A US winter storm is bringing heavy snow and travel disruption to the Northeast

  • By Madeline Halbert
  • BBC News, New York

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See: New York's snowiest day in two years

The Northeast US coast was hit by one of its worst snowstorms in two years, blanketing cities with more than a foot of snow and causing travel chaos.

Thousands of students in New York, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts have suspended in-person schooling, replacing it with online classes.

About 1,200 US flights – mostly to New York and Boston – were canceled and another 1,700 were delayed.

However, no loss of life or loss of life due to the storm has been reported so far.

Snow began to fall quickly in the early morning from eastern Pennsylvania to Massachusetts, leaving nearly 50 million people under winter weather warnings.

Some areas saw heavy snowfall, including Farmington, Connecticut, which recorded 15.5 inches (39 cm) of snow on Tuesday.

The blizzard knocked out power to 150,000 Pennsylvania residents Tuesday morning local time.

Conditions made travel dangerous, leading to minor car accidents in Boston and New York City. Some areas have banned commercial vehicles on roads, while authorities have urged residents to avoid travel if possible.

Students in New York City had to switch to distance learning, which was plagued by technical issues that prevented the district's 900,000 students from logging in.

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VIEW: The world-famous New York skyline is covered in snow

Mayor Eric Adams defended the decision the next day, saying students have fallen behind during the pandemic and cannot afford to miss more school days.

New York City Public Schools Chancellor David Banks blamed the problems on IBM, which provides log-in software for online learning.

“It's a test. I don't think we passed the test,” Mr Banks said during a news conference, adding that he was “disappointed, frustrated and angry”.

IBM told US media that the issues were “largely resolved” and apologized for the inconvenience caused to families.

The storm ended a 744-day snow drought for New York City, which hasn't seen more than 2.5 inches of snow in two years.

About 3.2 inches of snow falls in Central Park, making it New York's snowiest day since January 2022.

Snow, once common in New York winters, has become increasingly rare in recent years.

The weather prompted some residents to brave the cold and head to the city's parks.

Brian Sullivan, a retired city planner, told the BBC he had been skiing in Brooklyn's Prospect Park for the past 50 years.

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Brian Sullivan can't ski in New York City because of climate change, he says

He said he can ski seven to 10 days a year at the park, but that hasn't been true for the past two years.

“Winter is waning. The hot weather will last longer. Despite the snow, it may not bloom until the end of March,” he said.

By Tuesday afternoon, the storm had begun to move eastward from New York toward Connecticut, Rhode Island and southern Massachusetts.

By Tuesday evening, more than 81,000 customers were without power in Massachusetts, according to poweroutages.us.

Strong winds and heavy snow will affect Nova Scotia in Canada this afternoon into Wednesday morning, with some areas expecting 5 – 10 inches of snow.

With additional reporting by Phil McCausland

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