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Boston, N.J., Pennsylvania declare emergencies as winter storm targets Northeast

A dog is walked across 7th Avenue while heavy snow continues to fall in Times Square in New York City on Wednesday. A winter storm nor'easter is set to possibly dump more than a foot of snow in parts of New York State and the Northeast. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI
A dog is walked across 7th Avenue while heavy snow continues to fall in Times Square in New York City on Wednesday. A winter storm nor'easter is set to possibly dump more than a foot of snow in parts of New York State and the Northeast. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

Dec. 16 (UPI) -- A large nor'easter is expected to bring snow to states along the Mid-Atlantic and East Coast, prompting emergency declarations in Boston, New Jersey and Pennsylvania on Wednesday.

As of early evening, snow was falling over the vast majority of Pennsylvania and stretched north to Toronto, south to parts of West Virginia and east to Washington, D.C., and parts of New York. The storm also dumped rain farther south, reaching all the way to Florida.

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Forecasters expected the storm to continue moving toward the northeast, reaching Boston later in the evening.

AccuWeather predicted the storm could dump between 10 inches and 15 inches of snow on the city. Mayor Marty Walsh declared a snow emergency and implemented a parking ban in the city.

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The city also shut down in-person schools and city-sponsored mobile COVID-19 testing sites.

"Boston hasn't seen a sizable snowstorm since March of 2019 -- over 21 months ago. I am urging everyone to be ready and prepared," Walsh said. "I ask all our residents and workers to be alert and remain cautious on our roads and sidewalks."

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker told residents during a press conference that they are likely to see a foot of snow by Thursday morning.

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Traffic is down due to COVID-19 restrictions, but he asked residents to stay off the roads.

"Especially tomorrow, if you can stay home, that would be the preferred option and if you need to travel you should really try to get whatever you need to get done early tonight or put it off until sometime late tomorrow afternoon," he said. "This isn't only for your safety but it's also for the safety of the road crews and all the other folks who are going to be out dealing with the storm."

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy also declared a state of emergency ahead of the winter storm. He called for residents to stay off the roads to allow city services to clear the snow.

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AccuWeather predicted whiteout conditions in parts of northern New Jersey, while southern portions of the state will receive rain and wind.

In Pennsylvania, Gov. Tom Wolf signed a disaster emergency proclamation ahead of the storm.

"Currently, models predict that the first significant winter storm in nearly a year will hit Pennsylvania tomorrow," he said during a virtual press conference.

The state's emergency preparedness teams have been preoccupied for months with supporting COVID-19 mitigation efforts and the declaration, he said, "makes it easier for all of those involved in vaccine delivery and keeping people safe to do their jobs."

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Parts of the commonwealth received several inches of snow Wednesday, leading to a rash of vehicle crashes. Highway officials have banned commercial vehicles from some roadways and reduced speeds.

State police said at least two people were killed Wednesday afternoon in a crash involving upwards of 60 vehicles on the I-80 Westbound in Clinton County.

"Reminder: Please Stay Home and Do Not Travel unless it is absolutely necessary," the Pennsylvania Police Department said on Twitter.

Philadelphia is expecting up to 6 inches of snow, while New York City could get 2 feet. Snow began falling Wednesday afternoon in Washington, D.C., which should be spared most of the blizzard conditions, with less than 2 inches of snow expected.

New York City also suspended in-person learning Thursday.

Farther south, CNN meteorologists expect North Carolina, West Virginia, Virginia and Maryland to receive about a quarter inch of ice, which could impact travel and cause widespread power outages.

Police in Virginia reported snow and ice have resulted in approximately 200 crashes and 125 disabled vehicles on the I-81. A spokeswoman for Virginia State Police to The New York Times that a 19-year-old man had died in the crash.

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In Maryland, police said officers had responded by 3 p.m. to nearly 500 calls for service, including 161 for crashes and another 61 for disabled or unattended vehicles.

Some 43,554 Virginia homes and some 10,225 in New Jersey were without power at 9 p.m. on Wednesday, according to Poweroutage.us. There's a risk, however, of widespread power outages in the coastal regions of New Jersey, New York, Connecticut and Rhode Island. More localized power outages can be expected slightly further inland in areas including Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire and Maine.

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