A nor'easter is hitting the Northeast U.S., where it's set to drop 1 to 2 feet of snow and possibly bring near-blizzard conditions.
The treacherous conditions already claimed the lives of two people in Pennsylvania on Wednesday evening. The two died in a multivehicle accident involving 30 to 60 cars and trucks, according to the Pennsylvania State Police. At least 19 vehicles were tied up in a crash on the Henry Hudson Parkway in northern Manhattan. There were six injuries in that accident, but none are considering life-threatening.
"This could be the biggest storm in several years," New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio warned.
Heavy snow is falling Wednesday night in northern New Jersey, New York City, Pennsylvania and some of southern New England.
We’re currently stuck on Route 109 in Hyattstown, Md. in Northern Montgomery County.
A car cannot make it up the hill, causing a standstill.
The snow is coming down hard up here. The plows have a lot of work ahead of them. pic.twitter.com/qHNpNrIddZ
— Kevin Lewis (@ABC7Kevin) December 16, 2020
Winds could reach 50 mph in some areas, especially along the coast.
Overnight, snowfall rates could reach 1 to 2 inches per hour with near blizzard conditions possible in New York, New Jersey and New England.
The heaviest snow -- 1 to 2 feet -- will be from central Pennsylvania through New York's Hudson Valley and Catskills, and into southern New England.
The storm has led to over 750 flight cancellations.
Snowfall has slammed the Washington, D.C., area, but it's expected to quickly change to a wintry mix and rain. The rain and sleet ends Wednesday night, leaving about 1 to 2 inches of snow behind.
Enjoying the first (hopefully not the last) snow of the season at Frying Pan Park in Herndon, VA. ❄️🐴 @capitalweather @fairfaxparks @VisitFairfax @amelia_draper @ABC7Brian @StormHour @spann @VisitVirginia @weatherchannel pic.twitter.com/t7vkisxsmT
— John Ernst Photo (@jcernstphoto) December 16, 2020
Snow is also falling in Philadelphia, but by the evening it'll mix with sleet and rain. The city could see a total accumulation of 4 to 8 inches, while suburbs to the west and north of the city could see 1 foot or more.
In New Jersey, where over 1 foot is possible in some areas, Gov. Phil Murphy has declared a state of emergency beginning at 2 p.m.
Newark Airport reported a 2-inch-per-hour snowfall rate between 7 p.m. and 8 p.m., according to the National Weather Service. One to 2 inches per hour "are becoming common across the region," it said.
8:04pm: The Newark Airport reported a 2 inch per hour snowfall rate between 7pm and 8pm. 1-2 inches per hour are becoming common across the region. Use extra caution if you must travel.
— NWS New York NY (@NWSNewYorkNY) December 17, 2020
The New York City area could see 6 to 14 inches of snow.
— Jeff Smith (@JeffSmithABC7) December 16, 2020
New York City has issued a travel advisory, urging residents to stay off the roads as much as possible.
Road crews are ready to clear the snow in Essex County. Residents must remove vehicles from the streets and restaurants must take down outdoor dinning areas to help in snow removal. Also, officials are warning folks to be aware of fallen trees and down powerlines. pic.twitter.com/RfBGkvnudr
— Anthony Johnson (@AJohnsonwabc7) December 16, 2020
Indoor dining is already banned in New York City and outdoor dining is suspended as of Wednesday afternoon, when the sanitation department's "snow alert" went into effect. Restaurants, which are required to remove or secure outdoor furniture and remove their electric heaters, will be permitted to reopen when the "snow alert" ends.
New York City is canceling in-person learning on Thursday. New York City's snow will end around noon.
Boston's snow is expected to begin around 10 or 11 p.m. on Wednesday, continuing with heavy snow overnight and reaching a total accumulation of 6 to 12 inches.
Boston Public Schools will be closed Thursday as the snow is expected to continue through the day.
Behind the storm, the coldest air of the season will hit the Northeast. Wind chills -- what it feels like -- will fall to the teens and single digits Thursday night into Friday morning.