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Major winter storm pummels Northeast, closing schools and vaccination sites

NEW YORK (AP) — A sprawling, lumbering winter storm walloped the Eastern U.S. on Monday, shutting down coronavirus vaccination sites, closing schools and halting transit as snow piled up from the Appalachians to New England, with the heaviest accumulations yet to come in many places.

With flakes falling since Sunday evening, New York City and northern New Jersey braced for as much as 22 inches (56 cm) of snow, and parts of New England for a foot or more. The National Weather Service warned that high winds and snowfall could persist into Tuesday in New York and Wednesday in New England.

“We’re looking at a long two days here,” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said at a virtual news conference, noting that road conditions were already “seriously dangerous” at midday.

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In Brooklyn, cars slid and got stuck on a slight hill.

In Pennsylvania, authorities said a 67-year-old woman with Alzheimer’s disease who reportedly wandered away from her home was found dead of hypothermia on an Allentown street Monday morning. About 60 miles (97 km) north in Plains Township, a shooting that followed an argument over snow removal killed a married couple, and the suspect was later found dead at his nearby home of a wound believed to have been self-inflicted, officials in Luzerne County said.

A preliminary investigation indicates the people involved had a long-running conflict, but “this morning, the dispute was exacerbated by a disagreement over snow disposal,” District Attorney Stefanie Salavantis said.

In Virginia, four firefighters were taken to hospitals with non-life-threatening injuries after their fire truck overturned Sunday on snow-covered roads in Henrico County, The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported.

Across the Northeast, many coronavirus vaccination sites closed Monday.

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The storm disrupted the second phase of Massachusetts’ vaccine rollout as a Boston site that was supposed to open Monday for residents ages 75 and over did not; some other mass vaccination sites were open. The state was expected to get 12 to 18 inches (30.5 to 61 cm) of heavy, wet snow and wind gusts of up to 55 mph along the coast, according to Gov. Charlie Baker.

“We’re used to dealing with snow this time of year, but it’s important for folks to take this one seriously due to the heavy snowfall, the high winds, and the speed with which this snow is going to fall when it starts to come down,” Baker said at a press conference.

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont said most vaccinations scheduled in his state for Monday were postponed, but he noted that the vaccine can be kept, refrigerated, for days.

In a school year when many students are already learning from home, in-person classes were canceled in many places.

“I’d like to think there is still some virtual learning going on, with a little bit of time for sledding along the way,” quipped Lamont, a Democrat.

New York City mom Alyssa Burnham was happy for her son to have “a break from his regular routine.”

Now that snow days have blurred into remote-learning days, “it’s fun for him to just get out here and be a kid,” she said as he played in the snow.

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New Jersey already had scattered power outages by late morning, affecting about 1,500 homes and businesses, but Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy warned that high winds were likely to knock out electricity to more people across the state heading into Tuesday.

Hundreds of flights and many trains and were canceled, and aboveground New York City subway service was due to stop at 2 p.m.

In recent days, a storm system blanketed parts of the Midwest, with some areas getting the most snow in several years. Ohio and Washington, D.C., also got snow.

The snow and cold in Washington led President Joe Biden to postpone a visit to the State Department that had been planned for Monday.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the administration had been in contact with governors states affected by the weather.

Associated Press writers around the Eastern U.S. contributed.