The East Coast is readying itself for what could possibly be the worst and biggest storm of the winter.
Tornadoes and severe weather are feared to strike the Gulf states, and cities could experience blizzard-like conditions. As many as 75 million people may be in the storm’s path, as reported by CNN. The weather could bring winds of up to 60 miles per hour. In addition to rainfall, there are chances of possible flooding.
Ahead of the expected extreme weather, thousands of flights have been cancelled for Friday and Saturday, according to flightaware.com.
The United States capital and Baltimore were issued blizzard warnings; extreme conditions here could begin from Friday. In an apology to the district residents, Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser said the city had not bee able to ready itself for the heavy snowfall that fell on Wednesday night. She said in a tweet, “Last night the District failed to deploy the necessary resources in response to the snow – for that I am sorry.”
A blizzard watch was placed for New York City for Saturday morning. The period from Friday through Sunday will also see the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority suspending its operations ahead of the severe weather.
According to Reuters, as many as 3000 Virginia National Guard troops are being planned to be sent in.
At a news conference, Bowser and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio emphasized that motorists should stay indoors. “Anyone who has the illusion you’re going to be taking big trips over the weekend, get that out of your mind,” de Blasio said.
A declaration of state of emergency was issued in Pennsylvania by Governor Tom Wolf. “We cannot control the weather, but we can all be prepared for whatever the weather brings us,” he said. With this, Pennsylvania joins Tennessee, Maryland, Virginia and North Carolina.
In Beltsville, Maryland, a man walking along U.S. Route 1 was killed after a blast of snow hit him, Maryland State Police Sgt. Christopher Hohenstein said. In North Carolina, two women died in car accidents. In Tennessee, an individual’s car slipped off the road “due to weather and speeding,” resulting in his death. As many as 392 calls for disabled vehicles were responded to by the Virginia State Police on Wednesday night and early Thursday.
North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory said the state is doing “everything we can” to brace itself for the worst to happen. As of Friday, schools, churches and courts around the state were closed.