A snowman can be seen on a wall in Times Square in New York City as Storm Gail hits the east coast on December 16, 2020.
Timothy A. Clary | AFP | Getty Images
The snow fell Thursday during a key period of the coronavirus pandemic, days after the U.S. vaccination campaign began, and in the middle of a virus deluge with many people looking for tests every day.
Northern Virginia snow fell in parts of New England on Wednesday. It continued north into the evening and sustained a storm that could drop up to 0.6 meters of snow in some places by Thursday.
Officials said they did not expect the winter explosion to disrupt vaccine distribution, which began Monday for frontline health workers.
U.S. Health Secretary Alex Azar said Wednesday that the government is closely monitoring vaccine shipments, already has people on site to receive them, and believes the companies that transport them can weather the storm.
“This is FedEx, this is UPS express shipping. They know how to deal with snow and bad weather. But we are with them and we follow them,” he told Fox Fox Friends “Fox & Friends”.
The need for vaccines led New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy to exempt vaccine vans from storm-induced traffic bans on some highways. The state anticipated more than two dozen vaccine deliveries in the next day or two.
The National Weather Service announced Wednesday that the storm “will bring a plethora of hazards from the Mid Atlantic to the Northeast,” including freezing rain and ice in the Mid Atlantic, heavy snowfall in the New York City area and south of New York England , high winds and coastal flooding, and possibly even severe thunderstorms and some tornadoes in North Carolina’s Outer Banks.
The heaviest snowfall was expected in central Pennsylvania, where forecasters in the state capital Harrisburg said a six-decade-old record for a December snowfall could potentially be broken. The National Weather Service reported that parts of Center County had been hit with up to 13 inches of snow by Wednesday night.
A crash in the state killed two people Wednesday afternoon and involved dozens of vehicles on a major freeway, police said, while reminding them not to travel unless “absolutely necessary.”