Major storm to hit northeastern US after dumping snow on capital
A snowman sits on the National Mall in Washington, DC as the capital region is under a winter storm warning through Monday night for an expected five or more inches of snow. AFP
A powerful winter storm is expected to dump deep snow on swathes of the northeastern United States including New York City on Monday after blanketing the nation's capital.
The National Weather Service issued storm warnings from Virginia to Maine -- home to tens of millions of people -- and predicted snowfall of 18 to 24 inches (45-60 centimeters) in southern New York, northeastern New Jersey and parts of southwest Connecticut.
New Jersey governor Phil Murphy issued a state of emergency ahead of the storm's expected arrival Sunday night, allowing authorities to close roads, evacuate homes and commandeer equipment needed for public safety.
He also suspended all public transportation throughout the state on Monday, in anticipation of the storm's impact, and coordinated with utilities companies in case of power outages. "Charge your devices, and if you experience a power outage -- report it immediately," he urged New Jersey residents on Twitter.
Philadelphia also declared a snow emergency, closing city government buildings for Monday and ordering residents to move their cars off of snow emergency routes so the plows can get through. "Philly, please be safe and look out for each other," Mayor Jim Kenney tweeted.
The NWS warned New Yorkers to expect a snowfall rate of two to four inches per hour beginning on Monday, with "near blizzard" conditions closer to the coast. The storm is expected to hit Maine by Tuesday, where it will drop between eight and 13 inches of snow, as well as sleet.
The storm hit California with more than six feet of snow and heavy rain last week then moved on to the Midwest, dropping about eight inches of snow in Chicago, according to the NWS.
Snowfall began overnight Saturday to Sunday in Washington. A winter storm warning from the NWS predicted between three and five inches in the area around Washington and Baltimore, Maryland.
The storm is expected to continue in the region until Tuesday, capping off with a mixture of ice, sleet and freezing rain.
President Joe Biden met with advisors Sunday to discuss "a range of issues, including the approaching winter storm," as well as Covid-19 vaccines and economic relief, according to a White House official. Meanwhile, Washington residents hurried outside to enjoy the snow, building snowmen and going sledding.