Deadly storm that dumped feet of snow across the Northeast takes aim at northern New England

Major snowstorm disrupts travel, shuts down vaccination sites
02:13 - Source: CNN
CNN  — 

A deadly winter storm that dumped several feet of snow in the Northeast and brought coastal flooding slowly moved toward an end Tuesday.

Still some storm activity – showers and gusty winds – are expected to continue into Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service.

People in the region on Tuesday were digging out of heavy snow – including almost 3 feet in parts of Pennsylvania and New Jersey – that closed or snarled roads, airports and public transit systems.

The storm directly led to the death of at least one person, authorities said. Patricia Becker, a 67-year-old with Alzheimer’s disease, wandered from her home in Allentown, Pennsylvania, and was found dead of hypothermia. Her death was ruled an accident, Lehigh County Coroner Eric D. Minnich said in a statement.

Three other people died Monday in a homicide-suicide following a dispute over snow shoveling in Plains, Pennsylvania, police said.

Among the highest snowfall totals reported so far were 35.1 inches in Mount Arlington, New Jersey, and 35 inches in Angels, Pennsylvania, according to the National Weather Service.

New York’s Central Park saw more than 17 inches of snow by Tuesday – placing the storm in the top 20 snowstorms in the city’s recorded history.

The city’s public schools were conducting only online classes, keeping students at home as crews worked to clear roads and motorists tried to dig out the cars they’d parked on the sides of streets.

In Manhattan’s Washington Heights neighborhood, Jose Battiste was furiously trying to shovel out his car Monday night, hoping to drive to his hospital job Tuesday morning. “Maybe an hour and a half more to finish shoveling the snow,” he told CNN affiliate WCBS.

In Allentown, Pat Deginto was shoveling her sidewalk for a third time. “I’m thinking next year I’m moving to Florida,” Deginto, 71, told CNN affiliate WPVI.

The New York governor’s office warned that neighborhoods along the coast could experience “multiple rounds of flooding, especially during high tides.”

A home in the Massachusetts town of Sandwich was damaged in a December storm and is now in worse shape.

Minor to moderate flooding was reported across the region’s coast early Tuesday, enough to flood out basements and roads and cause minor structural damage, according to CNN meteorologist Michael Guy. Water levels were about 2-4 feet above normal, Guy said.

“This type of flooding is extremely dangerous and can be deadly,” said Guy.

More than a foot of snow covered parts of Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Vermont.

Some vaccination sites were closed Tuesday

Vaccination sites across New York were closed Monday because of the storm, and at least five state-run vaccine sites in the state were to be closed Tuesday, the governor said.

“For the safety of both workers and individuals scheduled to receive a vaccination, we will be postponing appointments for tomorrow at several vaccination sites that are being impacted by this storm,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday. “To be clear – no one is losing an appointment – they will all be rescheduled when conditions are safer.”

In New Jersey, Gov. Phil Murphy announced state offices and the state’s six vaccine mega-sites will remain closed Tuesday as a result of weather conditions.

The vaccination sites will open Wednesday, the governor told CNN affiliate WABC.

In Pennsylvania, where Gov. Tom Wolf signed a disaster emergency proclamation in response to the storm, officials said Monday they were worried about how the conditions would affect vaccinations.

“Throughout the storm, (the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency) is working with our state and county partners to make sure we have a clear understanding of the storm and how it is affecting different parts of the state,” said PEMA Director Randy Padfield.

“We are particularly concerned with shipment and delivery of COVID-19 vaccines, so we appreciate citizens who are taking this storm seriously and staying off the roads because fewer vehicles means fewer incidents that could delay those operations,” Padfield said in a statement.

A person shovels snow in New York's Greenwich Village neighborhood on Monday.

Dangerous travel conditions across the region

As the storm pummeled Connecticut on Monday, Stamford authorities said they rescued two people from a pickup truck that was hit by high winds, snow and a strong tide that caused the vehicle to fill with water.

Monday afternoon, firefighters found the truck partially submerged and floating 40 feet from the shore, the Stamford Fire Department said. A female was standing on one side of the vehicle shouting that a man was trapped inside, the department said.

Firefighters found the vehicle floating about 40 feet from the shore.

Firefighters swam to the vehicle and were able to get the female out with the help of an aerial ladder, while they worked to rescue the man as the truck quickly became entirely submerged by water,” the department said in a news release.

“One firefighter maintained a physical hold on the man’s arm and was able to pull him through the small window after the truck was completely under water,” the department said. “Once he was free, firefighters placed the man into the tower ladder and both occupants were brought to shore.”

The man was later transported to the hospital, authorities said.

In New Jersey, state police reported Monday night they had responded to more than 660 vehicle crashes and more than 1,000 motorist aids in about a day. “Motorist aids can be anything from flat tires, mechanical breakdowns, spin outs, etc,” state police said. “We urge residents to remain off of the roads.”

CNN’s Melissa Alonso, Dave Hennen, Judson Jones, Taylor Ward, Ganesh Setty, Joe Sutton, Laura Ly and Evan Simko-Bednarski contributed to this report.