Northeast Braces for 'Catastrophic' Snowstorm that Walloped South

A devastating nor'easter snowstorm that walloped the South on Wednesday and left at least 13 dead and hundreds of thousands without power is now pounding the northeast on Thursday, putting much of the region under a winter storm warning. Stay tuned to Breitbart News for live updates.

Washington, D.C., Virginia, and New York are expected to be hit with over a foot of snow. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, though, kept public schools in New York City (and parents blasted him for doing so) as the city expects to receive up to an inch of snow per hour until the afternoon. D.C. is expected to be hit with a mix of snow and sleet until around 5 p.m. before the region gets pounded with more snow. 

Folks, drive safely if you absolutely have to--and please don't hurt innocent people on the roads by ramming into them in treacherous conditions:

Traffic Snarled in Buffalo: 

A powerful storm system that battered the East Coast today has snarled air traffic into and out of Buffalo Niagara International Airport.

A check of the Buffalo airport’s website around 5 p.m. showed that of 47 flights scheduled to arrive after 2 p.m., 19 were canceled, four were delayed and 13 were listed as on time, with the rest already in air.

Many of the canceled flights were originating from major airports along the Eastern seaboard such as New York, Boston, Washington, D.C. and Charlotte. Weather conditions in Buffalo are fine for normal airport operations.

“We’re suffering the effects of what’s happening at the major airports,” said Douglas Hartmeyer, spokesman for the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority, which runs the airport.

Twitter map of where it snowed on Thursday:

(Twitter)

Washington, D.C. before it got pounded with "thundersleet" and more snow on Thursday evening (photo: AFP):

Colorful houses on an unplowed residential street in the Northwest quadrant of Washington, D.C. early Feb. 13, 2014. (Photo credit: EVA HAMBACH/AFP/Getty Images)


Public School Closings for Friday:

Public schools in D.C., and Howard and Prince George’s counties had previously scheduled to be closed to students on Friday.

In Maryland, public schools in Montgomery, Anne Arundel, Frederick, Calvert, St. Mary’s, Charles and Baltimore counties will be closed Friday. Schools in Baltimore City will also be closed.

In Virginia, public schools in Arlington, Frederick, Fairfax, Loudoun, Prince William and Culpeper counties will be closed. Schools in Alexandria City, Falls Church City and Manassas City also will be closed due to the snow.

A Winter Weather Advisory is in effect for D.C., Prince George’s, Anne Arundel, Charles, Calvert and St. Mary’s counties until 1 a.m. Friday. The rest of the D.C.-Baltimore metro areas remain under a Winter Storm Warning until 5 a.m. Friday.

Metrobus suspended: 

Metro announced all metrobus services would be suspended until 5 a.m. Friday.

Metro rail service is running with all stations open. Metro says on its Twitter account that trains are running every six to 10 minutes not because there are lots of riders but because it’s the best way to keep snow down.

Metro says if the snow reaches a height of 8 inches near the third rail it may be necessary to suspend service above ground. Metro operates below ground in much of downtown Washington as well as into neighboring parts of Virginia and Maryland.

Metro has cancelled all MetroAccess service for Thursday. RideOn bus service in Montgomery County will resume limited service focused on hospitals until 10 p.m.
Virginia Railway Express, MARC train and Maryland Transit Administration commuter bus services are canceled.

Virginia: 1,000 Traffic Accidents in 18-hour span:

The severe winter weather has resulted in nearly 1,000 traffic accidents in Virginia over an 18-hour span, state police say.

— Breaking News Storm (@breakingstorm)

February 13, 2014

A Tale of Two Coasts for Valentine's...

Valentine's Day still goes on in New York City and much of the South (except if your town has a sheriff that has canceled it) and the Mid-Atlantic even though the snow and ice is making it tougher:

Valentine's Day arrangements are being delivered in spite of the snowstorm, Feb. 13, 2014. (credit: Marla Diamond/WCBS 880)

Image: Marla Diamond/WCBS 880

Valentine's day will be much easier to celebrate in Laguna Beach, California. Temperatures expected to be 79 degrees on Friday during the day... and around 53 degrees in the evening: 

Train Derailment: Train carrying Canadian oil derails, leaks in Pennsylvania:

The wreckage of a train derailment is seen in the snow near Vandergrift, Pennsylvania February 13, 2014. REUTERS/Jason Cohn

Photo: Reuters

A 120-car Norfolk Southern Corp train carrying heavy Canadian crude oil derailed and spilled in western Pennsylvania on Thursday, adding to a string of recent accidents that have prompted calls for stronger safety standards.

There were no reports of injury or fire after 21 tank cars came off the track at a bend by the Kiskiminetas River in the town of Vandergrift, according to town and company officials.

Nineteen of the derailed cars were carrying oil and two held liquefied petroleum gas, Norfolk Southern said. Three of the crude tank cars spilled after the incident, though the leaks have since been plugged. The company did not say how much oil spilled.

The train was heading from Conway to Morrisville, Pennsylvania. Some of the crude on board was destined for an asphalt plant in Paulsboro, New Jersey, owned by NuStar, a NuStar spokeswoman said.

Round Two of the snow storm headed to D.C. around 4 p.m. EST. Capital Weather Gang projects around four more inches of snow for the D.C. region: 

Water vapor loop, 2:30 p.m.

Snomageddon II or Snowchi? 

CNN's Brian Todd and Crew Save Stranded Motorist: 

CNN's Todd seems like an earnest guy. And he and his team saved a motorist in dire need of help this morning. He also credited his "team" for helping the motorist instead of just giving himself all the credit. 

Public Service Announcement: There have been many accidents on the roads, and people just should not drive if they are not comfortable driving in slick conditions or do not have to, for they can ruin the lives of innocent people--or even theirs. The National Weather Service warned, "Only travel in an emergency. If you must travel, keep an extra flashlight, food and water in your vehicle in case of an emergency." The Weather Channel also offers advice that drivers in these conditions should go over if they feel they have to head out on the roads. It can make a difference.

DRIVING TIPS FROM THE WEATHER CHANNEL: 

The best advice for driving in bad winter weather is not to drive at all, if you can avoid it.

Don't go out until the snow plows and sanding trucks have had a chance to do their work, and allow yourself extra time to reach your destination.
If you must drive in snowy conditions, make sure your car is prepared (TIPS), and that you know how to handle road conditions.

  • It's helpful to practice winter driving techniques in a snowy, open parking lot, so you're familiar with how your car handles. Consult your owner's manual for tips specific to your vehicle.
  • Driving safely on icy roads
  • Decrease your speed and leave yourself plenty of room to stop. You should allow at least three times more space than usual between you and the car in front of you.
  • Brake gently to avoid skidding. If your wheels start to lock up, ease off the brake.
  • Turn on your lights to increase your visibility to other motorists.
  • Keep your lights and windshield clean.
  • Use low gears to keep traction, especially on hills.
  • Don't use cruise control or overdrive on icy roads.
  • Be especially careful on bridges, overpasses and infrequently traveled roads, which will freeze first. Even at temperatures above freezing, if the conditions are wet, you might encounter ice in shady areas or on exposed roadways like bridges.
  • Don't pass snow plows and sanding trucks. The drivers have limited visibility, and you're likely to find the road in front of them worse than the road behind.
  • Don't assume your vehicle can handle all conditions. Even four-wheel and front-wheel drive vehicles can encounter trouble on winter roads.
  • If your rear wheels skid...
  • Take your foot off the accelerator.
  • Steer in the direction you want the front wheels to go. If your rear wheels are sliding left, steer left. If they're sliding right, steer right.
  • If your rear wheels start sliding the other way as you recover, ease the steering wheel toward that side. You might have to steer left and right a few times to get your vehicle completely under control.
  • If you have standard brakes, pump them gently.
  • If you have anti-lock brakes (ABS), do not pump the brakes. Apply steady pressure to the brakes. You will feel the brakes pulse — this is normal.
  • If your front wheels skid...
  • Take your foot off the gas and shift to neutral, but don't try to steer immediately.
  • As the wheels skid sideways, they will slow the vehicle and traction will return. As it does, steer in the direction you want to go. Then put the transmission in "drive" or release the clutch, and accelerate gently.
  • If you get stuck...
  • Do not spin your wheels. This will only dig you in deeper.
  • Turn your wheels from side to side a few times to push snow out of the way.
  • Use a light touch on the gas, to ease your car out.
  • Use a shovel to clear snow away from the wheels and the underside of the car.
  • Pour sand, kitty litter, gravel or salt in the path of the wheels, to help get traction.
  • Try rocking the vehicle. (Check your owner's manual first — it can damage the transmission on some vehicles.) Shift from forward to reverse, and back again. Each time you're in gear, give a light touch on the gas until the vehicle gets going.

UPDATE: 130-Year Record Shattered in Philadelphia: 

And with the snowfall in the city of Philadelphia Thursday, a 130-year-old record was shattered. For the first time in the city’s history, there have been four 6+ inch snowfalls or more in season. In addition, we are now in the top 5 snowiest winters of all-time.

Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA), who is up for reelection, politicized the Snowstorm.... and then blamed it on an aide: 

Senator Mark Warner, (D-VA) deleted an insensitive tweet that attempted to slam VA Republicans at the expense of the victims of the latest winter storm currently wreaking havoc along the East Coast, and the victims of the president's ill-conceived health care law. 

Warner deleted this after 26 seconds: 

Mark Warner (D) @MarkWarner

Just a matter of time: waiting for the @VA_GOP to claim this winter storm was caused by The Affordable Care Act. #Snowbamacare

Steelers fans are everywhere. Here We Go!:

Light--and a bit of warmth--at the end of the tunnel next week. But regions pummeled by Winter Storm Pax must brace for round two tonight (see below):

ROUND TWO: The South and the East Coast may be pounded with another round of storms beginning on Thursday evening: 

Capital Weather Gang: 

In Washington, D.C., another round of snow may move in "around 3 or 4 p.m. and [exit] the region between 9 and 11 p.m.":

The locations most likely to get accumulation are the colder suburbs to the west of I-95, which could pick up 2-4″. Around town and to the east, we’re thinking a sloppy inch or so is possible. Having said that, this final wave is dynamic and energetic, so surprises are possible.

The heaviest snow inside the Beltway is most likely between around 6 and 8 p.m.

Accuweather: 

Another storm will track from the central Plains to the Ohio and Tennessee valleys on Friday, before reaching the East Coast Friday night and Saturday.

The storm has the potential to bring a new round of travel disruptions to parts of the South and East that were hit with the winter storm at midweek and some places that escaped the storm in the Midwest.

A swath of snow will affect portions of North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey and New York during part of Friday night. A couple of inches could fall on parts of these states.

On the southern edge of the storm, a wintry mix may fall in part of northern Alabama, northern Georgia, central and southeastern North Carolina and southeastern Virginia. Just enough could fall to make some roads slippery once again.

According to AccuWeather.com Senior Meteorologist Brett Anderson, "As the storm swings out over the Atlantic Ocean late Friday night and Saturday, it is likely to strengthen."


UPDATE: 1 p.m. EST: Dulles Airport near the D.C. region is getting ready to open.

UPDATE: Shoveling Snow Not Only Risk for Stroke During Snowstorms: 

There may be a link between weather and the risk of suffering a stroke, say researchers who analyzed climate trends and hospital records on millions of Americans.

Cold weather, high humidity and big daily temperature swings seem to land more people in the hospital with strokes. As it got warmer, risk fell — 3 percent for every 5 degrees, the study found.

[...]

Blood vessels constrict in cold weather, which can raise blood pressure, he said. Extreme weather can trigger a stress reaction by the body, causing it to release substances "that not only increase the work of the heart" but make blood stickier and more likely to clot, Stemer said.

In cold weather "your body clamps down, there's cardiovascular stress," said Dr. Larry Goldstein, a Duke stroke specialist who worked on the study.

Conversely, "high humidity may cause dehydration," which also can raise the risk for clots and raise stress on the body, he said. "You know how you feel when you're out in hot, humid weather — you don't feel so hot."

[...]

Lower temperatures, larger daily temperature changes and higher dew points (humidity) were tied to higher stroke hospitalization rates.

Each 5-degree increase in daily temperature fluctuation (the highest reading minus the lowest one) raised the chance of stroke hospitalization by 6 percent. Each 5-degree rise in the dew point (humidity) raised the risk by 2 percent.


New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio doubles down on his decision to keep public schools open:

NWS: The NWS began warning days ago that a "mammoth dome" of arctic air would settle over the eastern United States, creating a "paralyzing ice storm" as far south as North Carolina and Georgia and extending up the northernmost United States.

'Mind-boggling' ice:

"The ice accumulations remain mind-boggling, if not historical," the weather service warned, adding that a foot (30 centimeters) of snow could hit New England Thursday as the massive storm pulls moisture in off the Atlantic.

Snowfall totals in parts of Georgia, where residents rarely see a hard frost, could reach 10 inches (25 centimeters) or more, US weather officials said, warning motorists to stay off ice-slickened roads

What to expect in the Northeast on Wednesday evening and Thursday morning:

Meteorologists expect that "Washington, Baltimore and Philadelphia will see 4-8 inches of snow starting Wednesday night and all day Thursday" from Winter Storm Pax while "New York and Boston can expect 3-6 inches." Areas north of those cities may "see a foot or more of snow before the nasty front rolls off the coast of Maine on Friday."

No snow day in New York on Thursday for New York City's public schools, as the region braces for about eight inches of snow, which is more than original forecasts predicted. Field trips, though, have been canceled. 

No snow day for city kids as schools remain open

Photo: Getty

Washington, D.C.: Federal Government Closed on Thursday

#WEATHER ALERT: 6"-12" inches of snow expected for DC area overnight. Full list of closures at http://t.co/jNDnV2l1PS

— wusa9 (@wusa9) February 13, 2014

From FEMA: 

Today, President Obama declared an emergency for all counties in the State of South Carolina, at the request of Governor Nikki Haley, authorizing FEMA to support the state in its efforts to respond to the storm. The declaration comes in addition to the President’s Emergency Declaration for 91 counties in the State of Georgia yesterday, at the request of Governor Nathan Deal.

FEMA has deployed an Incident Management Assistance Team to the Georgia Emergency Operations Center in Atlanta, along with liaisons to the state emergency operations centers in Georgia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Virginia to facilitate close coordination with the states. FEMA has activated its Regional Response Coordination Centers in Atlanta and Philadelphia, and continues to be in close contact with state, tribal and local partners in impacted and potentially impacted areas and stands ready to support its partners, if requested and needed.

FEMA has also established an Incident Support Base in Augusta, Georgia where additional federal teams are on the ground. Commodities including generators, meals, water, blankets, and cots are being moved to that location. At all times, FEMA maintains commodities, including millions of liters of water, millions of meals and hundreds of thousands of blankets strategically located at distribution centers throughout the United States and its territories, including Atlanta, Ga. and Frederick, Md., if needed and requested.

Image: Accuweather.com

Snow hitting D.C.:

Images from the South: 

North Carolina:


Georgia:

Ap221435016340

Storm Devastates South

The storm has already done considerable damage to the South, and some states--like Georgia--have been warned of another potentially historic and "catastrophic" blow in the days ahead: 

The city dodged the first punch of a dangerous winter storm Tuesday, but forecasters warned of a potentially "catastrophic" second blow in a thick layer of ice that threatened to bring hundreds of thousands of power outages and leave people in their cold, dark homes for days.

The streets and highways in metro Atlanta were largely deserted as people in the South's business hub heeded advice from officials to hunker down at home, especially after the snow jam two weeks ago saw thousands of people stranded on icy, gridlocked roads for hours when 2 inches of snow fell.

The storm that brought plenty of snow and ice walloped the South and left residents in Georgia, Texas, the Carolinas, Alabama, and Mississippi scrambling on Wednesday. Hundreds of thousands were left without power in Georgia and the Carolinas. Roads in Georgia were abandoned because traveling was deemed to be "impossible," while drivers were abandoning their cars in North Carolina during the snowstorm. 

Atlanta, which is nicknamed "The City in a Forest," is facing the likelihood of losing many trees during the storm, which could damage power lines and create more blackouts in the area. More than 3,000 flights have also been canceled in the region as of Wednesday afternoon. At least four people have reportedly died due to icy road conditions in Texas and one fatality has been reported in North Carolina. There have been at least eight reported fatalities because of the storm. 

Amtrak Suspends Trains: 

The suspensions include trains between New York and several destinations in the South and the auto train between Washington's northern Virginia suburbs and Orlando, Fla. Amtrak says other services, including the Northeast Corridor, are scheduled to operate.

The suspensions include Crescent trains between New York and New Orleans; Silver Meteor and Silver Star trains between New York and Miami; Carolinian trains between New York and Charlotte, N.C.; Palmetto trains between New York and Savannah, Ga.; and Piedmont trains between Charlotte and Raleigh in North Carolina.

Traffic: Interstate 20 in Atlanta was abandoned as residents were told to stay home during the snowstorm. 

Snow Rage: Residents Taking Anger Out on Plow Drivers 

A man western Pennsylvania put a gun to the head of a plow driver: 

Police say Eckert became angry when the self-employed driver, John Abraham, accidentally pushed some snow into his yard while cleaning a neighbor’s driveway.

“I went like this to put it in park and there was a gun right here in my face,” Abraham said.

Eckert is then accused of taking a .22-calibur pistol out of his coat, and pressing it against Abraham’s cheek, telling him to remove the snow.

In other areas of the country, plow drivers have complained that people are cursing at them, throwing things at them, and taking out their frustration on the drivers. 

SAD: "Seasonal Affective Disorder" may be impacting more Americans this winter. Doctors have "agreed that a lack of sunlight – which is said to both deny people a source of vitamin D and inhibit the development of mood-influencing neurotransmitters such as dopamine, epinephrine and serotonin – has negative effects on humans." Various light boxes have been used to help people who may be suffering from "SAD."

Winter Blues Beckon As Daylight Hours Foreshorten

Image: WebMD

Sporting Events Postponed: UPDATE: Duke-North Carolina College Basketball Postponed 

Team managers for Duke and North Carolina got into a scuffle during practice, though. Snow rage?

The winter storm and icy conditions moving through the South is causing teams to postpone games scheduled for this week, including Georgia Tech's contest with Boston College in Atlanta only hours after officials said things were a go.

[...]

The Georgia Tech women's basketball game in Atlanta scheduled for Wednesday night was cancelled earlier in the day. Virginia officials expressed weather-related travel concerns and the game was postponed until Thursday.

In South Carolina, the men's basketball game between Vanderbilt and the Gamecocks at Columbia that was scheduled for Wednesday night was also postponed until Thursday. South Carolina officials announced the delay, citing the safety concerns. No time has been set for the Thursday's contest.

The Atlantic Sun Conference men's basketball game between Stetson and USC Upstate in Spartanburg, S.C., was also moved from Thursday night to Monday night.

The region's NBA teams were all out of town and far from the storm Wednesday except for the Orlando Magic, who are hosting the Memphis Grizzlies. The forecast for Orlando, though, was 81 degrees.

No NHL games are scheduled to be played as the league took three weeks off during the Sochi Olympics.


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