A major snowstorm rolled into New York City on Wednesday.
The storm was poised to drop as much as 60cm of snow in some places by Thursday, and the pandemic added new complexities to officials' preparations – deciding whether to close testing sites, figuring out how to handle ploughing amid outdoor dining platforms in New York City streets, redefining school snow days to mean another day of learning from home, and more.
“Our theme today ought to be, ‘If it’s not one thing, it’s another,’” New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy said as he gave residents storm guidance that's new this year – mask up if you help your neighbours shovel.
Still, officials said they didn't expect the winter blast to disrupt vaccine distribution, which began on Monday for front-line health care workers, the first group of Americans to get the shots.
The first three million shots are being strictly limited to those workers and to nursing home residents.
The National Weather Service said the storm was “set to bring an overabundance of hazards from the mid-Atlantic to the Northeast,” including freezing rain and ice in the mid-Atlantic, heavy snow in the New York City area and southern New England, strong winds and coastal flooding, and possibly even severe thunderstorms and some tornadoes in North Carolina's Outer Banks.