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Record-Breaking Snowfall Blankets New York, Northeast (Pics & Vid)

December 17, 2020

The first major snowstorm of the season left the Northeast blanketed in snow, setting new snowfall records in a part of Pennsylvania and in Boston.

"Williamsport Regional Airport made history," the National Weather Service in State College said, reporting 24.7 inches of snow. Forecasters said that was the most snow in that location from a single storm on record, breaking the previous record of 24.1 inches set there in January 1964.

Much of the Pennsylvania's western and central regions saw accumulations in the double digits.

Boston already broke the record for snowfall on Dec. 17, recording 9.1 inches falling since midnight on Wednesday, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Norton, Massachusetts, said. 

"That is the new record right now, and it will probably be more before it's done," Bryce Williams said. The previous record for snow fall on Dec. 17 was recorded in 2013 when 6.4 inches fell in Boston. 

High elevations in the Berkshires saw the most snow, more than a foot, in Massachusetts. Moderate to heavy snowfall is forecast through Thursday afternoon, with another 3 to 4 inches accumulating before slowly tapering off. 

Williams also warned of "a flash freeze situation" that could cause dangerous road conditions. 

In New Hampshire, there were at least 50 crashes and disabled vehicles due to poor road conditions as of Thursday morning. Officials did not say if there were any major injuries or deaths.

Connecticut troopers responded to nearly 50 accidents and helped about 160 motorists on state highways during the storm, state police said Thursday. People were injured in three of the accidents, but no deaths were reported. Troopers have responded to about 580 total calls for service during the storm.

Numerous disabled cars were reported along Interstate 87 in eastern New York, where more than 2 feet of snow was measured by 7 a.m. Thursday in suburban towns near Albany. State police said a snowmobiler was struck and killed by a tractor-trailer on I-787 in downtown Albany early Monday. 

The overnight snowfall eclipsed the entire amount recorded for all of last winter in New York City, where 6.5 inches of snow covered Central Park — much less than the initial predictions of up to 12 inches. There was just 4.8 inches of snow tallied in New York City last year.

The storm came at a critical time of the coronavirus pandemic, though officials said they didn't expect the winter blast to disrupt vaccine distribution. COVID-19 vaccines started being given to frontline health care workers earlier this week.

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