A mere six weeks ago, people were milling around New York in t-shirts and thin jackets – the weather exceptionally warm for the time of year. Now the East Coast of the US is being battered by a massive blizzard, which has claimed the lives of at least 19 people.
The Big Apple joins Washington and other cities in being brought to a standstill by Snowstorm Jonas.
Eleven states have declared states of emergency, with between half a metre and 1.20 metres of snow expected in some areas, meteorologists say.
Weather-related car crashed have killed at least 13 people in Arkansas, North Carolina, Kentucky, Ohio, Tennessee and Virginia, Reuters news agency reports. One person was killed in Maryland, three others in New York while shovelling snow and two people in Virginia died of hypothermia, officials said.
Euronews’ correspondent in Washington, Stefan Grobe, sent this report from the capital:
“So, I can tell you that this is not a day you want to spend outside, because it’s snowing very heavily. There are very, very strong winds. Snow is piling up for 24 hours and we are expecting more snow for at least 12 more hours. So, it’s pretty uncomfortable if you have to be outside. I just got back from walking outside in my neighborhood. I live in the Capitol Hill east neighborhood of Washington. It normally takes me 20-25 minutes on foot to go to the capital. Now, today we were out and after an hour we decided to return because the weather was so bad and walking through the snow was so bad and we were still five or six blocks away from the Capitol.”
An estimated 33 million people are under blizzard warnings. Sleet, black ice and the wind are all causes for concern, experts say.
Gusts of more than 80 kilometres per hour are forecast across some parts of the East Coast.