More than 70 million people were subjected to a warning or warning of a winter storm from North Georgia to Maine, covering Wednesday and Thursday.
Freezing rain fell in North Carolina on Wednesday morning and snow was gathering from Ohio to northern Virginia. However, the largest snowfall is expected to hit parts of the Central Atlantic and the Northeast from late in the morning until the afternoon and evening:
• Washington, DC: Expect less than 2 inches of snow on Wednesday, along with rain, sleet, and frost.
• Philadelphia: There will likely be 3 to 6 inches of snow on a Wednesday afternoon, with a mixture of rain and snow falling at night.
• Boston: 8 to 12 inches can drop in town – and up to 18 inches west of town – from Wednesday night to Thursday.
The heaviest snowfall can come in parts of central Pennsylvania and northern New Jersey, where it can collect up to two feet.
Snow is not the only danger in the east, said Chad Myers, a CNN meteorologist – it could accumulate a quarter of an inch of ice in parts of North Carolina, West Virginia, Virginia and Maryland.
The impacts in some areas could be severe: With travel disruptions, widespread power outages, and home damage from fallen trees, it’s all possible across the central Atlantic, southeastern New York state, and southern New England.
Myers said that strong winds – possibly with gusts of 40 to 60 mph – can trigger conditions close to a snowstorm and destroy power lines in the northeastern coastal regions. The meteorological agency said heavy rainfall could cause floods in parts of the central Atlantic.
By Thursday morning, the storm will move to the Atlantic Ocean, while parts of New England may still have some snow.
Be prepared for a devastating storm
“Models expect Pennsylvania to be hit by the first major winter storm in nearly a year,” the governor said in a statement.
“Commonwealth emergency preparedness teams have spent a significant amount of time and energy over the past several months to support efforts to mitigate the Covid-19 pandemic, help the Commonwealth address this public health emergency and ensure vaccines are delivered as planned.”
“This announcement makes it easier for all participants to deliver the vaccine and keep people safe to do their work,” he added.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio Residents were urged to take precautions before the storm, saying the city could experience snowstorm-like conditions Thursday morning with “really bad visibility, strong winds and heavy snow”.
“You have to be prepared for a devastating storm,” he said during a news conference on Tuesday. “I want people to think now about the precautions you’ll take, and the ways in which you’ll change your routine. Take this seriously.”
Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont has warned against unnecessary travel and has announced that the state’s Emergency Operations Center, which is already operational during the pandemic, will remain active to monitor storm conditions.
“With heavy and steady snowfall expected on Wednesday evening, the Department of Transportation has been activated and prepared to clear and treat our roads,” Connecticut Transportation Commissioner Joseph Joletti said in a statement.
“Driving conditions will be frightening at best and dangerous at worst. The best thing the public can do is sit outside and let our crews do their jobs,” Joletti added.
CNN’s Rob Frehse, Judson Jones, Dave Hennen and Monica Garrett contributed to this report.