Schools, offices close as long-lived storm clobbers US East

ALBANY, NY (AP) – A seemingly endless winter storm that hindered travel across most of the country over the long holiday weekend is delivering a last wallop as it swoops through the Northeast, dumping heavy snow, shuttering hundreds of schools and bedeviling commuters in the region on Monday.

The storm dropped more than a foot of snow on parts of the region late Sunday and Monday and brought 10 to 24 inches total by yesterday from Pennsylvania to Maine, forecasters said. Heavy snow was also expected in the Appalachian Mountains down to Tennessee and North Carolina.

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker urged drivers to use caution during the morning commute when the storm was expected to be at its height with snow falling at one to two inches an hour in some places. Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said city schools cancelled classes and afterschool activities yesterday.

“It’s moving very slowly, so the snow is just going to continue through the day,” National Weather Service meteorologist Jennifer Vogt said on Monday.

By Monday afternoon, the storm had dropped 27 inches of snow in rural Delanson, New York, 25 miles northwest of Albany – the highest snow total in the Northeast so far. Forecasters predicted accumulations near 30 inches by yesterday morning in parts of Vermont’s Green Mountains.

A woman walks her dog through the snow on Main Street in Brattleboro. PHOTO: AP

The same storm has pummelled the United States (US) for days as it moved cross country, dumping heavy snow from California to the Midwest and inundating other areas with rain.

Governor Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency on Monday for seven counties in eastern New York and assigned 300 National Guard members to assist with snow removal. State police had responded to more than 740 storm-related crashes statewide since the snow started falling.

“We’re tough, we’ve seen it all, we can handle it all,” Cuomo said at a storm briefing before urging people to stay off the roads. He told nonessential state employees to stay home. But some workers had no choice but to trudge through knee-high snow and brush off their cars before heading out on the slushy roads.

“I just hate driving in snow,” Kaia Jansson said as she raked snow off her car in Albany. “It’s always a mess and it’s cold and not fun.”

In Nashua, New Hampshire, Alana Kirkpatrick didn’t enjoy her 5am “workout,” which consisted of removing heaps of snow from her car. “Why do I still live in New England?” she said.

Hundreds of schools were closed in advance of the region’s first significant storm of the season, a nor’easter so named because the winds typically come from the northeast.

“It’s going to be a long, difficult storm,” New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu said.

At least four counties closed schools on Monday in West Virginia, where two inches to a foot of snow was forecast. Closer to the heavily populated, coastal Interstate 95 corridor, a wintry mix was more likely.

The National Park Service said parts of the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina and US 441 through Great Smoky Mountains National Park were closed because of heavy snow predictions.

In New Jersey, Governor Phil Murphy said on Monday at a news conference that the worst was still ahead. He closed state government for nonessential workers at noon.