New York Governor Declares State of Emergency, Boston Schools Close as Winter Storm Pummels Northeast

Ron Brackett
Published: December 2, 2019
Rashad Taylor clears snow on Genesee Street in Springfield's Liberty Heights neighborhood after an overnight snowstorm, Monday, Dec. 2, 2019, in Springfield, Massachusetts.
(Don Treeger/The Republican via AP)

A winter storm that marched across the United States last week slammed into the East Coast on Monday, closing schools and government offices, canceling flights and making commutes treacherous.

Boston Public Schools announced that all city schools will be closed Tuesday, and after-school activities were canceled.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency for Albany, Columbia, Greene, Rensselaer, Schenectady, Saratoga and Ulster counties. He also deployed 300 members of the National Guard to help with snow removal and cleanup operations in those counties.

(MORE: Northeast Winter Storm to Snarl Travel Through Tuesday

New York state offices were closed for all nonessential employees. More than 16 inches of snow fell in the state capital of Albany. In Delanson, about 22 miles northwest of the capital, 27 inches of snow had fallen.

In New Jersey, Gov. Phil Murphy ordered government offices to close at noon for nonessential employees.

Schools closed or delayed start times from New England to North Carolina, and hundreds of flights were canceled Monday in East Coast hubs impacted by the winter storm, which was named Ezekiel by The Weather Channel.

"It’s going to be a long, difficult storm," said New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu, according to the Associated Press.

Crashes and Interstate Disruptions

The New Jersey Department of Transportation banned tractor-trailers, empty commercial vehicles, RVs, motorcycles and personal vehicles pulling trailers from parts of Interstate 80, I-78, and I-287. Speeds were limited to 45 mph on three parts of the New Jersey Turnpike, reported.

A jackknifed tractor-trailer, which was violating the state’s temporary ban on commercial vehicles on the interstate, blocked one southbound lane of I-287 for about an hour near Kinnelon, New Jersey, about 18 miles northwest of Newark, according to NJDOT.

State Police Superintendent Col. Patrick Callahan said about 275 accidents were reported across the state. Another 200 "motorist aides" calls were also received, he said. Those are usually calls in which a vehicle spins out but doesn't hit anything, according to

People clear snow in a shopping center on Monday, Dec. 2, 2019, after an overnight snowfall in Marlborough, Massachusetts.
(AP Photo/Bill Sikes)

Transportation officials in Pennsylvania also dropped speed limits to 45 mph and imposed vehicle restrictions on parts of Interstate 80 and on I-81, I-84,I-476, and I-380. A tractor-trailer rolled over on northbound I-81 about 1:30 p.m. near Scott Township, the DOT reported.

Massachusetts Transportation Department reduced speed limits to 40 mph on parts of I-90, I-91, and I-291. Restrictions were lifted for I-90 later in the morning.

Icy and snowy roads made travel difficult over the weekend across much of the North. Hundreds of crashes were reported from the Midwest to the Northeast.

New York state police had responded to more than 740 storm-related crashes statewide since the snow started falling, the AP reported.

An Amtrak train that left Niagara Falls collided with a snowplow near Scotia, just outside of Schenectady, New York, the Albany Times Union reported. No one was injured, and Train 280 was rolling again by 10:43 a.m., Amtrak spokesman Jason Abrams said.

(MORE: Why Do Snowfall Forecasts Change as a Storm Gets Closer?

People work to shovel off their vehicles after an overnight snowfall that caused parking trouble and traffic situations on State Street, in Albany, New York, on Monday, Dec. 2, 2019.
(AP Photo/Hans Pennink)

In Ithaca, New York, firefighters had to rescue a woman from a car that crashed into a snowplow and slid down an embankment, WSTM reported. She was taken to a hospital.

A 9-year-old child was hurt Sunday in Queensbury, New York, when a snowplow slid into the back of an SUV they were riding in, WNYT reported. The child suffered minor injuries and is expected to recover.

In Boston, a ferry traveling from Hingham hit a wave during the windy weather and listed heavily, knocking some passengers to the floor, the AP reported. No injuries were reported.

Parts of the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina and Virginia closed Monday because of the bad weather, according to the National Park Service. Roads in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, including U.S. Highway 441 also closed.

More than 60,000 homes and businesses were without electricity in Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey Monday evening, according to

Airport Chaos

By 4 p.m. Monday, more than 700 domestic flights were canceled and over 4,200 were delayed, according to More than 950 flights were canceled on Sunday.

A Delta Air Lines aircraft slid off a taxiway after landing at Buffalo Niagara International Airport about 8:30 a.m. Sunday, WKBW reported. No injuries were reported.

Weather is being looked at as a possible cause in the crash of a small-engine plane on Saturday in South Dakota. Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Lynn Lunsford said the crash happened as major winter weather barreled through the region.

Nine people were killed when the Pilatus PC-12 carrying 12 people crashed about 12:30 p.m., shortly after taking off from Chamberlain, about 140 miles west of Sioux Falls, according to The Associated Press. Peter Knudson of the National Transportation Safety Board said weather would be among several factors reviewed by NTSB investigators, but no cause had yet been determined.

Storm Blamed for 7 Other Deaths

One person was killed in a rollover accident near Cavour, South Dakota, or just northwest of Sioux Falls, early Friday. The pickup truck lost control on an ice covered road and went into a ditch and rolled. Both people in the truck had to be removed from the truck by authorities, but neither were wearing seat belts, according to KELO.

A crash on Interstate 15 near Willard, Utah, killed one person Wednesday morning when the car slid off the road, the Deseret News reported.

Authorities in Arizona found the bodies of two young children, and a third child was missing, after a vehicle was swept away while attempting to cross a runoff-swollen creek in Tonto National Forest on Friday, the AP reported.

Two boys, ages 5 and 8, died Saturday near Patton, Missouri, when the vehicle they were riding in was swept off flooded roads, the AP also said. A 48-year-old man died in a separate incident near Sedgewickville, Missouri, according to a separate AP report.

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