Blizzard warnings have sounded across 17 states as the potentially historic Winter Storm Jonas, which has already dumped up to a foot of snow in North Carolina, continues eastward.
With thousands of flights canceled and public transportation temporarily shutdown over the weekend in at least one region–Washington, which is expected to take the brunt of the storm–travel along the East Coast is finding itself rapidly restricted.
Friday afternoon, air travel tracking website FlightAware.com has already reported over 5,600 canceled flights.
In Pennsylvania, officials declared a state of emergency while Governor Tom Wolf implored residents to “stay calm, but to be prepared.”
Pennsylvanians to stay calm, but be prepared.
An unusual type of thunderstorm known as a thundersnow or thunder snowstorm was reported in the Nashville, Tennessee area on Friday morning. According to the National Weather Service (NWS), the area’s snowfall rate was measured at an inch an hour at the time of the reports.
In Kentucky and Virginia, the snow was coming down even faster — at a rate of 2 inches per hour.
Blizzard warnings have been issued from Virginia to New York.
Between Friday and Sunday, the National Weather Service forecast predicts heavy snow and strong winds.
According to the NWS, over 86 million people across 23 states found themselves covered by either a winter weather advisory, winter storm warning, freezing rain advisory, winter storm watch, or blizzard warning on Friday afternoon.
Jonas is expected to reach as far northeast as southern New England.
In North Carolina, Governor Pat McCrory blamed wintry weather for at least two deaths in the state while declaring a state of emergency.
Gov. McCrory was quoted by The Washington Post as having said that Jonas “has serious potential”.
Given the snow and ice accumulations that are predicted, combined with gusty winds and already saturated grounds, this storm has serious potential
While Washington temporarily shuts down its subway and buses over the weekend while it weathers the brunt of the storm, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has devised a plan to keep New York City’s subway system moving.
Gov. Cuomo’s plan — which involves 1,000 track workers, 800 station workers and heating equipment — to keep NYC’s trains moving comes approximately a year after the city’s subway system was closed for a storm that mostly missed the city.
“We’ve all been lulled asleep a bit by how a warm a winter it’s been. It’s astounding to me that we’re almost to February 1st before we had our first real snowstorm,” NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio told reporters in a Thursday briefing.