BOSTON – A winter storm that already had southern parts covered with snow moved to the northeast on Friday, booming air travel, crushing commutes and giving a day’s respite to school districts struggling to keep children in the classroom as coronavirus cases soar.
Schools in Boston closed and public schools in Providence, Rhode Island switched to distance education, but New York City kept the nation’s largest public school system open.
“Children need to be educated. We have no more days to lose “after the pandemic’s many closures and distance learning days, said New York Mayor Eric Adams, a Democrat struggling with his first big storm after taking office on Saturday .
But there was a feeling of relief for some educators.
Michael Gow, a social studies professor at Medfield College in Mass., Called Friday “snow day” and acknowledged that it gave parents and teachers a respite from the daily dilemma of whether to continue teaching in person as the pandemic raged.
“This is a well-deserved break for all teachers, staff and students facing the omicron surge,” Gow tweeted.
In central Pennsylvania, Ericka Weathers, an education professor at Penn State University, rushed to complete a scholarship application by the end of the day as her two children returned home from school due to snow.
“I tried juggling,” she said as her 7-year-old sledged down the hill outside and her 4-year-old did not want to go out. “Every five minutes someone asks me a question.”
By mid-afternoon, airlines had cleaned up more than 2,600 flights, with the highest number at airports in Boston and the New York City area, according to tracking service FlightAware.
Airlines have had to deal with staff shortages caused by an increase in COVID-19 cases due to the highly contagious variant of omicron.
By the time the storm began to subside on Friday afternoon and the sun broke through parts of parts, parts of New England had received a foot (30 centimeters) or more of snow, including more than 13 inches ( 33 centimeters) inches in Danielson, Connecticut; 14 inches (35.5 centimeters) in Westwood, Massachusetts; and 12 inches (30 centimeters) Burrillville, Rhode Island, according to unofficial sightings reported by the National Weather Service.
Drivers have been advised to stay off the roads, but accidents have been reported in the area.
Plow driver Michael D’Andrea saw firsthand the mess on the roads. He saw many vehicles spinning as the heavy snow fell.
“The first storm is always a little more dangerous,” said D’Andrea, 34, of Norwood, Massachusetts. “No one has driven in this weather for six months. People have to relearn how to drive in this. And it’s usually not a foot of snow the first. It’s almost a blizzard with the speed at which it has come down. 2022 is in full swing, but I guess we were late. “
A driver died around 7:30 a.m. when a car pulled off Highway 140 in Freetown, Massachusetts, state police said. A commuter bus got out of control and blocked lanes on the Massachusetts Turnpike just outside of Boston early Friday. No injuries were reported.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy declared a state of emergency Thursday night, but the snow had stopped by 10 a.m., allowing snowplows to do their job. Preliminary snowfall amounts showed that 6 inches fell in Berlin, with 5 inches in Howell.
The National Weather Service said 5.5 inches (14 centimeters) of snow fell in Central Park in New York City.
Snowfall totals were much more modest in northern New England, with around 4.5 inches (11 centimeters) in Nashua, New Hampshire, and around 3.5 inches (9 centimeters) in Hollis, Maine, late morning.
The storm has also affected coronavirus testing sites, many of which have been overwhelmed by long lines and are waiting for days. Some Rhode Island test sites have delayed their openings. In Connecticut, most state-sponsored testing sites that are generally open on Fridays closed due to the storm, but some sites run locally and by pharmacies remained open.
The storm brought record snowfall to parts of the south on Thursday.
Nashville saw 6.3 inches (16 centimeters) on Thursday, shattering the city’s previous Jan.6 record of 4 inches (10 centimeters), which had existed since 1977, the weather service said.
The heaviest snowfall in Kentucky was nearly 10 inches (25 centimeters) in Lexington, according to the Weather Service.
Associated Press editors Jennifer Peltz in New York City contributed to this report; Shawn Marsh in Trenton, New Jersey; Dave Collins in Glastonbury, Connecticut; Philip Marcelo in Stoneham, Massachusetts; and Bill Kole in Warwick, Rhode Island; and AP Business Writer David Koenig.
This story has been updated to correct the fact that not all Connecticut test sites were closed.
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