A potentially historic snowstorm, dubbed Winter Storm Jonas, is expected to clobber the East Coast Friday afternoon through Sunday, bringing heavy snow, strong winds, and a risk of coastal flooding.
“It is a potentially paralyzing storm,” Louis Uccellini, director of the National Weather Service, said Thursday in a conference call with reporters.
Blizzard warnings are in effect for the Washington, DC, Philadelphia, and New York areas, and the storm is expected to bring travel delays, school and airport closures, and hazardous conditions.
And it has already begun — more than 3,000 US flights have been canceled Friday, according to the website Flight Aware, many of them because of the weather.
Here’s the current forecast for Winter Storm Jonas, as of Friday morning:
Here’s a National Weather Service map of predicted snowfall totals — in inches — for the DC area from Friday through Sunday, from least (blue) to most (purple):
DC, Philadelphia, and part of Maryland and Virginia have a blizzard warning lasting from 3 pm EST Friday through 6 am EST Sunday. Here’s what residents in these areas under a blizzard warning can expect over the next three days:
- The National Weather Service predicts a total of more than 2 feet of snow, starting late Friday and lasing through Saturday night.
- Winds are expected to reach between 25 to 35 mph, with gusts up to 60 mph.
Cities are already getting prepared:
- The DC metro is shutting down service at 11 pm EST Friday and will remain closed Saturday and Sunday.
- Airports in the Washington, D.C. and Baltimore area have canceled all flights Saturday, the AP reports, according to The Weather Channel. Flights are expected to resume at noon Sunday.
Here’s a NWS map of the snowfall forecast for the New York area — in inches — from least (grey) to most (blue):
The blizzard watch in New York has been upgraded to a blizzard warning, affecting all five burroughs, coastal parts of northeast New Jersey, and Long Island, from 4 am EST Saturday through 12 pm EST Sunday.
- The snow forecast for New York suggests about 7 to 12 inches in New York City, Long Island, and Southern NE New Jersey; 5 to 9 inches in Northern NE New Jersey and South West Chester; and 2 to 8 inches elsewhere in the area.
- High winds are expected, with sustained speeds of 20 to 35 mph, with gusts as high as 55 mph.
- Minor to moderate flooding is also expected during high tide Saturday morning and evening, and major flooding is also possible Saturday night.
Mayor Bill de Blasio has issued a hazardous travel warning, telling New Yorkers to travel carefully and take public transit if possible.
- All American flights from New York’s three airlines have canceled flights Saturday afternoon, the AP reports, according to The Weather Channel.
The same storm system is also bringing severe weather to the Gulf Coast from Texas to Florida. NASA’s Global Precipitation Measurement satellite captured this view of severe rainfall on Jan. 21:
Here’s an image of what the blizzard looks like from space, captured by NOAA satellites:
NOW WATCH: Briefing videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.