It’s being described as a blizzard of epic proportions. Snowstorm Jonas is sweeping across the east coast of the United States, carrying with it power cuts, an estimated one billion dollars worth of damage and the threat that whole cities could grind to a halt.
The National Weather Service warned of “life-threatening” conditions.
“Strong winds will combine with heavy snow to produce life-threatening blizzard conditions across portions of the Mid-Atlantic Friday night and Saturday,” it posted in an online forecast.
Approximately one in four Americans — over 85 million people — have been affected by the blizzard, storms or freezing rain warnings since it started on Friday (January 22).
Washington, New York, Chicago
The streets of the capital are blanketed in snow, while in New York, Mayor Bill de Blasio warned:
“Starting at 8am tomorrow morning (Saturday, January 23), I’ll be declaring a local winter weather emergency for New York City and that will stay in effect through the day Saturday, until the end of Saturday, midnight Saturday, going into Sunday.
“Stay off the roads. It’s as simple as that.”
At least nine people have died in storm-related road accidents since the blizzard began.
In Chicago a plane skidded partially off a runway at O’Hare International Airport. No one was injured.
Across Friday and Saturday (January 22-23), more than 6,000 flights were cancelled, leaving some people stranded.
Traveller Jennifer Bremer was stuck in Chicago:
“So I came in yesterday for some meetings in Chicago — it was supposed to be an up and back — and (I) got stuck here last night, slept in a hotel, came today and my flight is cancelled again. So I’m trying to make my way back to Raleigh, North Carolina,” she said.
“I have my briefcase and my computer and my phone… And that’s about it.”
States of emergency have been declared across six states and in parts of others.