Mammoth snowfall brings US to a grinding halt
Forecasters predicted that the storm would dump over two feet of snow in Washington DC and the surrounding area, affecting about 85 million Americans. Several thousand flights were canceled and the officials took the drastic step of closing down Washington's busy rail and bus system till Monday morning. There were widespread power outages affecting 132,739 customers in the south-east and 125,000 in the Carolinas.
A state of emergency was declared in Washington DC and 5 states in the USA - Tennessee, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania - after a blizzard warning. A blizzard of historic proportions was set to hit the east coast of the USA in the afternoon of 22 January 2016 and was expected to affect the lives of almost 50 million people reportedly.
The massive snow storm is expected to dump up to 30 inches (76 cm) of snow in the east coast region of the US. According to the National Weather Service, there are possibilities of dangerous inland flooding, white-out conditions, and even the possibility of lightning striking through the snow storm (thunder snow). Wind gusts of up to 80 km/h are expected.
The massive blizzard is expected to dump around 24 inches of snow in Washington DC, 24 inches in North East Virginia, 12-18 inches in Philadelphia, 14 inches in Kentucky and 10 inches in New York City and Long Island.
According to FlightAware.com estimates, over 2,400 flights were cancelled, and 3,000 more are expected to be cancelled on 23 January. The Virginia National Guard announced that it would keep 300 troops ready for response operations when the blizzard hits. Schools and offices would remain closed till extreme conditions subsided. Meanwhile, Washington DC's transport system would remain closed all weekend.
During a two day period in 1922, Washington received 28 inches of snowfall (71 cm) which marked the highest recorded snowfall ever in the United States capital.
The paralysing snowstorm Storm Jonas hit the southern and eastern states od America. The blizzard started to blanket Washington killing as many as ten people while a state of emergency was declared in 10 states and Washington DC. Philadelphia and New York were expected to get 12-18 inches of snow from the storm and residents along New Jersey coast were prepared for potential flooding.