A Long Island, New York, teenager who died in a sledding accident Monday night was the first reported death from the winter storm that dumped up to two feet of snow in parts of the U.S. Northeast and led to travel bans in several major East Coast cities, including New York. Sean Urda, a 17-year-old from Huntington, was killed when the snow tube he was riding on collided with a light pole, Suffolk County police told Newsday. Urda was taking turns riding the tube with two other 17-year-olds at around 10 p.m. EST before he lost control.
Urda's death underscored New York state officials' warning to residents of the dangers of the snowstorm being called Juno that many said could be one of the worst on record. "This is not a situation that should be taken lightly,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday. “It could be a matter of life and death. Caution is required."
The National Weather Service also cautioned about potentially “life-threatening” road conditions across the region, prompting state officials in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey and Rhode Island to issue travel bans to keep cars off the road beginning as early as 9 p.m. EST. Several states issued emergency declarations to allow them to seek federal aid to help mitigate some of the storm’s impact.
Despite extensive preparations for what some said would be an historic storm, snowfall totals in some areas came up short of predictions. In New York on Tuesday, an early morning snow total of seven inches was far less than the predicted two feet. Boston saw around eight inches of snowfall, also well short of forecasts. But the heaviest snowfall is likely to hit the city by Tuesday afternoon.
"The science of forecasting storms, while continually improving, still can be subject to error," the NWS said in a statement. "Efforts, including research, are already underway to more easily communicate that forecast uncertainty."