Millions of people in the Northeast are bracing for Winter Storm Juno, which will become a major snowstorm Monday (Jan. 26) through Wednesday with the potential for blizzard conditions and more than 2 feet of snow.
The high confidence in forecast wind and snowfall led the National Weather Service to issue blizzard warnings well in advance of the storm from the New Jersey shore all the way to Downeast Maine, including the cities of New York City, Boston, Providence, Hartford and Portland. Most of the warnings are in effect from Monday afternoon or evening through late Tuesday night.
Hype Life Magazine understands that Boston, New York and Philadelphia began shutting down Monday evening as the flurries began, with the worst ahead.
Non-emergency vehicles have been banned on New York City’s 6,000 miles of roads after 23:00 local time.
“Recognise this as an emergency, this is not business as usual,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio.
New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts have declared states of emergency and 50 million people are expected to wake up to a foot of snow on Tuesday.
Snowstorm threatens to paralyze the crowded Northeast US
More than 35 million people along the Philadelphia-to-Boston corridor rushed to get home and settle in Monday as a fearsome storm swirled in with the potential for hurricane-force winds and 1 to 3 feet of snow that could paralyze the Northeast for days.
Snow was blowing sideways with ever-increasing intensity in New York City by midafternoon as flurries began in Boston. Forecasters said the storm would build into a blizzard, and the brunt of it would hit late Monday and into Tuesday.
More than 6,500 flights in and out of the Northeast were canceled, and many of them may not take off again until Wednesday. Schools and businesses let out early on Monday. Government offices closed. Shoppers stocking up on food jammed supermarkets and elbowed one another for what was left. Broadway stages went dark.
All too aware that big snowstorms can make or break politicians, governors and mayors moved quickly to declare emergencies and order the shutdown of streets and highways to prevent travelers from getting stranded and to enable plows and emergency vehicles to get through.
“This will most likely be one of the largest blizzards in the history of New York City,” New York Mayor Bill de Blasio warned.
He urged New Yorkers to go home and stay there, adding: “People have to make smart decisions from this point on.”
Up to now, this has been a largely snow-free winter in the urban Northeast. But this storm threatened to make up the difference in a single blow.
Boston was expected to get 2 to 3 feet of snow, New York 1½ to 2 feet and Philadelphia more than a foot.
The National Weather Service issued a blizzard warning for a 250-mile swath of the region, meaning heavy, blowing snow and potential whiteout conditions. Forecasters warned that the wind could gust to 75 mph or more along the Massachusetts coast and up 50 mph farther inland.
New York City’s subways and buses planned to shut down by 11 p.m. In Massachusetts, ferry service to Martha’s Vineyard was greatly curtailed and to Nantucket was suspended. Commuter railroads across the Northeast announced plans to stop running overnight, and most flights out of the region’s major airports were canceled.
Authorities banned travel on all streets and highways in New York City and on Long Island and warned that violators could be fined $300. Even food deliveries were off-limits on the streets of takeout-friendly Manhattan. The governors of Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island also slapped restrictions on nonessential travel.
Shopping cart gridlock descended on Fairway, the gourmet grocery on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. The meat shelves were all but bare, customers shoved past each other and outside on Broadway the checkout line stretched for a block as the wind and snow picked up. Store employees said it was busier than Christmastime.
On Wall Street, however, the New York Stock Exchange stayed open and said it would operate normally Tuesday as well.
Coastal residents braced for a powerful storm surge and the possibility of damaging flooding and beach erosion, particularly in New Jersey and on Cape Cod in Massachusetts. Officials in New Jersey shore towns warned people to move their cars off the streets and away from the water.
Utility companies across the region put additional crews on standby to deal with anticipated power outages.
The storm posed one of the biggest tests yet for Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker, who has been in office for less than three weeks. He warned residents to prepare for power outages and roads that are “very hard, if not impossible, to navigate.”
The storm interrupted jury selection in the Boston Marathon bombing case and forced a postponement in opening statements in the murder trial of former NFL star Aaron Hernandez in Fall River, Massachusetts.
The Super Bowl-bound New England Patriots got out of town just in time, leaving from Logan Airport around midday for Phoenix, where the temperature will reach the high 60s.
The Washington area was expecting only a couple of inches of snow. But the House postponed votes scheduled for Monday night because lawmakers were having difficulty flying back to the nation’s capital after the weekend.
More news this week!