Millions Hunker Down as Blizzard Gets Stronger

The worst is yet to come, forecasters say
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 23, 2016 7:06 AM CST
Updated Jan 23, 2016 9:47 AM CST
Millions Hunker Down as Blizzard Gets Stronger
A tow truck operator hooks up a dialed car in front of the snow covered grounds of the State Capitol in Richmond, Va., Friday, Jan. 22, 2016.    (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

With long lead time from forecasters and stern warnings from authorities, tens of millions of residents from northern Georgia to New Jersey shuttered themselves inside to wait out a mammoth storm that made travel treacherous and could dump 2 feet or more of snow in some areas. Snow started falling Friday, but the worst was still yet to come, with strong winds and heavy snow expected to produce "life-threatening blizzard conditions" throughout the day Saturday, according to the National Weather Service's website. Forecasters also predicted up to a half-inch of ice accumulation in the Carolinas, and potentially serious coastal flooding in the mid-Atlantic.

  • The ice and snow made travel treacherous, with thousands of accidents and at least nine deaths reported along the region's roadways. By late Friday, Virginia State Police had reported 989 car crashes statewide since the storm began, and had assisted nearly 800 disabled vehicles, a police spokesman says.

  • In Kentucky, motorists were stranded along Interstate 75 south of Lexington early Saturday, and state police said on Twitter that its crews, emergency workers and the National Guard were making their way to cars with water, fuel, and snacks, and attempting to move cars one at a time.
  • About 7,600 flights were canceled Friday and Saturday—about 15% of the airlines' schedules, according to the flight tracking service FlightAware. They hope to be fully back in business by Sunday afternoon.
  • In Washington, the federal government closed its offices at noon Friday, and all mass transit was shutting down through Sunday. President Obama, hunkering down at the White House, was one of many who stayed home. "Find a safe place and stay there," Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser implored residents and visitors alike.
  • Close to 200,000 people have been left without power in North Carolina and New Jersey but the power is still on for nearly everybody in DC and northern Virginia, the New York Times reports.
  • With snow piled up more than a foot in many parts of the East Coast and another 18 hours of snowfall ahead, National Weather Service meteorologist says conditions are too poor to clear snow and people should wait until at least Sunday evening. People should be cautious and "take time digging out from this one."
(More blizzard stories.)

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