Federal agencies and schools in the Washington, DC area closed on Monday as the area received the first significant snowfall of the season, part of a winter storm that left more than half a million customers without power as it traveled up the east coast.
“A major winter storm is afoot,” the National Weather Service said Monday morning, while he warns: “Snow-covered and slippery roads as well as heavy snowfall and poor visibility make traveling dangerous.”
The storm dropped more than 14 inches of snow in parts of northern Virginia, while Washington recorded more than 20 inches, according to the Meteorological Service. In central Tennessee and northern Alabama, which hit the end of the storm, total snowfalls reached nine inches. said the weather service.
The storm moved north through Maryland, Northern Delaware, and Southern New Jersey on Monday afternoon, where total snowfall was between 15 and 15 inches. The weather system was expected to land offshore around 10 p.m., said Andrew Orrison, a meteorologist for the Weather Service in College Park, Md.
In North Carolina, the storm brought high winds and snow to the mountains to the west of the state, while Greensboro, Raleigh, and Durham fell as much as two inches of rain. breaks daily records for rainfall discontinued in 1992.
As of Monday night, more than 340,000 customers in Virginia were without power while 43,000 customers in North Carolina and more than 42,000 in Maryland were down, according to PowerOutage.us, which summarizes data from utility companies in the United States.
Hundreds of flights from airports in the Washington area were canceled or delayed on Monday morning, according to FlightAware, which is tracking the status of flights. Atlantic City International Airport was temporarily closed on Monday while crews worked to clear snow from the runways, according to the New Jersey Department of Transportation.
Speaking at a press conference on Monday, Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser said, “I cannot stress enough now that you should stay home.” There was a snow emergency for the city until 7 p.m. on Monday.
Governor Larry Hogan of Maryland mobilized state resources, and Governor Philip D. Murphy of New Jersey declared a state of emergency for five counties, which warns residents to avoid the streets. State government offices in Delaware were closed.
At a press conference, Governor Murphy said emergency workers had been helping 245 drivers in his state by Monday afternoon.
“Stay off the streets,” he said. “Let the thing tidy up during the evening and then hopefully make a fresh start to commute in the morning.”
The roads in the region became treacherous. Virginia State Police said Monday that their officers had responded to more than 650 reports of accidents and helped more than 600 stranded vehicles by 4 p.m. Some drivers were slightly injured, but no deaths were reported, authorities said.
“The cars are going too fast for the conditions and they are sliding off the streets, into trenches, into the concrete walls, into one another,” said Corinne Geller, a spokeswoman for the Virginia State Police. Sunday’s rain prevented crews from properly salting the roads, she said, making the highways more dangerous during Monday’s snow.
In Washington on Monday, Ms. Bowser said local residents should avoid the “very slippery and difficult-to-pass” streets.
In the affected states, the emergency services worked on Monday afternoon to clear snow from the streets after the worst storm was over. Multiple agencies sent photos of cars getting stuck on snow-covered roads, which officials have strongly advised local residents to avoid Snow plows could clean the streets.
“Stay away from the streets so that our crews can do their job safely,” it says in the The Maryland Department of Transportation said.
Schools across the Washington area canceled classes Monday, as did several in the Richmond area of Virginia. In New Jersey, some systems announced closings while others said they would operate with delayed openings.
The heaviest snowfall, at five centimeters per hour, occurred right after the transition from rain on Monday morning, meteorologists said. Mr Orrison of the Meteorological Service said there have been reports of thunderstorms – a phenomenon where thunderstorms and lightning occur during a snow storm – in the Washington area on Monday.
The possible re-freezing of the snowmelt in the evening and night could lead to additional travel concerns.
Given the possibility of black ice and slippery roads, the Virginia Department of Transportation urged residents to avoid travel Monday evening and the Maryland Department of Transportation urged drivers to postpone their trips Tuesday morning.
“Re-freezing the road could definitely be dangerous for Tuesday morning commuters,” Orrison said.
Jesus Jiménez Reporting contributed.