Snow­storm hit­ting hard on week­end

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - WORLD -

One in seven Amer­i­cans will get at least half a foot of snow out­side their homes when this week­end’s big storm has fin­ished de­liv­er­ing bliz­zards, gale-force winds, white­out con­di­tions and flood­ing to much of the east­ern United States.

The first flakes of what could be­come two feet or more of wet, driv­ing snow be­gan fall­ing in Wash­ing­ton Fri­day af­ter­noon, slosh­ing in from the Ohio River Val­ley look­ing just like the fore­casts promised.

Con­di­tions quickly be­came treach­er­ous along the path of the storm. Arkansas and Ten­nessee got eight inches; Ken­tucky got more than a foot, and states across the Deep South grap­pled with icy, snow­cov­ered roads and power out­ages. In Mis­sis­sippi, the storm spawned two tor­na­does.

At least seven peo­ple died in storm-re­lated crashes, in­clud­ing Stacy Sher­rill, whose car plum­meted off an icy road in Ten­nessee. Her hus­band sur­vived, but it took him hours to climb up the 300-foot em­bank­ment and get help.

Of­fi­cials warned peo­ple to shel­ter in place as the bliz­zards con­tinue.

“The fore­cast does not show any ev­i­dence of light­en­ing up,” Wash­ing­ton Mayor Muriel Bowser said, stress­ing the “life and death im­pli­ca­tions.”

The good news? Me­te­o­rol­o­gists ap­pear to have got­ten this storm right. Pre­dic­tions con­verged and mil­lions of peo­ple got clear warn­ings, well in ad­vance. Bliz­zard warn­ings and watches stretched through New York City into New Eng­land, stop­ping just short of Bos­ton, but the Wash­ing­ton area should get hit the hard­est.

“This is prob­a­bly go­ing to be one of the top three snow­falls of all time for Wash­ing­ton,” said Daniel Petersen, a fore­caster at the Na­tional Weather Ser­vice’s Weather Pre­dic­tion Cen­ter in Col­lege Park, Mary­land.

AP PHOTO

Alex Hobe, a res­i­dent of the Capi­tol Hill neigh­bor­hood in Wash­ing­ton, heads home from Frager’s Hard­ware Fri­day with snow shov­els, ice-melt, and a sled in prepa­ra­tion for the an­tic­i­pated bliz­zard that’s ex­pected to hit the East­ern U.S. and threat­en­ing the District of Columbia with two feet of snow.

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