Tens of thousands of people on the US West Coast have evacuated their homes as massive blazes continue to rage.
A winter storm that has blasted the US northeast with snow, rain and gusty winds was likely to dump even more snow on parts of New England on Thursday before heading out to sea.
The first major snowstorm of the season forced much of the population to obey stay-at-home coronavirus orders, but also disrupted travel, possibly including distribution of the new COVID-19 vaccine.
The overnight snowfall eclipsed the entire amount recorded for all of last winter in New York City, where 16.5cm (6.5 inches) of snow covered Central Park – there was just 12cm (4.8 inches) of snow tallied in New York City last year.
Here is the final video from this view. I did something I don't usually do, I tried to raise the camera before it got overrun by the snow. Well the tripod can only go so high. I only had two tries but the snow won. I kept the adjustments in the video. #nywx #winterstorm pic.twitter.com/N5Bb2ddvxT
— Ron Murphy (@isixtyfive) December 17, 2020
It also brought its wintry mix to Washington, parts of Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia and Pennsylvania on Wednesday, affecting an area home to more than 50 million people.
Forecasts showed it would pummel Boston and parts of the New England region before heading out to sea around nightfall.
In Jefferson County, West Virginia, despite the fact that most students are studying virtually, Bondy Shay Gibson, the superintended called for a “snow day,” cancelling all classes for the day. In an emotional letter, she pleaded for families to enjoy their time together.
“Take pictures of your kids in snow hats they will outgrow by next year and read books that you have wanted to lose yourself in, but haven’t had the time”
Nearly one metre (40 inches) of snow was dumped on Binghamton, New York, as of Thursday morning and a National Weather Service spokesperson said the storm set a new two-day snowfall record.
It took Fred Cullin, 23, more than an hour and a half to dig his way out of his steep, lakeside driveway in Ithaca, New York, that was packed with nearly 90cm (three feet) of snow piled up by ploughs.
“It was pretty crazy,” Cullin said. “Shoveling uphill, on ice, was definitely interesting.”
Roads were treacherous. A pileup of 30 to 60 cars on Interstate-80 in Pennsylvania on Wednesday killed two people and injured more, state police said.
At the same time, trucks were delivering the first batches of the COVID-19 vaccine. Healthcare workers around the country started receiving the first inoculations this week.
The New York area’s three major airports reported 20 percent to 30 percent of flights were cancelled on Wednesday and more cancellations were expected.