2ft of snow expected to hit eastern US

Friday 22nd Jan 2016 by the Weather Club

Image: A snowplow being towed in Washington DC following 'Snowmageddon' that hit the US in February 2010 (Source: Flickr) 

A major winter-storm, with strong winds, heavy snow and blizzards is forecast to affect eastern parts of the US. The storm is set to hit on Friday afternoon, and last throughout the weekend, with weather warnings affecting more than 40 million people. Moist Atlantic air is colliding with cold, dry air over Canada, and the north, turning the rain to snow as it moves inland.

The warnings extend from Arkansas eastward, across the Appalachians and towards coastal states. A state of emergency has been declared in Washington DC and five other states: Tennessee, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania. Washington DC and Baltimore are the major cities that will be worse hit, with the chance of snowfall totals exceeding 2 feet (60cm).

There is also the risk of drifting snow, and thick ice accumulations developing across parts of the Tennessee Valley. Damage from winds and flooding pose the greatest risk for coastal areas, such as New York, New Jersey, and Delaware.

Supermarket shelves have been wiped empty, with people stocking up on essentials such as bread and milk. Generators, batteries and flashlights are other necessities that have sold out in many places, in preparation for lock-down over the weekend. Travel will also be significantly disrupted, with more than 5,000 flights cancelled on Friday and Saturday.

From Sunday, the storm is expected to retreat eastwards over the Atlantic, with temperatures in most areas climbing above freezing, bringing some relief from the cold weather.