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'Don't make unnecessary journeys' meme resurfaces as Storm Eunice hits the UK

'Don't make unnecessary journeys' meme resurfaces as Storm Eunice hits the UK

As Storm Eunice batters the UK today, the Met Office has issued red weather warnings across the South of England and urged people to stay indoors.

Of course with the news coverage of the storm , we will inevitably see poor news reporters out on the front lines battling the treacherous conditions to provide updates on the weather - and this has reminded people of a classic weather meme.

Irish journalist Teresa Mannion knows all too well the struggle of giving a live news report in extreme wind and rain after a clip of her coverage of Storm Desmond when viral back in 2015 which battered Ireland's west coast of Galway where she was reporting from in Salthill.

In the clip, the RTE News reporter is drenched while struggling to stand still against the strong winds and can be seen holding her earpiece and clutching her microphone in place as she dramatically shouts her latest updates, which delivered the iconic quote:

"Don’t make unnecessary journeys, don’t take risks on treacherous roads.”

As a result of becoming a viral sensation, several hilarious parodies and remixes of the video were created to solidify its meme status

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So given the similarly awful weather that's occurring right now, it's a warning message that certainly resonates and this has led to the meme resurfacing as people on social media reshare the classic clip.

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DON\u2019T MAKE UNNECESSARY JOURNEYS!pic.twitter.com/BRfuC8beJK — michael chakraverty (@michael chakraverty) 1645040172
This is an iconic moment in television because it will appear before every storm until the end of timepic.twitter.com/0dpsaOnotb — Scott Bryan (@Scott Bryan) 1645140179
In the words of Teresa Mannion: \u201cDon\u2019t make any unnecessary journeys!\u201d \n\n#StormEunice #StormDudleypic.twitter.com/nBjMawFzn8 — Fiona Small (@Fiona Small) 1645140360
Don\u2019t make unnecessary journeys.\n\nDon\u2019t take risks on treacherous roads.\n\nAnd don\u2019t swim in the sea. — Helen Crossley (@Helen Crossley) 1645177428
Don\u2019t make unnecessary journeys, don\u2019t take trips of dangerous roads\u2026pic.twitter.com/x9BYthucMp — Charlie Gill (@Charlie Gill) 1645096288
I wonder how many times I\u2019ll see DON\u2019T MAKE UNNECESSARY JOURNEYS today. — \u2661 ElliXia \u2661 (@\u2661 ElliXia \u2661) 1645173147
I feel like this clip can apply to just life in general\u2026don\u2019t make unnecessary journeyshttps://twitter.com/mschakraverty/status/1494032885636030466\u00a0\u2026 — MahRianne (@MahRianne) 1645101108
Never gets old. Sad to say.https://twitter.com/mschakraverty/status/1494032885636030466\u00a0\u2026 — D. Anca Cretu (@D. Anca Cretu) 1645179432
A prayer for all of the weather reporters who will be shoved in front of a sea wall tomorrow to tell everyone that a red level storm is battering the country #StormEunicehttps://twitter.com/mschakraverty/status/1494032885636030466\u00a0\u2026 — hayley (@hayley) 1645140009
why do they do the weather forecast about a really bad storm whilst stood in the really bad storm lmfaohttps://twitter.com/mschakraverty/status/1494032885636030466\u00a0\u2026 — Beth\ud83c\udf36 (@Beth\ud83c\udf36) 1645139483
Now that I live in Galway, I can say with confidence that this actually pretty lovely weather for Salthill in February.https://twitter.com/mschakraverty/status/1494032885636030466\u00a0\u2026 — ollie (@ollie) 1645135465
one of the best ever hahahahhttps://twitter.com/mschakraverty/status/1494032885636030466\u00a0\u2026 — deegan john (@deegan john) 1645126397
This classic is neededhttps://twitter.com/mschakraverty/status/1494032885636030466\u00a0\u2026 — Dean (@Dean) 1645106114

Mannion previously revealed what it was like to become an overnight viral sensation, she told RSVP Magazine : "It was absolutely treacherous and I didn’t know that I was shouting as loudly as I was because I was in my own little bubble.

"The weather intensified as the report continued, but I couldn’t stop because we were live and the rest is history," she said.

"Within 48 hours the report had gone all around the world, there were dances remixes, memes and so many offspins created after the bulletin. I totally embraced it and took it on-board, there was very little negativity afterwards and I wasn’t trolled online."

Elsewhere, Ireland has also felt the wrath of Storm Eunice with tens of thousands of homes currently without power in the south of the country and as a result, it has caused schools and colleges across the Republic to close today (February 18).

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How ‘unnecessary journeys’ made Teresa Mannion go viral

Rté broadcaster’s rain-drenched storm desmond report was the clip that kept on giving.

A year ago today, RTE journalist Teresa Mannion went viral on social media following her live report on Storm Desmond for RTE News. Video: RTE

Karlin Lillington's face

RTÉ broadcaster Teresa Mannion has had an "I will be back" moment. Just as Arnold Schwarzenegger is connected to a phrase that brings instant recognition, for the rest of her life, people will be begging Mannion to plead, "Don't make unnecessary journeys!"

Within hours after the video clip of her rain-drenched, wind-whipped Storm Desmond report went, as they say, viral, Mannion was a bona fide internet meme. Wags worldwide rushed to make their own contribution to the, er, storm of remixes.

There’s the infectious dance remix.

And there’s the one where she gets belted by a stop sign (many people thought that one had really happened, Mannion told Ray Darcy on his afternoon radio show).

My personal favourite is the one that merges the broadcast with clips from the climate disaster movie, The Day After Tomorrow .

Others put Mannion in front of Jurassic Park dinosaurs, and Star Wars battles. It was truly the RTÉ clip that kept on giving.

If you missed, it, the original snippet and some of the the remixes can be found here .

Birth of a meme Nothing is more born on the internet than a viral meme.

The very term “viral” as a marketing concept didn’t exist before the internet. Prior to that, an advertisement, a brand, an item might become insanely popular or a mass fad – think Cabbage Patch Dolls or Lacoste polo shirts – but we didn’t think of them as having gone viral.

The ability for individuals to share something – an image, a bit of text in an email, an advertisement, a video – so that the thing spreads far and wide, requires a global network and one with inbuilt spontaneity. Click and share. As with the Facebook “like” button, a single micro-action undertaken with a microsecond’s thought can build quickly into mass recognition.

I first came across the term “viral” at some point in the late 1990s, when I was sent a breathless, jargon-filled press release for a service that the PR agency promised would, no doubt, “go viral”.

To tweak them a bit about using trendy terms that might well be meaningless to many recipients – not the best “communication” technique – I emailed back asking them to please explain what “viral” meant.

HotMail history

They did. However, the service did not, as promised, go viral.

The term itself is credited to veteran Silicon Valley venture firm Draper Fisher Jurvetson (DFJ) which, in 1996, had the idea of promoting the free webmail service of a new investment called HotMail by adding a tagline to every email: “Get your free Web-based e-mail account at hotmail.com”.

Thousands and then millions of people clicked through and did. In six months, the tiny company had a million users. Within 18 months, that had ballooned to 12 million.

Venture capitalist Steve Jurvetson has said that the bare-bones promotion idea,on a $50,000 budget, resulted in one of the first examples of exponential growth in online users of a service – and HotMail's sale to Microsoft not long after for $400 million.

Often the things that go viral are personal videos or, as with the Mannion broadcast, an accidental, serendipitous moment of broadcasting or filmmaking. But companies increasingly develop advertising campaigns with the deliberate aim of getting them to go viral, in pursuit of brand recognition, a good association or even direct financial reward.

‘Blair Witch’ trailer

The outstanding example of the last while, another early viral internet phenomenon, was the promotional campaign for the Blair Witch Project film.

Made at a cost of $300,000, promoted cheaply through some tense, terse video clips online, the film grossed over $250 million.

Not all that goes viral on the internet also becomes a meme.

A meme is “an idea, behaviour or style that spreads from person to person within a culture”.

That is Wikipedia’s definition, and a somewhat academic one – rightly so, as for years you’d have been unlikely to encounter the word outside an academic paper presented at a conference.

Then, it was co-opted into the internet world.

There, it tends to signify something so well-recognised (because it has gone viral) that it can be reworked in various ways, to entertaining effect.

Those reworkings often then go viral in their own right.

Think ample Kardashian behinds, woodpeckers with weasels on their backs, those endless mashups of topical dialogue over Hitler bunker video clips.

And now, Teresa Mannion earnestly intoning “Don’t make unnecessary journeys” before being washed away by a tsunami.

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don't travel on treacherous roads

Diary of an Expat

Chronicling my life living as an expat in galway, ireland, “don’t make unnecessary journeys, don’t take risks on treacherous roads.”.

Yesterday the internet was flooded (no pun intended) with clips from Teresa Mannion’s epic live broadcast from here in Galway at the height of Storm Desmond’s wrath on Friday night. Many parodies have been spotted on social media, though most in good humor ( this remix is my fav of the bunch so far), and Teresa received a lot of love and support on Twitter from those who sympathized with the poor woman, who appeared soaked to the bone and ready to be blown away by the winds.

I had thought a few weeks ago that Storm Barney was bad, but Desmond dumped even more rain, coupled with gale force winds from Thursday to late Saturday night. Leaving the warmth and comfort of our apartment was not an option – except for the fact that I have a job and needed to get to the Galway Clinic in hurricane-like conditions. Showing up to work looking like a wet dog and probably smelling like one was a nice touch but thankfully I was able to change into some comfy scrubs so the weekend wasn’t an absolute wash (pun intended). Unfortunately, entire towns are cut off from civilization due to flooding, with more flooding expected as run off from mountains in the north west accumulates. As Teresa mentions, groups of absolute idiots were seen swimming in the Bay near Salthill and jumping off Blackrock. This video shows not only the treacherous conditions, but also how stupid people can be.

Thankfully it seems that the bad weather has subsided, for now anyway, giving emergency crews, home and business owners time determine the extend of the damage. As for Teresa Mannion, I hope she got nice hot cup of tea after her drenched broadcast,  or better yet a nice stiff drink.

tmannion

Source: http://www.independent.ie/entertainment/television/rtes-teresa-mannion-breaks-the-internet-following-dramatic-storm-desmond-weather-report-34262038.html

Ps. Yes mom, I’m fine. Also, HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAD!!

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Don’t make unnecessary journeys!

  • 5. April. 2017

‘Don’t make unnecessary journeys, don’t take risks on treacherous roads..!’

The words that will live with us forever, that now famous phrase exclaimed by RTÉ News Reporter Teresa Mannion during ‘Storm Desmond’ as it battered Ireland’s west coast.

don't travel on treacherous roads

Solid advice from Teresa, who had the public’s safety in mind as she made sure we all knew how crazy the wind and rain was! But what if you needed to be on the road that night for work? Or any day for that matter. We’re not blessed with a tropical climate, and those who drive for a living or are involved in fleet management are all too familiar with the hazards that come with taking on the nation’s’ roads. In fact, a  recent research paper by Professor Anne Drummond of UCD found that 23% of fatal road traffic accidents involved a worker.

don't travel on treacherous roads

You need a system that ensures your business – and drivers – are protected from road accidents, damage to cars, trucks, vans and company jets…….. (OK scratch the last one) and not to mention ever increasing insurance premiums.

Here’s a question: If you had to sit your driving test again tomorrow, would you pass?

One-to-One vehicle training is something all those who spend a large chunk of their time on the roads should look at doing. Do you have staff travelling a lot for work? Perhaps a one day training course is something to consider. At Ayrton, we provide a half day lecture to those taking part, followed by one to one vehicle tuition.

Our defensive driving course also offers participants an insight to stats and costs associated with road accidents, ensures drivers are aware of all their responsibilities and helps eradicate poor habits & attitudes. Click HERE for more information, or drop us a line today!

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Don’t Give Up on Tourism. Just Do It Better.

Paige McClanahan’s book, The New Tourist , argues for recognizing how potent travel’s social force is.

In 1956, the poet Elizabeth Bishop worried about the imprudence and absurdity of going abroad. “Should we have stayed at home and thought of here?” she writes in her poem “Questions of Travel.” “Is it right to be watching strangers in a play / in this strangest of theatres? / What childishness is it that while there’s a breath of life / in our bodies, we are determined to rush / to see the sun the other way around?”

Decades later, the phrasing of these questions, and the fretful frame of mind behind them, seems to perfectly sum up a new attitude toward international travel: one of moral unease. Every summer, a litany of headlines appears about tourists behaving badly: people carving their names into the Colosseum or posing naked at sacred sites in Bali , for example. Even the ordinary business of tourism leaves much to be desired: The crowds at the Louvre make seeing the Mona Lisa such a brief and unsatisfying experience; foot traffic, noise, and trash slowly degrade sites famous for their natural beauty or historical significance. In the Canary Islands, the Greek island of Paros, and Oaxaca, Mexico, residents of popular destinations have protested against throngs of visitors. For many travelers, it can seem somehow wrong , now, to plunge blithely into another country’s culture and landscapes, subjecting locals to one’s presence for the sake of leisure, while the long-haul flights that make these trips possible emit massive amounts of greenhouse gases. Bishop’s queries are our own: Would we be doing the world a favor if we didn’t sally forth so confidently to other countries and just stayed home?

Amid this quagmire, the journalist Paige McClanahan’s book, The New Tourist , is a levelheaded defense of tourism that proposes a genuinely helpful framework for thinking about our own voyages. We tourists—a label that includes everyone who travels abroad for work or fun—think about the practice’s pleasures all wrong, she says, and discount its potential. Many of us are used to thinking of ourselves as simple hedonists when we go on vacation, or perhaps as economic participants of the tourism industry. But we’ve largely forgotten “about the power we hold as contributors—however unwitting—to a vast and potent social force,” McClanahan writes.

don't travel on treacherous roads

The New Tourist is dedicated to fleshing out this bird’s-eye view of tourism as a formidable phenomenon, one that we participate in every time we leave our home country—and one that we ignore at our peril. Traveling the world was once reserved for the very rich; now, thanks to a series of recent developments—including the deregulation of the airline industry in 1978 and the launch of Travelocity and Expedia in the ’90s—planning a trip to Iceland or even Antarctica is easier than ever. The world saw more than 1 billion international tourist arrivals last year, and tourism contributed nearly 10 percent to global GDP. This monumental traffic now shapes the world for both good and ill, as McClanahan demonstrates. Tourism revitalized the city of Liverpool and employs nearly a quarter of the workforce of the Indian state of Kerala; it’s also turning places such as Barcelona’s city center and Amsterdam’s red-light district into miserable, kitschy tourist traps and pricing out local residents.

Read: A future without long-haul vacations

Tourism also has the capacity to shape how travelers imagine other countries. McClanahan dedicates an entire chapter to soft power—a government’s political ability to influence other states—because, as she points out, our travels change where we’re likely to spend our money and “which places we’re inclined to regard with empathy.” Tourism has elevated Iceland, for instance, from a country that North Americans knew little about to a recognized player on the world stage. And Saudi Arabia plans to pour hundreds of billions of dollars into its tourism industry with a goal of attracting a planned 150 million visitors a year by 2030. For a nation, especially one striving to change its international reputation, the benefits of tourism aren’t merely financial. “The minute you put your feet on the ground,” an expert on “nation branding” tells McClanahan, “your perception starts changing for the better—in ninety percent of cases.”

In fact, McClanahan took a trip to Saudi Arabia as research for this book. “I was scared to go,” she writes, given what she’d read about the country’s treatment of both women and journalists, “more scared than I’ve been ahead of any trip in recent memory.” But she was captivated by her conversations with Fatimah, a tour guide who drives the two of them around in her silver pickup truck. Over the course of the day, they discuss the rights of Saudi women and the assassination of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi. “Her answers are thoughtful; many surprise me, and I find myself disagreeing with several outright,” McClanahan writes. When McClanahan returned home and published an interview with Fatimah for The New York Times, however, outraged readers excoriated her. “Just curious—how much did MBS pay you to tourism-wash his country?” one wrote to her in an email, referencing Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. “Or was the payment done strictly in bonesaws?”

McClanahan likens these commenters to acquaintances who tell her they refuse to visit the U.S. because they’re disgusted by some aspect of our country—American stances on abortion, or immigration, or race. Traveling to Saudi Arabia didn’t change her awareness of the country’s repression of speech and criminalization of homosexuality. But it did give her “a glimpse of the breadth and depth of my ignorance of the place,” and a recognition that the country has to be viewed with nuance; in addition to its regressive policies, she writes, the trip made her acknowledge the complexity of a land that millions of people call home.

Read: The fantasy of heritage tourism

McClanahan’s anecdote gestures at what we might gain from tourism—which, she argues, has now become “humanity’s most important means of conversation across cultures.” What physically traveling to another country grants you is a sense of how ordinary things are in most parts of the world. Unless you’re limiting yourself to the most touristy spots, going someplace else plunges you briefly into a daily fabric of existence where you must navigate convenience stores and train schedules and local currency, surrounded by other people just trying to live their lives—a kind of visceral, cheek-by-jowl reminder of our common humanity, distinct from the policies of a group’s current ruling body. Traveling, McClanahan suggests, helps people more keenly discern the difference between a state’s positions and the culture of its people by seeing it with their own eyes. This firsthand exposure is a much better reflection of the truth than flattened, extreme images provided by the internet and the news. That’s a good thing, because by sheer numbers, this kind of cross-cultural contact happens on a much larger scale than any other.

Seeing the wide world more clearly seems beneficial for everyone involved. But measuring these grand ideas about travel against its actual effects can be difficult. How exactly does visiting new places change you? Can a short trip, especially one catered to a foreign visitor, really give a person a realistic view of life in another country? McClanahan doesn’t specify what she and Fatimah disagreed or agreed on, or what aspects of Saudi Arabia she was ignorant of and subsequently learned on her trip. In the Times article, Fatimah’s answers about what it’s like to be a Saudi woman who drives, wearing no head scarf or abaya, are uniformly breezy—“Some people might stare because it’s still kind of a new thing to see, but they respect my choice,” she says—and a reader might wonder if, as an ambassador for a more liberal Saudi Arabia, she’s motivated to respond that way. One could argue that by not pressing further, McClanahan actually avoids Saudi Arabia’s complexity. And this surface-level experience extends to all kinds of trips: When I travel, I’ve found that the notion that I’m doing something good—not just for me, but for the world —can seem impossibly lofty, even self-aggrandizing, amid my stress, exhaustion, and vague shame. How valuable is enlightenment about my own ignorance compared with the concrete harm of emissions and supporting states with unjust laws?

And yet this tension is the crux of the soft-power argument: How people feel about other places matters, because these opinions shape reality. Dismissing these intangible sentiments raises the risk of falling into the old trap of seeing travel through an individual lens rather than a social one. What might happen if millions of humans have their perspectives of other nations subtly changed? Perhaps, McClanahan suggests, we’d gain the ability to exist alongside different worldviews with equanimity, without alarm or intolerance—a necessary skill for democracy and peace, and an outcome worth the downsides of mass tourism.

Read: The last place on Earth any tourist should go

But to encourage this global-citizen frame of mind, governments, businesses, and tourists alike have to change the way the travel industry works. If we are to consider tourism a collective phenomenon, then most of the burden to improve it shouldn’t fall on individuals. “Tourism is an area in which too many governments only get the memo that they should pay attention after too much damage has been done,” McClanahan writes. (Her book is full of examples, like the poignant image of visitors trampling natural grass and moss around a popular canyon in Iceland so badly that the landscape may take 50 to 100 years to recover.) Instead, she argues, lawmakers should enact regulations that help manage the influx, and she lists concrete steps they can take: setting capacity limits, building infrastructure to accommodate traffic, banning short-term rentals that drive up prices across the world, and making sure that most of the money and other benefits flow to local residents.

But the social lens also suggests that there are better and worse ways to be a tourist. Traveling will always be personal, but we can shift our behavior to acknowledge our role in a broader system, and also improve our chances of having a meaningful experience. McClanahan sketches out a spectrum with two contrasting types at the ends, which she politely (and optimistically) dubs the “old” and “new” tourist. The old tourist is essentially the boorish figure from the headlines—solipsistic, oriented toward the self, someone who superimposes their fantasies onto a place and then is outraged when their expectations aren’t met. What sets apart the new tourist is a focus on the place they’re visiting. Don’t make it about you, in short: Make it about where you are .

Traveling well, then, involves basic acts of physical courtesy: Don’t litter, don’t cross barriers intended to protect wildlife, don’t take fragments of beaches or ruins, and generally don’t be a nuisance. But it also involves some amount of research and critical thinking about the destination itself. I’ve taken to using my international trips as crash courses in the history of a particular country, which mostly means reading books and spending large amounts of time at museums and historical sites. But this is just what I happen to enjoy. One could just as profitably try picking up the language, having conversations with residents about their lives (if they seem interested in talking to you, of course), venturing to less well-known destinations, or reading the country’s newspapers and learning what issues people care about. The point is to invest something of oneself, to try to engage with a different place—an effort that strikes me as a more honest accounting of the undeniable costs of going abroad. Even Bishop concludes, in “Questions of Travel,” that the endeavor is ultimately worthwhile. “Surely,” she writes, “it would have been a pity / not to have seen the trees along this road, / really exaggerated in their beauty, / not to have seen them gesturing / like noble pantomimists, robed in pink.”

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Snowy Blast Causes Havoc on the Roads

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This briefing has ended. Follow our latest coverage of the nor’easter here .

Huge pileups leave dead and injured on treacherous roads.

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The fast-moving winter storm that barreled through the Mid-Atlantic and into the Northeast on Wednesday and Thursday created hazardous road conditions in the affected areas.

A pileup involving dozens of cars on Wednesday on Interstate 80 in Clinton County, Pa., resulted in two deaths, the state police said. A spokeswoman for the Virginia State Police said a 19-year-old man had died in a car crash, one of about 200 the state police had responded to by 3 p.m.

In New York City, a multicar collision on an already salted stretch of road just south of a bridge linking Manhattan to the Bronx left a half-dozen people hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries, officials said.

As the night wore on, the storm, as had been forecast, was proving to be one of the biggest in New York, Philadelphia and other East Coast cities since a crippling 2016 blizzard.

“Everything that was predicted is right on track,” David Stark, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in New York, said Wednesday evening. As of midnight, Central Park had gotten 6.5 inches of snow and sleet, the Weather Service said .

The snow had started to stick in New York City several hours earlier and continued with growing intensity until around midnight. By Thursday morning, it appeared that the city would accumlate less than a foot of snow.

The storm, a nor’easter, hit first in Maryland, Virginia and the Washington area, with a mixture of freezing rain and snow blanketing the region. Near Frederick County, Md., dozens of cars could barely inch forward on a packed highway. In Washington, about 50 miles southeast, the snow seemed to be turning to slush.

The storm stretched nearly 1,000 miles, from North Carolina to New England, according to the National Weather Service , and had threatened to fell trees, knock out power and cover roadways with ice.

A municipal snow plow struck and killed a man in western Pennsylvania late on Wednesday afternoon, the authorities said. The episode happened just before 5 p.m. in North Versailles, Pa., about 13 miles southeast of Pittsburgh, according to local media reports, which said that the man had been operating a snow blower when the public works plow backed into him.

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Advocates for homeless people ask that more hotel rooms be opened.

As the storm bore down on New York, advocates for homeless people urged officials to open more of the city’s vacant hotel rooms to those who have been living on the streets.

Under its so-called Code Blue guidelines, which take effect when temperatures drop below freezing at night, the city increases its outreach efforts to try to persuade homeless people to enter shelters. Anyone who is homeless and seeks shelter is offered a bed.

But most of the beds are in dormitory-style group shelters, and many homeless people avoid such shelters for fear of theft or, in the current environment, contracting the coronavirus.

With the pandemic wiping out most of New York’s hotel business this year and the subway shut down overnight for cleaning, the city has been renting hotel rooms and using them to shelter homeless people. The approach has been credited with moving more than 600 people indoors .

The Coalition for the Homeless said the city should use its empty hotel capacity to help more people off the streets.

“The city has to have an alternative option other than shelters to offer them,” said Giselle Routhier, the coalition’s policy director. She estimated that the number of people living on the streets was at least 4,000.

The city’s Department of Homeless Services said in a statement that outreach workers would continue to “engage unsheltered New Yorkers and encourage them to accept services.”

In an ornate marble gazebo at the entrance to Prospect Park in Brooklyn, Barbara Atkins, 59, sat on a bench in the biting wind, with her head sticking through a plastic dropcloth. Ms. Atkins declined a reporter’s offer to call 311 for her and connect her to a shelter.

“I’m warm enough,” she said. “I have body warmers under my jacket, and hand warmers in my pockets, and warmers in my shoes. They last for 10 hours.”

— Andy Newman

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First dusting raises some spirits in New York.

As the first dusting of snow began to fall in Manhattan’s Morningside Heights section around 5 p.m., neighborhood residents hustled home laden with groceries and tools for contending with what the storm would leave behind.

Others took to the streets to bask in the season’s first flakes. Arpan Narayan was among those admiring the snow as it glistened in the yellow glow of nearby streetlights.

“The way I look at it, anything that brings you joy is even more special during the pandemic,” said Mr. Naryan, who was retrieving a windshield brush from his car in case he needed it later. He said he was especially happy to see snow this year after being cooped up while working from home since March.

“This is definitely a moment to stop and enjoy it,” he added.

Alex Tsang said his 4-year-old son had been so excited about the snow’s arrival that he could not sleep on Tuesday night. The two had gone for a walk in Riverside Park, and the boy had tried to scoop up enough snow for a snowball. Muffled up to his eyes, he held up a small handful as proof of his effort. Mr. Tsang reassured him that they would be back out on Thursday.

“We’ve been sheltering in place for so long,” Mr. Tsang said. “I’m thinking of taking him to the park in between remote classes.”

Mario Cancel, a Columbia University doctoral student, had also rushed outside with his 7-year-old daughter. If it was going to get colder, he said, “it might as well snow so we can have some fun.”

Even Joozer Ali, the owner of Casa Hardware and Locksmith Inc., was in an upbeat mood despite facing a long commute home to Long Island. The storm had been a “blessing” for his store, which has experienced a steep drop in sales this year.

Happily, he had been well stocked with the shovels, rock salt and plastic sleds that were suddenly in high demand.

“A snow day is always good for the hardware stores,” he said.

— Juliana Kim

Hundreds of flights are canceled, and Amtrak modifies service.

Hundreds of flights were canceled, rail service was suspended and driving on some busy roads was restricted as a snowstorm hit the East Coast on Wednesday and complicated holiday travel plans.

Elaine Chao, the transportation secretary, urged everyone to check with their local transportation officials about travel conditions. “For those in the path of today’s winter storm, know what’s expected for your area and don’t drive in dangerous conditions,” she said.

Amtrak said on Tuesday it would operate on a modified schedule in parts of the Northeast and that it would cancel some services from Wednesday to Friday, including all Acela services for Thursday. New Jersey Transit said it would suspend bus service in New York and northern New Jersey and rail service systemwide .

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which runs New York City’s subway, buses and two commuter rails, said parts of the subway system may open later than 5 a.m. on Thursday and that bus service could be curtailed because of icy or snow-filled roads. The agency has outfitted buses with tire chains and spread salt on subway platforms in preparation.

“It is going to be a tough storm,” Patrick J. Foye, chairman of the M.T.A., said. “For those who do have to travel — essential workers and others — we are going to be providing service and doing it on as safe a basis as we can, but if you can stay home please do.”

In New York, the Citi Bike bicycle-sharing program said it was halting rentals at 7 p.m., and the NYC Ferry system said it would suspend service at 6 p.m.

Airlines were also beginning to adjust their plans, with more than 700 flights canceled in the United States, according to FlightAware , which tracks delays and scrapped flights.

Chloe Cho, 22, said she was planning to fly from Boston to Chicago on Thursday for the holidays. But the flight’s departure was changed to Friday.

“I am not thrilled,” said Ms. Cho, who worried that people waiting in airports could be exposed to the coronavirus.

Some travelers seemed unbothered by the threat of snow, and were even flying toward it.

Ernest Imoisi, a health care consultant from Nigeria, was among the passengers on a half-empty Houston-to-Boston flight on Tuesday night. To get ready for the difference between the weather, he made a quick pit stop home.

“I had to pick up my boots” Mr. Imoisi said.

— Derrick Bryson Taylor ,  Mihir Zaveri and Maria Jimenez Moya

Snow and freezing rain came down in Washington, Virginia and Maryland.

Maryland, Virginia and the Washington area were among the first places to get a taste of the winter storm careening up the East Coast on Wednesday, with flurries of snow and freezing rain descending across the region.

Forecasters predicted up to 18 inches of snow in some areas near the Blue Ridge Mountains, while elsewhere the morning snow was expected to be replaced by sleet and freezing rain. Snowfall totals could reach three inches in Washington and Baltimore and could exceed a foot further northwest, around Frederick, Md., said Chris Strong, a National Weather Service meteorologist.

Erik Mueller said that the snow was pellet-like when it began falling in Washington around 10 a.m. but that the flakes gradually became clumpier. Around 2 p.m., he said, it changed to rain, and everything began to melt.

“This is pretty typical of winter precipitation in D.C.,” he said. “Never know what one is going to get, and it changes every 10 miles.”

Mr. Mueller, who moved to the city eight years ago from Jacksonville, Fla., said he enjoyed the snow and took his 13-year-old Border collie mix, Ruby, out to play in it.

Shannon Bento, of Winchester, Va., in the Shenandoah Valley, said that the snow started around 8:30 a.m. and that it became heavier throughout the day. She stocked up on essentials a few days before the storm, she said, but ventured out on Wednesday to shovel and have a snowball fight.

“We were due for a good snow,” she said.

— Marie Fazio

The storm will produce more snow than New York City saw all last winter.

The nor’easter threatening the East Coast on Wednesday and Thursday is predicted to produce up to one foot of snow in New York City, more than the area saw all last winter.

For the 2019-20 meteorological winter, which is defined as December, January and February, 4.8 inches of snow fell in Central Park, according to the National Weather Service .

It was the city’s second-smallest snow total on record.

The unusually paltry snowfall was a sign of climate change, which leads to volatile weather patterns, said Mark Wysocki, the New York State climatologist. The past decade also featured the second-snowiest winter on record in Central Park — 61.9 inches from December 2010 to February 2011.

“In the 2000s, we’re seeing these extremes, between the driest and the wettest,” Mr. Wysocki said. “Because of the climate changing, this is what we would expect, this volatility.”

If the snow predictions for Boston of eight to 12 inches are correct, this week’s storm could produce much of last winter’s snow total. The city saw just 15.1 inches of snow last winter, well below the average of 33 inches, according to The Boston Globe .

In Philadelphia, forecasters predict the storm to produce six to eight inches of snow; last winter, the city received less than an inch of snow, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer .

— Derrick Bryson Taylor

In cities expecting snow, some coronavirus testing is delayed.

As a powerful winter storm raced up the East Coast on Wednesday, several major cities planned to temporarily shut down coronavirus testing facilities.

In Baltimore, the city health department postponed testing at two outdoor testing sites on Wednesday and Thursday, although several sites remained open for “walk-up” testing.

“We would urge residents to remain safe while they travel to the testing site, and would encourage residents to dress warmly should they need to wait in line,” the city department said in a written statement.

Hartford HealthCare said its nine drive-through testing sites in Connecticut would be closed on Thursday, and two city-sponsored mobile testing sites in Boston will also be closed. In Rhode Island, Gov. Gina Raimondo warned residents that test scheduling on the state’s online portal would be “temporarily paused” for Thursday “to ensure the safety of Rhode Islanders.” Some outdoor sites may close, and some indoor or covered sites will stay open, she said.

In Philadelphia, where the snowfall could reach up to eight inches, city testing clinics remained open on Wednesday, and officials expected that they would be open Thursday as well, said James Garrow, a spokesman for the city department of health.

He stressed “the need to call ahead to make sure that folks’ local testing site is open.”

— Giulia McDonnell Nieto del Rio

New York City canceled in-person classes, but don’t expect a snow day.

With a major snowstorm bearing down on New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio made official on Wednesday what had been expected: that in-person classes in the city’s public schools will be canceled on Thursday but that students are still expected to attend lessons online.

The decision affected about 190,000 of the city’s roughly one million public school students who returned to physical classrooms this month after school buildings closed briefly in November as the number of coronavirus cases began to climb.

Mr. de Blasio’s announcement was in line with moves by other U.S. school districts that are dropping the traditional snow day this year amid a shift to remote learning prompted by the pandemic and the accompanying disruption to students’ schedules.

In Philadelphia, teachers planned to continue classes virtually despite the storm. In Denver, schools moved fully online for large snowfall in late October. And officials in Omaha said last month that students would learn online regardless of snow, even beyond this year.

Some officials have suggested the change could be permanent.

But with the virus already depriving students of several other traditions, parents like Sarah Allen of Brooklyn’s Kensington neighborhood said they planned to call their own snow days.

“I felt like no matter what kind of learning we’re doing this year,” said Ms. Allen, who has four school-age children, “this isn’t something that needs to be taken away from kids who have already lost a lot, ranging from not being able to see friends to losing parents to Covid.”

For various reasons, officials in some areas had already been looking for ways to eliminate school cancellations because of the weather. And education experts said that keeping students in class as much as possible is especially vital this year.

“Particularly because kids have already lost so much learning time, adding to that for no good reason just seems bizarre,” said Joshua Goodman, an associate professor of education and economics at Boston University.

Not everyone agrees.

School officials in Mahwah, N.J., said in a letter to parents that winter weather offered an opportunity for “memory-making,” and that remote classes would not be held if school would otherwise be canceled.

“Snow days are chances for on-site learners and virtual learners to just be kids by playing in the snow, baking cookies, reading books and watching a good movie,” officials wrote.

— Troy Closson

What is a nor’easter, exactly?

The word “ nor’easter ” usually elicits images of streets blanketed in heaps of snow and power lines defeated by intense winds. But what, exactly, makes a storm a nor’easter?

“There’s no strict definition,” said Rich Otto, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service’s Weather Prediction Center . “It’s sort of a loose term.”

Broadly speaking, the term characterizes a weather system in which winds just off the East Coast collide with surface winds from the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic States amid areas of low pressure.

Nor’easters usually occur between November and March, Mr. Otto said, but they can also form earlier in the fall and in the late spring. The storms can develop 100 miles east or west of the coastline, from as far south as Georgia to New Jersey and beyond up north, according to the Weather Service .

Their effect can be seen in the form of heavy snow, freezing rain, sleet and strong winds. Wind speeds in a nor’easter can reach hurricane force, with rainfall usually hovering around one to two inches. Snowfall can accumulate to a foot or two on average, but can be “pretty variable” over all, Mr. Otto said.

In March 1993 , during the so-called Storm of the Century , a nor’easter produced four feet of snow in some areas, according to the Weather Service.

Given that nor’easters can produce dangerous conditions such as power outages , icy roads and fallen trees, Mr. Otto said it was recommended that people prepare for the storm in advance, stocking up on necessities such as batteries and extra food early, to avoid traveling during the worst of the weather.

There’s another kind of nor’easter, too.

The Nor’easter cocktail is a mix of bourbon, maple syrup, ginger beer and lime juice. Read more about it and get the recipe over at Cooking.

— Allyson Waller

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