Snowstorm hitting hard on weekend
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.
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.