Updated Dec 17, 2020 - Science

In photos: Massive snowstorm slams East Coast

Snowfall view at the Times Square in New York City, United States on December 16
The scene in New York City's Times Square Dec. 16. The NWS warns storm totals "may approach two feet across the Poconos of Eastern Pennsylvania and Catskills of southern New York." Photo: Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

At least three people have died as a monster snowstorm that's left over 60 million people under winter weather alerts pummels the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast.

The big picture: The National Weather Service warned the storm would cause "major" travel disruption and power outages. 6.5 inches of snow and sleet fell over New York's Central Park by midnight — exceeding the total for last winter, when 4.8 inches fell. Boston was set to get hit with up to 12 inches of snow by Thursday morning.

Snow blankets the U.S. Capitol on Dec. 16
A snowstorm develops at the U.S. Capitol Dec. 16 — part of the storm system known as "Winter Storm Gail." The NWS issued alerts for Dec. 17 across an area stretching nearly 1,000 miles, from northern Georgia to New England. Photo: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images
A street in Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania.
A street in Wilkes Barre, Pa., Dec. 16, when State Police said two people had died in a multi-vehicle crash on a road in Clinton County. Virginia saw some 200 crashes Dec. 16, with one fatality, the New York Times notes. Photo: Mark Makela/Getty Images
 A snowplow clears snow as snow accumulates on December 16, 2020 at Cliffside Park, New Jersey
A snowplow at Cliffside Park, N.J., on Dec. 16. As well as causing chaos on the roads, the snow has forced hundreds of flights and rail services to be canceled or suspended, the New York Times reports. Photo: Islam Dogru/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
Cars drive on a snow covered Route 422 at the Penn Street Cloverleaf in West Reading Wednesday afternoon December 16
A road in West Reading, Pa., Dec. 16. The storm is expected to dump snow totals "in excess of 12 inches" from central Pennsylvania to southern New York and southern New England by Thursday morning, the NWS said. Photo: Ben Hasty/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.

Go deeper