(NEW YORK) — A massive nor’easter blizzard blanketed much of the East Coast in the heaviest snow seen in years, shutting down Washington, Baltimore and New York City, which as of Saturday even had been hit by the third heaviest snowfall in its history.
New York City roadways closed at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced, as heavy snowfall and winds crippled the nation’s largest city.
Around 7 p.m. Saturday, Central Park had 25.1 inches of snow.
Snow Expectations as of 12:30 p.m. Saturday
In New York City, the snowfall expectation is up to 20 to 25 inches — which could mean a top 5 snowstorm ever in the city.
These are the top NYC snowstorms on record:
5. 20.2 inches in 1996
4. 20.9 inches in 2010
3. 21.0 inches in 1888
2. 25.8 inches in 1947
1. 26.9 inches in 2006
— Bill Ritter (@billritter7) January 23, 2016
Meteorologists forecast 30 to 40 inches of snow west of Washington, D.C., and Baltimore, along I-81 and into south central Pennsylvania.
Snowfall was fast approaching two feet in parts of the D.C area Saturday morning. If the nation’s capital gets more than 28 inches of snow, it would be the city’s largest snowfall on record.
Philadelphia could get 18 to 24 inches.
The National Guard had at least 2,372 members out on active duty in 12 states.
Snow Accumulations as of 2 p.m. Saturday
Newark Airport: 16.5 inches
Egg Harbor: 11.0 inches
Mount Holly: 17.0 inches
Trenton: 15.0 inches
Woodbridge: 16.0 inches
Jackson: 16.0 inches
Somerville: 17.0 inches
LaGuardia Airport: 16.2 inches
Islip: 15.4 inches
Darien: 6.5 inches
Dover: 12.1 inches
Fair Hill: 14.5 inches
Stevensville: 15.0 inches
Ridgeley: 26.0 inches
Jacksonville: 24.5 inches
Frederick: 32.5 inches
Philomont: 31.0 inches
Dulles International Airport: 23.5 inches
Redhouse: 38.0 inches
East Coventry: 18.0 inches
Spring: 16.0 inches
Glen Mills: 17.5 inches
Norristown: 21.2 inches
Philadelphia: 17.7 inches
Jones Springs: 33.0 inches
Martinsburg: 31.9 inches
Hancock: 35.5 inches
Peak Wind Gusts as of 11 a.m. Saturday
Ocean City, Maryland: 62 mph
Langley Air Force Base: 75 mph
Dewey Beach, Delaware: 75 mph
Atlantic City, N.J.: 58 mph
Tuckerton, N.J.: 68 mph
There were 13 storm related deaths as of Saturday evening: three each in North Carolina, New York and Virginia, one in Kentucky, one in Alabama, one in Pennsylvania and one in Maryland.
Maryland, Virginia, Delaware, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, West Virginia, Tennessee, Kentucky, New Jersey and the District of Columbia have issued state of emergencies.
New York Gov. Cuomo said Saturday he issued a state of emergency in New York City, Nassau, Suffolk, Westchester, Putnam, Rockland and Orange counties.
In New York City, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority suspended bus service at noon Saturday. New York City and Long Islands roadways were to be closed Saturday at 2:30 p.m. New York City’s outdoor subways will close at 4 p.m. Saturday.
In Washington D.C. where the storm lingered for longer than expected Mayor Muriel Bowser and D.C. Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency (HSEMA)Chris Geldart told reporters they weren’t sure that schools or businesses would be able to open as the blizzard continued to hit the captial.
Although the storm was expected to have lightened in the afternoon, Bowser said the storm was much stronger than expected in the afternoon hours.
Maryland Governor Larry Hogan closed down I-70 and I-270 so that plows could clear streets.
“As the state continues to fiercely fight Snow Storm Jonas, I want the citizens of Maryland to know that the state is taking every step necessary to ensure their safety,” said Hogan. “I am urging all Marylanders to stay off every road in the state, whether it’s the interstate or a local road. Stay safe and stay at home while crews do their jobs.
The governor’s announcement came hours after Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake banned non-emergency vehicles from the city streets.
Inspite of warnings by government officials to stay inside, many people braved the snow for fun or work. In New York a few thrill seekers turned the staircase at the famous Bethesda fountain in to an impromtu ski slope.
— #TimDavidPhotography (@TimDavidPhotos) January 23, 2016
In Washington D.C. children turned the capital into a playground by sledding down Capitol Hill.
— Lo Gz (@GutzyLo) January 23, 2016
Even a few animals in the National Zoo spent some time braving the snow and wind.
— National Zoo (@NationalZoo) January 23, 2016
Power Outages as of 9:30 a.m.
New Jersey: 3,625 customers
North Carolina: 147,980 customers
Philadelphia: 59 customers
Virginia: 3,176 customers
Maryland: 4,586 customers
Washington, D.C. and New York City: fewer than 5 each.
Problems on the Road
The Pennsylvania Turnpike is closed for 86 miles due to the severe weather.
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf estimated about 500 vehicles, including buses, trucks and cars, were stranded. The Pennsylvania National Guard, state police and local firefighters are helping Turnpike teams get the stranded drivers on their way.
North Carolina had about 1,274 reported traffic collisions, according to the state’s highway patrol.
The Virginia State Police responded to 989 traffic crashes and 793 disabled vehicles on Friday alone.
Airlines have cancelled over 9,000 flights for Friday, Saturday and Sunday, according to FlightAware.com.
Philadelphia International Airport has cancelled all flights for Saturday while Charlotte Douglas International Airport in North Carolina is running with limited operations.
The Baltimore Office of Emergency Management said late Friday that all flight operations at Baltimore–Washington International Airport were stopped due to the inclement weather.
D.C.’s Reagan National and Dulles International Airports are expected to remain closed through Sunday, the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority said today.
Delta Airlines said today that it is planning to restart flying Sunday at noon at D.C. and New York airports, pending weather and road conditions.
“A similar operational restart plan is in place for much of the rest of the region,” Delta said in a statement.
United Airlines said in a statement today it “plans to start very limited operations on Sunday afternoon” at Newark Airport and other New York City area airports.
At D.C. area airports, United will not operate Saturday or Sunday, but expects to gradually resume service there Monday.
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