New York City and its surroundings suffered the most intense snowstorm of the season on Thursday, with vast areas of the state in a state of emergency and JFK and LaGuardia airports with their operations suspended.
Although in New York and its surroundings no fatalities were reported, in other areas of the country where the storm affected with less intensity, official sources reported the death of six people.
"This is a very, very severe storm, with strong winds and low temperatures," said New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, providing a first assessment of the storm's impact at a press conference.
The storm began to punish areas of Long Island, located along the Atlantic coast, this morning and affected the interior of the state with less intensity.
The snow began to fall heavily in Manhattan from 7:30 a.m. local time (12:30 GMT), when many New Yorkers began their journey to their workplaces, and ended about eight hours later.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency in several parts of the state, including New York City, shortly after the storm began to hit the region.
This measure allows state authorities to adopt decisions that take precedence over those of local administrations, as well as having special powers to fight against the storm without the need for legislative approval.
"It's not a normal snowstorm, it's a snowstorm plus high speed winds, which creates a serious situation," Cuomo told a news conference.
According to official data, in places such as Central Park in Manhattan, about 20 centimeters of snow fell until early afternoon, while in Suffolk County, on Long Island, the most exposed area, up to 35 centimeters fell. snow.
The snowstorm coincides with strong winds and gusts of up to 100 kilometers per hour, which represents a serious problem for the teams that are working on the streets and on the routes to remove the snow.
Although the snowfall has stopped by mid-afternoon, a sharp drop in temperatures is expected on Friday and Saturday, which both Cuomo and De Blasio have highlighted to highlight the additional risks.
Forecasts indicate that the wind chill can drop to -29 degrees Celsius, due to low temperatures and icy winds, especially on Friday night and early Saturday morning.
JFK airport, one of the main entry points to the United States, decided to suspend its operations and had canceled almost 500 flights to and from that city.
The LaGuardia domestic flight terminal was also closed, with more than 600 flights canceled.
The Newark airport, in the state of New Jersey, which also serves New York, remained open because it is further from the impact zone, but this Thursday it had canceled more than a thousand scheduled flights.
The New York City Subway, used by six million people daily, remained open, albeit with notable delays, as did commuter rail lines.
De Blasio also decided to declare a winter emergency in the city, which allows him, for example, to remove any vehicle that is blocking the street with tow trucks.
No figures of victims due to the storm have been provided, but according to the New York authorities in the city alone there were more than eighty traffic accidents today, the vast majority when vehicles collided at low speed.
In contrast, in the state of North Carolina there were three deaths, in South Carolina another one and in Virginia there were two deaths.
Two of the victims in North Carolina were recorded when a truck skidded off the road and fell into a creek. In Virginia, a man perished when he was hit by a snowplow and a young woman who was run over while playing with a sled.