Yet another snowy, icy, messy blast of winter weather descended on the northeast United States overnight on Thursday. Residents woke up to snarled, slippery roads covered with a few inches of snow as flakes continued to fall outside, but many businesses, schools and federal buildings had already closed their doors in anticipation of the storm.
The Washington Post reports that the storm delivered a paralyzing one-two punch to the nation’s capital, dumping nearly one foot of snow overnight, then sleet in the morning, then snow again throughout the day. In New York, snow fell at a pace of nearly two inches per hour in Central Park and blanketed the tri-state area in 9 to 13 inches.
Salt supplies have dwindled in many towns, as the third storm in two weeks blasts the region. The snow is expected to be heaviest in inland areas and at higher elevations, with 12 to 18 inches of snow on its way. New York governor Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency for a large portion of the New York City metropolitan area as the strongest wave of the storm approached late Thursday morning. Metro-North Railroad, the main commuting train line from Connecticut’s suburbs, reduced its trains by 75 percent for the morning commute in the interest of safety, and to encourage people to stay home.
Cities from Albany, N.Y. to Boston could face snow throughout the day Thursday and even into Friday. States were taking no chances as National Weather Service forecasters called for the worst. A Wednesday report from the government agency called the storm “Catastrophic…Crippling…Paralyzing…Choose your adjective.” Governors declared states of emergency throughout the storm’s wide swath, from Louisiana to New Jersey.
The storm has already resulted in at least 16 deaths, according to CNN. Three men in Howard County, Maryland died while shoveling snow, prompting a warning from local officials to “please take it easy.” Three more died when an ambulance spun off an icy road in northern Texas. Nearly 7,000 flights have been canceled out of airports up and down the east coast, from Boston to Atlanta, the nation’s busiest.
Southern states saw historic and nearly record-breaking accumulations, with Charlotte, N.C. getting hit with more than eight inches of ice and snow, and some parts of South Carolina—better known for its balmy summer weather—facing up to 9 inches. Utility companies have struggled to restore power to some 625,000 customers, more than half in North and South Carolina, the BBC reports.
In stark contrast to snarled traffic two weeks ago, highways around Atlanta looked like a ghost town as residents heeded the mayor’s call to stay off the roads. Much of the state will remain closed Thursday as crews continued to clear snow and ice.
This story will be frequently updated to reflect the changing amounts of snow and power outages throughout the nation.