By Arun Kumar
Washington, Jan 22 (IANS) A thick blanket of snow covered the eastern half of the US as a severe winter storm clobbered the country leading to closure of government offices in Washington and declaration of a state of emergency in three states.
With Winter Storm Janus, as it is called, expected to bring up to 14 inches of snow in certain parts of country, including about 12 inches in New York, over 3,000 flights have been cancelled, including 450 that were scheduled to leave Wednesday.
Washington, where even the White House took a snow day Tuesday, was expected to get at least 8 inches of snow, forecasters said.
Governors in Delaware, New Jersey and New York declared states of emergency. More than 1,700 ploughs in New York were to hit the roads Tuesday night to try to clear up to 10 inches of snow.
The storm stretched 1,000 miles between Kentucky and Massachusetts but hit especially hard along the heavily populated areas between Philadelphia and Boston, creating perilous rides home for millions of motorists, according to CBS News.
As of Tuesday evening, there was mostly light snow across Connecticut, Rhode Island and eastern Massachusetts from the Boston area southward. Snowfall totals in the region ranged from about 5 inches to 6.5 inches.
With the snow still falling, the National Weather Service reported a record daily maximum snowfall of 6.1 inches at LaGuardia airport in New York, breaking the old record of 4.8 set in 2001
New York’s Central Park also received a record 7.6 inches breaking the old record of 6.0 in 2001.
After the storm tapers off early Wednesday morning, between 10 and 14 inches of snow are forecast to be on the ground in the southern portions of Brooklyn and Queens, central and coastal New Jersey, and on Long Island, meteorologists estimate.
By Tuesday evening, parts of New Jersey and Long Island already had 9 inches, while Central Park and parts of Connecticut and Westchester County had more than 7 inches.
The storm put a damper on New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s inauguration, forcing the cancellation of an evening party on Ellis Island, CBS said.
Schools in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Connecticut, Virginia, West Virginia and Kentucky stayed closed for an extra day after the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday or sent students home early.
A small but intense snowstorm is dumping up to 10 inches of snow in metropolitan Chicago as moisture over Lake Michigan mixes with frigid air.
Winter storm warnings and watches were in effect for all or part of 13 states from the mid-Atlantic to New England, CNN reported. There was a blizzard warning for Cape Cod, Massachusetts.
The storm should push into the Atlantic Ocean on Wednesday morning, CNN said citing its meteorologist. But already frigid eastern half of the nation is expected to stay in the icebox until the weekend, it said.