| USA TODAY
Heavy snow continued to fall Thursday across the Northeast as the season’s first major winter storm slowly moved off the East Coast, pounding some areas with nearly 4 feet of snow.
At least four people were killed by the storm. Hundreds of vehicle crashes, some of them deadly, were reported from the mid-Atlantic states into the Northeast, the Weather Channel said.
More than 50,000 customers were without electricity Thursday afternoon, Poweroutage.us said, mainly in Virginia and New York state.
Interior areas of Pennsylvania and New York state took the brunt of the heavy snow – more than 40 inches in many towns. The highest total recorded was 44 inches in Newark Valley, New York, a tiny village about 10 miles from Binghamton.
Binghamton had officially seen a whopping 39.6 inches as of midday Thursday, though other measurements around the city were as high as 42 inches. Flabbergasted residents of the region were digging out, either by snowblower, snowplow or shovel. Or they waited inside their homes for the snow to stop.
A National Weather Service spokesperson said the storm set a two-day snowfall record in Binghamton. The previous record was recorded March 2017 – 35.3 inches. Weather Service meteorologist Lily Chapman called the snow amounts around Binghamton “overwhelming,” according to the Capital Weather Gang.
In nearby Ithaca, New York, it took Fred Cullin, 23, more than an hour and a half to dig his way out of his steep, lakeside driveway after it was packed with nearly 3 feet of snow piled up by plows.
“It was pretty crazy,” Cullin said. “Shoveling uphill, on ice, was definitely interesting.”
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a state of emergency in 18 counties.
New York City had picked up 10 inches as of 10 a.m. EST, the city’s heaviest snowfall in three years, creating widespread travel troubles across the metro area.
Some outdoor dining spots built in city streets during the COVID-19 pandemic survived the snowstorm. Others did not.
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Barbara Paddock of the Murray Hill neighborhood of Manhattan arrived at Grand Central Station at 8 a.m. Thursday carrying a pair of cross-country ski poles caked in snow. On her feet, she wore duck boots sheathed in spiky crampons.
Her walk from home to the station is just a few blocks, but she was glad she came prepared. “It’s crazy out there! I could barely walk,” Paddock said. “They call New York the city that never sleeps. Now it’s the city that never wakes up!”
Snow was still falling across much of New England, where up to a foot was possible in Boston. Snow will continue throughout the day and gradually come to an end from west to east by tonight, the Weather Service said. Additional snowfall totals across portions of New England are forecast to add 6 to 12 inches on top of what has already fallen.
As temperatures dipped well below freezing throughout the northern mid-Atlantic and Northeast, refreezes and areas of black ice were likely through the day and into the night.
A crash in Pennsylvania killed two people and involved dozens of vehicles on a major highway Wednesday afternoon, said police, who issued a reminder to travel only if “absolutely necessary.”
A western Pennsylvania man was killed when he was struck by a snowplow. According to authorities, John Vichie, 63, of North Versailles, was walking with a snowblower when he was hit just after sunset Wednesday by a public works truck backing up.
A man in Kansas was killed in a snow-related head-on collision Tuesday when the storm was over the central USA.
The Weather Channel called the storm “Winter Storm Gail,” though no other forecasting companies nor the Weather Service uses the name.
Contributing: Kevin McCoy and Christopher Maag, USA TODAY; The Associated Press; The Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin
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Snow removal led to 100 deaths and 11,500 injuries that required a trip to the emergency room each year between 1990 and 2006, a study reports.