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Massive snowstorm hits the East Coast

CNN's Bill Weir braces for massive snowstorm
08:21
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5 mass vaccination sites will close tomorrow due to winter storm, New York governor says

Five state-run mass vaccination sites in New York state will be closed Tuesday due to the winter storm, with all appointments to be rescheduled, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced.

Mass vaccination sites at SUNY Stony Brook, Jones Beach, Aqueduct Racetrack, the Javits Center and the Westchester County Center will all be closed Tuesday.

“This winter storm is already producing large amounts of snow and creating dangerous travel conditions, and it is expected to continue into tomorrow,” Cuomo said in a press release. “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. To be clear — no one is losing an appointment —they will all be rescheduled when conditions are safer.”

At least seven state-run mass vaccination sites will delay opening until 10 a.m. ET but scheduled appointments prior to that hour will be rescheduled for later in the day, Cuomo added.

New York City's JFK airport cancels all flights for today due to storm

All commercial flights at New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport have been canceled for today, the New York City Emergency Management announced Monday afternoon.

Officials directed customers to contact their airlines for further information about rebooking.

CNN's Bill Weir answers your questions on the massive snowstorm

The first major winter storm of 2021 blasted New York City and other parts of the the mid-Atlantic and Northeast on Monday, snarling transportation, shutting down coronavirus vaccination sites and threatening the biggest storm surge since Superstorm Sandy in 2012.

CNN’s Bill Weir answers your questions from Brooklyn, New York, about the massive storm.

Watch:

08:21

Amtrak suspends service between New York City and Boston and Albany due to winter storm

Amtrak announced Monday afternoon that as of 3 p.m. ET, it has suspended service between New York City and Boston and New York City and Albany, New York due to other service shutdowns stemming from winter storm conditions.

According to a release from Amtrak, the passenger railroad service will also continue operating modified service on select routes in the Northeast on Tuesday due to inclement weather. 

“Amtrak regrets any inconvenience,” the release from Amtrak said.

Here's what the winter storm blasting the US looks like from space

Today’s nor’easter could be a historic snowstorm. As of 1 p.m. ET, Central Park had reported 13.3 inches of snow (8 inches in the last 6 hours) and it was still snowing, the National Weather Service said. CNN meteorologists say it’s possible around two feet of snow will blanket the city before the storm passes.

Satellite images show the massive storm crawling up the East Coast of the US. Take a look:

How this winter storm is impacting 3 major Northeast cities

A pedestrian walks down a snow-covered sidewalk in New York on Monday.

A massive winter storm is dumping snow across much of the Northeast today. Here’s a look at how the nor’easter is affecting some East Coast cities:

  • Philadelphia: A combination of rain and snow hit Philadelphia, where 2 to 3 inches of snow had fallen by early Monday. A rain-snow mix in the morning will likely switch back to snow Monday night through Tuesday. The final total expected there is around a foot.
  • New York City: The snowfall, which began late Sunday night, picked up intensity Monday, and snowfall rates could get as high as 2 to 3 inches per hour for the city, Long Island and southern Connecticut. That could create zero-visibility conditions and make travel very dangerous. The city transit authority suspended outdoor subway service starting at 2 p.m. ET Monday. Buses are still operating, but the city and state monitoring the situation closely, said Sarah Feinberg, interim president of the New York City Transit Authority.
  • Boston: A winter storm warning is in effect and the city issued a snow emergency. Eight to 12 inches of snow is forecast, with even more inland. Snow will be heavy Monday afternoon with 4 to 6 inches by Monday evening. A wintery mix beginning Monday night will continue all day Tuesday, changing back to snow Tuesday night. The National Weather Service said road conditions would deteriorate quickly around midday Monday.

Nor’easter could bring highest water levels in NYC since Superstorm Sandy

The strong onshore winds from the powerful nor’easter currently pounding the East Coast may bring the highest water levels into New York City since Superstorm Sandy in 2012, which could overtop the seawall. Storm surge from the system has been pushing water levels 2 to 3 feet above normal this morning, and that should increase as the winds pick up more in the afternoon and evening.

“The city should see the highest water levels tonight in the run-up to high tide,” which occurs around midnight local time, according to Bill Goodman, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Upton, NY.

The forecast calls for water levels to reach 8.4 feet tonight, very near the 8.5 foot level where water washes over the Battery Park seawall and begins to flood the Boardwalk, according to NOAA data. 

“I’d give it a one in three chance to overtop the seawall,” Goodman told CNN on Monday afternoon, “it is certainly something we will be watching for tonight.”

The current water level forecast of 8.4 feet would put the high tide just outside the top-10 of all time, but the highest since Superstorm Sandy, which set the all-time high water mark at the Battery, 14.2 feet.

More than a foot of snow has officially fallen in New York's Central Park

 A woman walks in Central Park on Monday.

More than a foot of snow has fallen in Central Park, according to the National Weather Service in New York City. 

In just the past six hours, the park received eight of the 13.3 inches that have fallen since the storm began.

More snow is expected throughout the day and into tomorrow. 

White House has been in touch with FEMA, weather service and local governors in the path of winter storm

At the top of today’s White House Briefing, Press Secretary Jen Psaki announced that Homeland Security Advisor Liz Sherwood-Randall “convened a coordination call with the acting FEMA Administrator and the director of the National Weather Service on the storm system moving toward the Mid-Atlantic region.”

Sherwood-Randall “also proactively called governors of states in the storm’s path overnight and into today and she will remain in close touch,” Psaki told reporters in the briefing room.

“Those include Governor Cuomo, Governor Murphy, Governor Wolf, Governor Carney, as well as New York City Mayor De Blasio. She expressed the president’s intent to ensure close coordination going forward among federal, state, and local officials in preparing for and responding to weather emergencies.”

The inclement weather has already disrupted an address Biden was slated to give on foreign policy, which is now scheduled for later this week.

New York governor: "It is seriously dangerous and there is no reason to be out on the roads”

Gov. Andrew Cuomo described the situation surrounding the winter storm sweeping across the Northeast as “seriously dangerous.”

Cuomo said the roads are dangerous all across the metropolitan areas.

The snowstorm according to the governor is predicted to dump over 2 inches per hour, “which snowplows cannot keep up with,” Cuomo said,” “you can’t keep the roads clear.”

Cuomo said he has declared a state of emergency for 44 New York State counties.

“There are going to be a number of suspensions and closings, and there may be rail or road closings,” he said.

Here’s a look at other measures being taken in the state:

  • NYC transit authority will be suspending outdoor subway service at 2 p.m. ET due to the worsening conditions.
  • Buses are still operating but the city and state monitoring the situation closely, according to Sarah Feinberg, interim President of New York City transit authority.
  • 90% of flights have been cancelled, according to the executive director of the Port Authority, Rick Cotton.

Strong winds pick up this afternoon

Strong winds may lead to power outages across the Northeast.

The low pressure associated with the nor’easter is intensifying over the Atlantic Ocean. As the storm strengthens, gusty winds are forecast for the I-95 corridor from Philadelphia through Boston. 

Widespread wind gusts of 25 to 35 mph are expected inland and gusts up to 50 mph near the coast. 

The strongest winds will be felt in Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, and Nantucket in Massachusetts, with winds up to 60-65 mph.

The peak winds will occur this afternoon into tonight. 

The combination of wind and falling snow will reduce visibility, leading to dangerous travel and potentially blizzard conditions.

The winds will then weaken across the Northeast Tuesday and Wednesday, but it will remain blustery.

New Jersey governor urges residents to stay home during storm: "the worst is yet to come"

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy encouraged residents to stay home during today’s storm as the next 12 hours are expected to be “really bad,” he said during a news conference Monday. 

Early forecasts showed the storm would end sometime tomorrow morning, but they now show it continuing through Tuesday evening, according to Murphy.

While there are only about 1,500 power outages reported in the state, it is expected that more outages will happen, he said. He also reported that state troopers have responded to 340 accidents and 295 motorist aid calls as of 10 a.m. ET. 

The state previously announced on Sunday that most transit and all of the six mega-vaccination sites would be closed due to the weather. It is unclear if they will reopen tomorrow and the state will share updates later in the day regarding this, Murphy said. 

The governor also announced 3,656 new Covid-19 cases and 34 additional deaths on Monday. The state has administered just under 800,000 vaccination as of today, Murphy said. 

Note: These numbers were released by New Jersey, and may not line up exactly in real time with CNN’s database drawn from Johns Hopkins University and the Covid Tracking Project.

What questions do you have about today's massive snowstorm?

A powerful nor’easter is hitting the Northeast today, and New York City could see as much as two feet of snow.

CNN’s Bill Weir is in lower Manhattan following all the latest developments and taking your questions. Leave them below”

Coastal flooding will continue in the Northeast into Tuesday

The storm dumping snow across the Northeast is also delivering some flooding along the coast.

“Right now, levels are running about 2.5 ft above normal,” says CNN meteorologist Brandon Miller.

Flooding will continue through this evening, with the highest levels expected during the high tides. Some of the worst spots may not see it subside until after high tide Tuesday afternoon, the National Weather Service said Monday morning.

“Water levels tonight will likely be comparable to water levels reached in the February 9th 2016 nor’easter,” the National Weather Service in Upton, New York said.

New York City's LaGuardia Airport cancels all commercial flights

Flights in and out of the New York area are severely impacted by the powerful winter storm sweeping the region. 

All commercial flight activity has been canceled today at LaGuardia Airport in light of the nor’easter, the airport tweeted. 

So far at John F. Kennedy airport, 83% of flights have been canceled and more cancellations are expected later today. About 75% of flights at Newark Liberty in New Jersey have been canceled. Newark has employed snow removal and de-icing operations in an attempt to keep cancellations at a minimum. 

All travelers are advised to contact their airline for updated flights status and cancellation information.

Why are we getting bigger snowstorms in a warming climate?

As New York City gets hammered with another blockbuster snowstorm, one that could end up in the top-five snowstorms – the inevitable question arises – how do these massive snow dumps happen as the planet is warming due to climate change?

And if it seems like we are seeing more of these blockbuster storms, especially along the East Coast, it’s true. 

Once this storm drops its final flakes, it will almost certainly make six of the top-10 largest snowstorms in New York City history occurring in the past 15 years. With 150 years of records in the books, one would expect to only have about one top 10 storm in the past 15 years if things were distributed evenly. 

This is a trend that is playing out in much of the country and is an expected consequence of global warming. 

“The frequency of extreme snowstorms in the eastern two-thirds of the contiguous United States has increased over the past century, according to NOAA, and “approximately twice as many extreme U.S. snowstorms occurred in the latter half of the 20th century than the first.” 

There are several reasons for the increased snow totals, with the main ones being warmer-than-normal ocean temperatures and added moisture available in the atmosphere. 

Warmer air can hold more moisture, and warmer oceans allow for more of the moisture-rich air to enter the snowstorms. The same principle is responsible for larger rainfall totals and increased flooding in hurricanes and summertime storms. 

While individual snowstorms may have larger snow totals in a warming climate, especially along the coasts, this does not mean winters are seeing more snow overall. Most locations are expected to see less snow, on average, during winters in the future.

This trend has already been observed with shorter snow seasons and more winter precipitation falling as rain across much of the country.

Looking at the same New York City snow history, even with six of the top 10 biggest snowstorms coming in the past 15 years, the annual snowfall average has dropped from around 31 inches/year to about 25 inches/year in those 150 years. 

So, in short, climate change means less snow overall — but more comes in quick bursts.

New York City Covid-19 vaccinations canceled Monday and Tuesday due to the storm

Vaccinations in New York City are canceled Monday and Tuesday in the wake of the winter storm, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said.

“The storm is disrupting our vaccination efforts,” de Blasio said.

“Vaccinations are cancelled today, “ and will “also be cancelled tomorrow,” he said. Based on the conditions the city is facing, the mayor believes it will be difficult and “not safe” to get around.

He said appointments can be rescheduled, and New York City will be able to catch up “quickly” he said, adding “again, we have a vast amount of capacity, we don’t have enough vaccines.”

New York City mayor urges residents to stay inside

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio advised people to “stay off the roads, stay off the streets and sidewalks” and “stay inside.”

He reminded people the city’s order mandating non-essential travelers to stay off the road will be in effect until 6 a.m. ET Tuesday. “We got to take this really seriously,” he said.

Schools, remote today, will continue to be remote Tuesday, de Blasio said. Schools will be back to in-person learning Wednesday. Food assistance is canceled today and tomorrow as well, and will be back on Wednesday.

Subways and buses are running with delays, and most ferries are suspended, if not canceled today.  

Deanne Criswell, commissioner of the New York City Emergency Management Department, said winds are picking up, adding “we are going to see blizzard-like conditions intermittently throughout the day today.”

There are minimal power and heat outages, but Con-Ed, the city’s energy provider, has brought in extra crews, Criswell said.

The city is also expecting moderate coastal flooding. Criswell said the areas around Jamaica Bay, could see two to three feet, which could be the most flooding from a winter storm since Oct. 2018. 

All New York state vaccination sites closed due to winter storm

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo confirmed that vaccination sites are closed due to the winter storm currently bearing down on New York state and the surrounding region. 

The confirmation came in an interview with host Wayne Cabot on WCBS radio Monday morning. Cuomo said that all inoculations scheduled for Monday would be rescheduled, and allowed that appointments may be canceled on Tuesday as well depending on the severity of the storm.

Cuomo also pushed back on reporting in the New York Times that he has overruled his own health officials, describing the setting of pandemic and vaccination policies as “a collaborative effort.”

A heavy band of snow is approaching New York City

Radar shows snow that is falling in white with darker blues representing even heavier snow that is falling.

The peak of the snow will fall in New York City over the next six to eight hours says CNN meteorologist Dave Hennen. 

Radar is showing strong bands of heavy snow — the deeper blue line shown on the radar image above. This is a sign that the nor’easter is intensifying, says Hennen.

“Snowfall rates could pick up to 2 to 3 inches of snow an hour,” he says. There is even a chance for thundersnow — when lightning occurs in a snowstorm — in some of the strongest bands. 

Snowfall totals will continue to pile up quickly in the city, where 5 to 8 inches of snow has already fallen and storm totals could reach more than 20 inches in spots. 

The storm traveled about 2,500 miles before impacting New York

The storm pummeling the Northeast has had quite the journey. It has traveled coast-to-coast — about 2,500 miles — leaving a trail of snow, flooding rainsavalanches and landslides. 

After dipping down from Alaska last week, it combined with moisture in the upper atmosphere to deliver an atmospheric river to central California.

Satellite imagery shows the storm moving from coast-to-coast over the past 5 days. 

“There were at least 3 cities that broke daily rainfall records in California on Jan 28 and 29,” CNN meteorologist Allison Chinchar says. 

Over a foot of rainfall — in just three days — fell along in the Big Sur Coast. This rainfall eventually led to the collapse of a section of Highway 1 into the Pacific Ocean.

And places like Mammoth Mountain piled snow up over 100 inches. 

Over the weekend, the storm moved over the Rockies and into the plains. Once it did, it picked up energy and delivered a solid blast of snow into the Midwest. 

Chicago saw the largest snowfall for the city since 2015, with more than 10 inches piled up in the city.

By Sunday, the storm was delivering the most snow Washington, DC has seen in over two years. Enough for the National Zoo pandas to slide around in the winter wonderland. 

Flakes fell as far south as the Appalachian Mountains in North Carolina and toward the Virginia coast at Norfolk.

Monday, the storm is delivering another historic punch of snow in New York and eventually Maine. 

Once the storm moves through Maine, it will have traveled over 3,000 miles across the Continental US. 

Snow will fall on New York City for 2 days straight

Snow began falling in New York City around 5 p.m. ET on Sunday, and it will continue for around 48 hours, until Tuesday evening.

Intense snowfall rates of 1-3” per hour are expected for New York City, as well as Long Island and Southern Connecticut later this morning through early afternoon.

During intense bands, the visibility will drop to near zero, making travel extremely difficult.

Region could see “thundersnow,” which is rare, in the strongest snow bands. 

This could be one of New York City's top 5 snowstorms of all time

A person rides their bicycle in Times Square in New York City during a winter storm on Monday.

New York City is forecast to get between 18 and 24 inches of snow during this massive storm — which means it could be one of the city’s top five snow storms of all time.

A total of 21 inches of snow would land this storm in New York City’s top five.

The largest snowstorm on record is 27.5 inches in January 2016. Records go back to 1869.

More than 1,300 flights canceled ahead of nor'easter

More than 1,300 flights across the United States were preemptively canceled ahead of the nor’easter according to Flightaware.com.

Major hubs in the New York City area such as LaGuardia, Newark and John F. Kennedy are reporting 70% to 80% of Monday’s scheduled flights as canceled.

A potent combination of heavy snow, gusty winds and coastal flooding will make travel difficult to impossible and could knock out power to some. On a five-tiered scale from the National Weather Service, New York City could see a level five or extreme impacts.

In advance of the storm, New Jersey’s governor, Phil Murphy, declared a state of emergency.

Here is what to expect in major cities along the East Coast today

As the storm crawls up the East Coast, here is what to expect in major cities along the East Coast

New York City: A storm total of 15 to 24 inches of snow

Several inches of snow have already fallen, and snow will continue all day today into tomorrow. Near blizzard conditions are expected this afternoon into tonight, with gusts of wind at 35 to 40 mph. 

Snow begins to taper off tomorrow evening, ending on Wednesday morning.

 Boston: A storm total 8 to 12 inches (heavier further inland) of snow

Snow begins this morning, becoming heavy this afternoon with 4 to 6 inches by evening. Rain and snow will fall overnight, and a wintery mix continuing all day on Tuesday. 

Precipitation changes back to all snow Tuesday night and ends Wednesday morning. 

Philadelphia: A storm total of 4 to 8 inches of snow

A few inches of snow has fallen already. Snow and then sleet will mix in today, then back to all snow tonight and through Tuesday morning. Snow ends Tuesday afternoon.

Washington, DC: A storm total 1 to 3 inches of snow 

Most of the snow has already fallen in DC. A winter mix continues today and continues into tonight. There is a chance of some light snow on Tuesday morning before ending in the afternoon.

Vaccines on hold in New York City due to storm

Vaccines in New York City are currently on hold for the day due to the snow storm but are slated to resume on Tuesday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a morning appearance on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

The city could get up to two feet of snow today.

In advance of the storm, New Jersey’s governor, Phil Murphy, declared a state of emergency and closed all six Covid-19 vaccine mega-sites.

The year's first nor'easter could bring up to 2 feet of snow to NYC

The first nor’easter of 2021 is taking shape, bringing up to two feet of snow to New York City and other parts of the mid-Atlantic and Northeast Monday, according to updated forecasts from the National Weather Service.

A potent combination of heavy snow, gusty winds and coastal flooding will make travel difficult to impossible and could knock out power to some. On a five-tiered scale from the National Weather Service, New York City could see a level five or extreme impacts.

In advance of the storm, New Jersey’s governor, Phil Murphy, declared a state of emergency, closing all six Covid-19 vaccine mega-sites, state offices and New Jersey transit. The storm threat prompted similar closures to vaccine sites in New York City.

GO DEEPER

Nor'easter could bury the Big Apple in up to 2 feet of snow
Capitol Police deny request to allow sledding, citing security concerns and Covid-19
Health workers, stuck in the snow, administer coronavirus vaccine to stranded drivers
Snow blindness can sneak up on you, but prevention is easy

GO DEEPER

Nor'easter could bury the Big Apple in up to 2 feet of snow
Capitol Police deny request to allow sledding, citing security concerns and Covid-19
Health workers, stuck in the snow, administer coronavirus vaccine to stranded drivers
Snow blindness can sneak up on you, but prevention is easy