Food & Drink

More than a foot of snow expected in New York City; winter storm warnings stretch to Massachusetts

The East Coasts first major winter storm of the year moved over Pennsylvania, New York and other Northeastern states Wednesday, with forecasters predicting more than a foot of snow across a swath of the region. The storm caused icy conditions in parts of North Carolina and Virginia, the National Weather Service said.
Bob Oravec,
a weather service forecaster in College Park, Md., said it would be a high impact storm. We havent really had a lot of big storms the past few years on the East Coast, he said. Little bit of a change.
The storm is hitting as states are distributing the new coronavirus vaccine to hospitals, and as shipping companies scramble to deliver an unusually high volume of packages by Christmas. On the other hand, the large number of people working and attending school remotely should lessen the traffic impact, Mr. Oravec said.
Delivery of the vaccine could face a setback, but shipping companies and local and state government officials said they were prepared.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor
Bill de Blasio
said the storm wouldnt significantly change their vaccine delivery schedules. The Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency said it was on alert for any road disruptions to ensure vaccine deliveries go as planned.
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A spokeswoman for FedEx said a team of 15 meteorologists was monitoring conditions and nearly 200 logistics specialists would continue to coordinate the movement of truck and flight shipments.
UPS also said they have a team of weather experts monitoring events and releasing forecasts that lead to air and ground responses to inclement weather. The company recently opened a health-care command center at its air hub in Louisville, Ky., to track every package of vaccines from origin to destination, and can step in with contingency plans.
In Rhode Island, the Department of Health said that all state-operated Covid-19 test sites would be closed Thursday because of the storm, and that anyone with a Thursday appointment would be able to get tested when sites reopen Friday.
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation urged motorists to limit travel and imposed speed restrictions and vehicle bans Wednesday. Officials said all available crews had been dispatched to help with plowing.
This is impacting the entire state, said
Melissa Batula,
Pennsylvanias deputy transportation secretary for highway administration. This is an all-hands-on-deck type of moment.
More than a foot of snow is likely in a band stretching across western Maryland, central and eastern Pennsylvania, northwest New Jersey, southern New York and southern New England, the weather service said. Parts of Pennsylvania and the Catskills could get 18 to 24 inches.
The weather service said New York City would likely get 14 inches of snow. The precipitation should end by Thursday afternoon in Boston, which could see a foot of snow, Mr. Oravec said.
Write to Scott Calvert at scott.calvert@wsj.com
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