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6 dead as snow storm slams the East Coast

NYC: Diners brave frigid temperatures for a sidewalk meal at The Smith restaurant in East Village on Wednesday night

NYC: Diners brave frigid temperatures for a sidewalk meal at The Smith restaurant in East Village on Wednesday night

A powerful nor’easter is battering the East Coast, with an expected snowfall of up to two feet in some areas, as well as high winds and freezing rain that could trigger widespread power outages.

This first major snowstorm of the season has already been deadly: A 19-year-old man was killed in Virginia when his car ran off the road, and another was killed in upstate New York after being struck by a snowplow. In Pennsylvania, two people died in a pile-up involving dozens of cars. A pile-up in New York involving 20 cars caused multiple injuries.

NYC: A snowplow moves through Brooklyn's Midwood neighborhood on Wednesday night

A worker cleans snow from the parking lot Wednesday at the Shoprite shopping center in Plainview, New York. The Long Island region is expected to get between eight inches and a foot of snow on Wednesday and Thursday in the first winter storm of the year. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

At least 14 states have issued winter storm warnings.

New York City and Boston have already declared emergencies, and other major East Coast municipalities are encouraging travelers to stay off the roads as traffic conditions worsen.

“This is going to be a serious storm, and people need to take it seriously,” New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said Tuesday. “This could be the biggest storm in several years.”

The National Weather Service has forecast the heaviest snow in the Ohio Valley, central Appalachians and northern Mid-Atlantic areas: “Between the snow in the north and the rain in the south, a wintry mix is forecast to stretch across the southern Appalachians and the interior Mid-Atlantic roughly along the I-95 corridor.”

NYC: People wait for buses amid heavy snowfall in Manhattan on Wednesday night after the Port Authority shut down routes due to inclement weather from Winter Storm Gail

The storm is set to ravage the East as the coronavirus continues to rage. Several states have shut down COVID-19 testing, and there is a concern if vaccine distribution will be able to continue in the dangerous weather.

“Our team is ready to work collaboratively to address any issues that arise with vaccine transport and distribution,” Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf said Tuesday.

Calling the coronavirus vaccine its top priority, UPS says it will continue making deliveries as long as roads and airports are open and safe to operate.

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