As previously reported by The Inquisitr, this weekend the east coast has been pummeled by Winter Storm Jonas, which was projected by weather models all over the world as early as nine days prior to his arrival. Although things were lining up, many meteorologists were hesitant to declare “snowmageddon” as some social media users have termed it – due to the fact that the further out a weather event is, the less reliable the prediction is, and not only do people panic when there may be no reason to, meteorologists also take a lot of heat, so to speak, when they get a forecast wrong.
Winter Storm Jonas was indeed forming, however, and in a way that has left some meteorologists calling it “the biggest snow storm in twenty years.” An extremely large and damaging blizzard in January 1996 dumped up to four feet of snow in areas of the north east, leaving thousands without heat or electricity and being responsible for multiple deaths due to exposure, building collapse, and weather-related fatalities such as traffic accidents.
According to USA Today, there have been nine reported deaths that are attributed to Winter Storm Jonas thus far, all traffic related, although a brief clipper system prior to Jonas caused more that one thousand car accidents in Virginia. The majority of these deaths have taken place in Virginia and Tennessee. Another 12 to 20 inches is anticipated in areas of the Appalachian mountains, including the eastern panhandle of West Virginia, which has already seen in excess of two feet of snow in some locales. The snow is expected to end south to north this evening through tomorrow morning. Weather reports the highest accumulation amount along the east coast as of Saturday morning was in Terra Alta, West Virginia – a total of 28 inches with much more expected. Other areas were impacted by different weather related troubles – winds were raging with a peak gust of 85 mph at Assateague Island, Virginia, at 4:40 a.m. EST. Lewes, Delaware, has recorded a top wind gust of 73 mph with sustained winds at 59 mph, according to The Weather Channel.
States of emergency have been declared in eleven states thus far, as far south as Georgia. In order for a state of emergency to declared, the governor of such state has to declare it, which will allocate funds for snow removal and emergency services, as well as temporarily enact certain laws, such as no travel on roads unless for official reasons. Maryland governor Larry Hogan explains the reasons for this.
“Now is the time for Marylanders to stay at home and off the roads. This is the safe choice. It will also allow emergency services vehicles to maneuver and road crews to begin the long process of clearing highways and streets.”
Of course, land travel isn’t all that is affected – more than eight thousand flights have been cancelled as well, filling regional airports with frustrated people and grinding business to a halt. Other serious potential problems include emergency services travel and extended response times for fire and emergency services personnel, including police. In some cases, the National Guard may be called upon to assist these agencies.
The Huffington Post reports that “the worst is yet to come” with Winter Storm Jonas, relaying the effects that coastal flooding will have with nearly certain power outages. That situation is more imminently fatal than feet of snow, although flooding may become a problem as the snow melts and local rivers swell, threatening dam structures.
What has been your experience with Winter Storm Jonas? Reply in the comments section and share your location and snowfall accumulation thus far.
[Photo by Nam Y. Huh/AP]