Snowstorm blankets US east coast threatening vaccine rollout

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Washington (AFP)

A major snowstorm hit the US east coast in the early hours of Thursday, creating additional challenges amid a coronavirus pandemic and a mass vaccination rollout in the region.

The winter storm, which moves over New York, Pennsylvania and other northeastern states, leaves millions facing more than a foot of snow a week before Christmas, which could disrupt coronavirus testing and delay holiday deliveries.

It has also left more than 60 million people under bad weather warnings from Maine to South Carolina.

New York City, if hit as hard by the storm as expected, would face the most snow from a storm in more than four years, after being struck two feet in January 2016.

Officials in New York and Pennsylvania state have said they are prepared to face inclement weather to ensure vaccine delivery schedules go as planned.

Delivery companies FedEx and UPS said they have also put measures in place to mitigate the effects of the storm.

Snowfall rates in both states were two inches per hour, with more than 12 inches in total, according to the US National Weather Service (NWS).

He said the snow could reach as much as two feet in parts of the states, both of which have sent plows to keep the roads clear.

Boston, the most populous city in Massachusetts, imposed an emergency and issued a parking ban on key roads for workers.

“Confidence is high that this major winter storm will cause significant impacts, including trip disruptions and power outages across much of the north mid-Atlantic, south New York and south central New York. New England, ”NSW said in a tweet Wednesday night.

Despite the potential disruption, people rushed to play in New York’s famous Times Square – some dressed as characters such as Elmo and Batman and others having snowball fights – as it became covered in White.

As snow delighted some, restaurants stacked with chairs and tables and closed after a snow warning effectively ended alfresco dining, a customary last hope for some business owners due to distancing rules. social.

In Pennsylvania, the transportation department has asked drivers to limit trips and introduced new speed restrictions to prevent accidents.

Hundreds of schools have announced that they will close and back down to e-learning again, supported by the experience of the pandemic.

Airlines also canceled hundreds of flights on Wednesday, preventing many – some from returning home for Christmas – from traveling.

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