Three people killed as major snowstorm hits America's East Coast
File Photo

NEW YORK, Dec 17 (APP): Three people were killed in car crashes on Wednesday evening as a powerful snowstorm swept through United States’ East Coast dumping up to two feet of snow and creating treacherous conditions on roadways, according to media reports.

More than 60 million people were placed under weather warnings before Winter Storm Gail began blanketing areas from northern Virginia to New York City to southern Maine with snow as governors around the region urged residents to stay safe indoors.

Two people died in an accident involving dozens of vehicles on a highway in Pennsylvania, state police said.

A 19-year-old man was also killed in a car crash in Virginia, according to authorities.

A spokeswoman for the Virginia State Police said the agency had responded to about 200 calls about collisions by the late afternoon.

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In New York, which is set to see its heaviest December snowfall in a decade with 12 inches forecast, road conditions deteriorated rapidly over the course of the afternoon.

‘Take this seriously,’ Mayor Bill de Blasio warned in a tweet hours before a car crash in Bronx, a borough of New York City, as he announced that New York City Schools would be closed for in person learning Thursday. Six people received injuries in that crash.

In Maryland, state police reported a sharp spike in traffic calls soon after the weather arrived, including 161 crashes and numerous stalled or abandoned vehicles on icy roadways.

More than 57,200 homes and businesses in Virginia were without power as of 10pm, along with another 11,600 in New Jersey.

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Despite increasingly treacherous road conditions COVID-19 vaccine shippers said they would not let Winter Storm Gail affect distribution – but that they have made additional plans in case it does.

Some hospitals said they were anticipating delays in shipments as the roads worsened through Wednesday night. Weather conditions also prompted several major cities, including New York, Baltimore and Hartford to suspend COVID-19 testing until further notice, while hospitals around the region, already struggling with surges in virus patients, pushed back elective surgeries to make room for storm-related admissions.

More than 1,300 flights have already been canceled and train operator Amtrak has been forced to modify its service.