people in his neighborhood on the east side of the city were struggling to dig their cars out from under the snowfall. “It’s a real mess out here,” Mr. Kohler, 59, said.

He went for a walk in the morning to take pictures of the scene, and saw that most shops were closed, traffic was minimal and many of the side streets were not yet plowed. Many cars in the area were completely enveloped by a white blanket of snow, Mr. Kohler said, and very few people were out and about.

The snow had eased by Tuesday morning, said Mr. Kohler, who was waiting for someone to come help shovel in front of his home as he has health issues that prevent him doing it himself. Despite the hard work that the snow brings with it, Mr. Kohler was excited to finally see some serious snowfall.

“I love the snow,” he said.

Pennsylvania’s largest city, Philadelphia, saw significantly less snowfall than Lehigh County, with 7.7 inches falling near the airport, the National Weather Service recorded.

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