Northeast US shivers in snow

A hardy cyclist braves the morning snow near Times Square in New York. Photo: Reuters
A hardy cyclist braves the morning snow near Times Square in New York. Photo: Reuters
A powerful, fast-moving winter storm has dumped more than 30cm of snow on parts of New England, after it brought New York City its first significant snowfall in at least two years.

Some 13 million people from New York City north into southern New England remained under a winter storm warning until 7pm on Tuesday (local time) as the Nor'easter pummelled the region with heavy, wet snow and winds of up to 96km/h, the National Weather Service (NWS) said.

As of midday, the storm had left numerous spots with more than a foot of snow, including Farmington, Connecticut and Sussex, New Jersey, where snow accumulations totalled more than 38cm, according to the NWS.

In Fall River, Massachusetts, where snow totals were expected to reach 22cm, all Valentine's Day flower deliveries from Robin Metivier's Main Street Florist were cancelled on Tuesday.

"It's the day before Valentine's Day and I had to tell my customers we can't do it," she said, looking out of her shop window at the snow that forced her to shovel twice already. "We're tough New Englanders, but the flowers can't take the cold."

The big wallop of snow expected for Boston did not materialise, with the city getting only about 2.5cm of snow by midday, the NWS said, noting that the storm jogged south of the city.

In the New York City area, it had stopped snowing by midday, leaving behind snow accumulations of 7.5cm to 20cm depending on the location, creating conditions for sledding and snowball fights, albeit briefly.

"Between today and yesterday, we're totally out of sleds and shovels," said Louis Mendez, manager of Columbus Hardware in New York's Hell's Kitchen neighbourhood. "We had maybe 60 sleds and I don't know how many shovels. They were our top seller."

The storm brings a conclusive end to a "snow drought" in New York City that lasted almost two years. The snow-less stretch, which exacerbated concerns over global warming, officially concluded in mid-January, when an Arctic blast dropped about 3.5cm - little more than a dusting - in Manhattan's Central Park.

More than 2000 plough trucks were working to salt and clear streets, city officials said during a briefing, urging property owners to clear snow from their walks.

"NYC remains under a Travel Advisory today as temperatures drop & snow melts, leading to possibility of icy roads," the city's emergency management agency said on X, urging drivers to exercise caution.

Jan Gautam, the head of the Manhattan-based snow removal company Novus Maintenance, said he was up all night and into the morning assembling his crews to run more than a dozen snow ploughs and 30 sidewalk ploughs to hit the streets of New York.

"Our phones haven't stopped ringing since the snow started," Gautam said. "We'll be out there as long as it's snowing."

Gautam manages about 100 employees who service more than 250 customers across the city, including hospitals and hotels.

"In a storm like this, with so much snow coming fast, we have to go back to the same locations over and over, to keep it clear and safe," he said.

Some 130,000 homes and businesses were without power in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and West Virginia, according to

School districts across the region cancelled in-person classes for the day, including New York City, which was holding classes remotely for its 1 million students.

More than 1100 fights to and from New York's LaGuardia, Boston Logan International and Newark Liberty International airports were either delayed or cancelled, according to