First major snows of the season hit northeastern US

The worst of the storm is expected to remain to the west of New York and Washington.

    Pedestrians walk through the snow and ice in Manhattan in New York as the city experienced its first snowfall of the season on Thursday [Spencer Platt/AFP]
    Pedestrians walk through the snow and ice in Manhattan in New York as the city experienced its first snowfall of the season on Thursday [Spencer Platt/AFP]

    The first winter storm of the season to hit the contiguous United States has the most parts of northeast covered under several centimetres of snow.

    The snowfall and freezing rain that started on Thursday left the White House and Capitol buildings coated in white and caused accidents across the region.

    According to the US weather service, the storm stretched from the Ohio Valley to the mid-Atlantic. It may eventually bring over 30cm of snow to parts of Pennsylvania and New York.

    The worst of the storm is expected to remain to the west of both New York and Washington. New York was forecast to see around 8cm of snow and Washington was expected to receive 5cm of snowfall, to be followed by rain.

    Many school districts in the Washington area cancelled classes and the federal government gave workers the option to take unscheduled leave.

    As the storm moved north, it began dumping snow and freezing rain, leaving Central Park and Times Square coated in white.

    A driver clears the snow off his car during an early season snowfall in the Boston suburb of Medford, Massachusetts [Brian Snyder/Reuters]

    Drivers in New York were trapped in traffic for hours as the heavy snowstorms rolled up the East Coast.

    In the event, 15cm of snow fell in just four and a half hours, making this the snowiest November day there in 136 years. In yet another nod towards climate change, it is also New York's earliest single day 15cm measurement of snow on record.

    Although it was forecast, the amount of snow was much higher than expected as the wet storm came up against unusually dry and cold air.

    As a result, many people were left unprepared. Many highways around the city were closed.

    A traffic accident occurred on the George Washington Bridge, resulting in a heavy traffic jam that forced people to walk out of their vehicles to reach their workplaces, according to one driver.

    Weather forecasters have said the Washington and New York areas may expect a snowier than usual winter this year.

    New York experiences its first snowfall of the season on Thursday [AFP]

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies