Monster nor'easter unleashes 30 inches of snow in New Jersey

Chaffin Mitchell
·7 min read

Snowflakes and winter wonderland scenes were seen by millions along a 1,100-mile swath from Nashville to Boston at the start of the week. The heavy snow Sunday into Monday night helped tie and break daily records from decades ago in parts of the Northeast.

As the biggest winter storm of the season marched east across the United States toward the Northeast, grocery store lines began to grow longer by the minute, overflowing into the aisles as people tried to prepare for what was to come.

Those items are most likely coming in handy for those who prepared as the winter storm continues to unpack feet of snow, ice and dangerous travel.

Shoppers preparing for the winter storm wait in a line down the frozen food aisle in a New Jersey Super Market. (Image via AccuWeather Executive Editor Andrew Tavani)

Once the storm arrived, record books were quickly put to the test by mounting snow reports across the region.

Baltimore's daily record of 3.7 inches had stood since 1985, but was broken on Sunday after 3.8 inches were recorded at Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall International Airport. In Philadelphia, 3 inches of snow was recorded at Philadelphia International Airport, tying a record of 3 inches previously set in 1949, according to the National Weather Service (NWS).

And this was only the beginning.

The heaviest snow ramped up on Monday with snowfall rates of 2 to 3 inches per hour from eastern Pennsylvania into southern New England.

Snowfall totals quickly surpassed 2 feet in northern New Jersey and portions of eastern Pennsylvania. Since the first snowflakes started to fall, Mendham, New Jersey, has remained at the top for snowfall reports, with 30 inches of snow since Saturday.

Allentown, Pennsylvania, recorded a whopping 22.4 inches of snow on Monday, which shattered the daily record of 7.2 inches set in 1957.

One day into the month, and it's already the snowiest February in Central Park since 2014. This is also the 16th biggest snowstorm on record for Central Park with 16.3 inches -- and snow will continue to pile up in the Big Apple into Tuesday night. One six-hour period accounted for nearly half of this total when 8 inches fell, clogging roads and slowing travel to nearly a halt.

Multiple residents of New York City took to Twitter asking "Hey dude, where's my car" as cars were almost completely buried with some of the side and a side mirror visible from the street.

Vehicles almost completely buried in snow while parked along a street in Brooklyn on Feb. 1, 2021. (Twitter/@CarolineBklyn)

AccuWeather National News Reporter Kim Leoffler took to the snow-covered streets to talk to residents about the massive snowfall.

"I'm kind of getting a head start because I know once it does stop it'll possibly turn to ice or get colder so I'm just getting a head start on it," New Jersey Resident Regina Espinosa told Leoffler.

"Right now since everything is virtual I don't have to get the kids to school in the morning or anything so it's not so bad," Espinosa explained.

The borough of Manhattan encountered intense snowfall rates throughout Monday morning, as a look at the Times Square EarthCam showed.

"NYC streets and sidewalks [were] covered with snow in many places -- something you only see with the heaviest snowfall rates," AccuWeather Meteorologist and senior weather editor Jesse Ferrell pointed out. He added, "Although, the lack of vehicular and foot traffic due to COVID [was] likely" contributing to the snow cover.

Steve Kent skis through Times Square during a snowstorm, Monday, Feb. 1, 2021, in the Manhattan borough of New York. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

Ahead of the first flakes in New York City, the school district announced all buildings were going to be closed on Monday, therefore classes would be held remotely. After-school programs, adult education, food distribution sites and other programs were canceled as well.

Quite a wise decision the district made considering the Big Apple had its snowiest day in more than five years on Monday.

The New York City Subway, Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North will resume services early Tuesday morning following suspensions during the height of the storm.

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The snowstorm was far from this magnitude in the nation's capital, but there was still enough powder for the Washington, D.C., Snowball Fight Association to hold its first snowball fight in over two years. A little over 2 inches fell in the area on Sunday.

Washington, D.C., also took the classroom to the computer for virtual schooling from home after Mayor Murial Bowser predicted that the impacts of the storm would still be felt on Monday.

Schooling wasn't the only thing the nor'easter decided to impact. Vaccination appointments and COVID-19 testing sites in cities across the Northeast were put on hold while the storm snarled travel.


Vaccination appointments scheduled for Monday in New York City were postponed to a later date in the week. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a news conference that he did not want older residents traveling to vaccination appointments amid the severe weather, The New York Times reported. New York State issued various bans and restrictions to travel to further deter others from hitting the slippery roads.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy announced that the six vaccine mega-sites across the state will also remain closed on Tuesday.

People in Washington, D.C., were left to wait an extra day to see if they were infected with the virus due to coronavirus testing sites shutting down on Monday.

Meanwhile, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy declared a statewide state of emergency that began on Sunday night. In addition, all New Jersey transit buses, railways aside from the Atlantic City Rail Line, light rail and Access Link Service were suspended for the entire service day on Monday "due to the significant expected impacts of the snowstorm."

Following closely behind New Jersey's footsteps with declarations, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio issued a state of emergency and Philadelphia declared a snow emergency that went into effect Sunday evening.

Those who were able to find their cars and dig them out faced treacherous driving conditions all across the Northeast. The New Jersey State Police (NJSP) responded to more than 580 motor vehicle crashes and aided 839 motorists.

Air travel was also hit by the monster nor'easter. Flight delays and cancellations swept across the Northeast. John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York canceled over 150 flights from the airport for Monday, equating to around 70% of all flights originating from the airport, according to LaGuardia Airport, also located in New York, canceled 91% of all flights originating from the airport, equating to over 100 flights.

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Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey has the second-highest number of cancellations for Monday at 165, equating to 70% of all flights departing from the airport.

Numerous cities in the Northeast also issued a Code Blue, meaning they will patrol the streets in larger numbers to encourage anyone facing homelessness to come indoors during the storm.

From a snowball fight outside of the nation's capital to a wintry scene on Wall Street, here's a glimpse of some snowy sights that were seen across the Northeast.

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