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Photos, Videos: Massive Snowstorm Blankets US East Coast, Halts COVID-19 Vaccine Appointments

© Sputnik / Morgan ArtyukhinaImage of the Taft Bridge in Washington, DC, captures snow-covered greenery in Rock Creek Park as a massive snowstorm envelops much of the US East Coast.
Image of the Taft Bridge in Washington, DC, captures snow-covered greenery in Rock Creek Park as a massive snowstorm envelops much of the US East Coast. - Sputnik International, 1920, 02.02.2021
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Dubbed Winter Storm Orlena by forecasters, the first nor’easter of 2021 is expected to dump upwards of 20 inches of snow in some parts of the US East Coast and bring with it gusty winds teetering on blizzard conditions.

A powerful winter storm has worked its way across much of the East Coast, shutting down schools, commuter services, flights and even forced cancellations of COVID-19 vaccination appointments that Americans have been eager to snatch up.

The heaviest snow accumulations stretch from parts of Pennsylvania to New Jersey, New York and southern New England, according to the Weather Channel, which also highlighted that in Lehigh, Pennsylvania, officials reported a “rate of 3 inches in 1 hour.”

Snow totals reported by the National Weather Service indicate the highest figure reported to date was reported early Sunday in Independence, Virginia, with 36 inches of snow. The latest update on Monday shows a high of 26 inches of snowfall accumulated in Mendham, New Jersey.

Marking a first in over five years, the snowstorm even brought over a foot of fresh powder to New York City’s Central Park, a welcomed gift for many eager to dust off their old sleds. Officials reported a whopping 15.3 inches of snow in the famous park.
Weather experts have noted that strong winds have been reported mostly near the coast along Delaware and New England, some of which reached over 50 mph. Conditions are expected to worsen throughout the night for some portions of the US coastline.

However, while cities have been blanketed by layers of snow, some communities have been inundated with coastal flooding. Philadelphia-based meteorologist Steven Sosna warned on Twitter that rising water levels would reach “moderate to potentially major coastal flooding” between 10 p.m. local time and midnight along Delaware and New Jersey.

Over yonder in Chicago, Illinois, residents saw more than 9 inches of snow over the weekend as the storm swept through the area. The storm even provided a picturesque view of churning ice along Lake Michigan.

In New York, the powerful storm went as far as prompting city officials to close all aboveground subway services, effectively closing over 450 of the complex system’s stations. The majority of the stations were located in the Brooklyn, Queens and Bronx boroughs.

Amid calls for closures, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo urged residents to be prepared  for “major closures” so as to avoid any chances of becoming “stranded in a location where [locals] can’t get home.”

“This is a dangerous, life-threatening situation,” he stressed.

All commercial flights out of both Kennedy Airport and LaGuardia Airport were also canceled amid the storm, with scheduled flights coming out of Philadelphia International Airport and at Boston Logan International Airport also being suspended.

As the storm has grounded many aspects of life, it also forced many states to put their COVID-19 testing and vaccination appointments on hold. In the Empire State, vaccination appointments were postponed twice as a result of the winter storm.

In Rhode Island, all state-operated testing sites were temporarily closed, with vaccinations at regional facilities postponed until further notice. The Providence Journal reported that the Ocean State could see up to 18 inches of snow and experience blizzard conditions.

Similar closures were also reported in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and in New Jersey.

The storm has led to several deaths so far. The Philly Voice reported that one woman died of hypothermia in Pennsylvania “after she wandered from her home.” The individual suffered from Alzheimer’s disease, and had been found four blocks from her home.
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