Well, it’s upon us. Winter Storm Jonas has 85 million Americans in his path, with Washington, D.C. and northern Virginia set to take the brunt of it. Those areas are expected to have 2-4 feet of snow dumped on them (via Weather.com):
Snow and Ice Impacts
At least 1 foot of snow: Eastern Kentucky into a large part of of West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland, D.C., northern Delaware, far southern Pennsylvania and western North Carolina. Amounts exceeding 2 feet are possible in parts of western Virginia, eastern West Virginia, central Maryland and the District of Columbia.
At least 6 inches of snow: Much of New Jersey into New York City and Long Island; central Kentucky and parts of West and Middle Tennessee; and a narrow zone immediately surrounding the 1-foot zone. A few locations in central to eastern Arkansas could approach or slightly exceed 6 inches of snowfall as well.
Damaging ice: Damaging ice accumulations of 1/4 inch or more are likely from parts of Upstate South Carolina into the Piedmont and foothills of North Carolina, including the Charlotte and Greensboro/Winston-Salem metropolitan areas. The Raleigh-Durham area may also see enough ice to break tree limbs and down power lines. Another zone of concern exists over Kentucky, generally south of I-64, where some locations may see tree and/or power line damage from 1/4 inch of ice.
Lesser ice accumulation: Other areas where lighter ice accumulations may cause dangerous driving conditions stretch from eastern Arkansas through the central and southern Appalachians into northeast Georgia. In many of these areas, freezing rain will be a small part of the storm as precipitation changes to snow or rain.
According to CNN, Tennessee, Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina have all declared states of emergency and will prepare accordingly. Yet, there doesn’t seem to be much confidence in the D.C./Virginia area, where a lack of preparation let just one inch of snow, along with icy conditions, completely paralyzed the city. Commuters were stuck for hours, and some abandoned their cars after sitting bumper-to-bumper for four hours or more. Yesterday morning, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser apologized for the city’s inexcusable and utterly embarrassing snow preparations. She did, however, say that a state of emergency would be issued at 9:30 in the morning, which was about 90 minutes ago.
Right now, over 3,000 flights have been cancelled, with winds that could reach as high as 60 miles per hour. As you could expect, stores in the D.C-area have been ransacked. The D.C. Metro system, which hasn’t caught on fire as of late, will be shut down all weekend. And Amtrak is altering its schedules through the capital.
Before we all ponder about sledding down the Capitol grounds, which is legal this year, and the massive snowball fights that are to ensue once the blizzard passes–we have to get through this 36-hour storm, which will be the worst this area has seen in a century. Folks, stay safe, stay indoors, grab your provisions, and load up your Netflix/Amazon Prime/Hulu watch lists. It’s going to be a hellacious next few days.