A superpower’s capital city that was brought to its knees with just an inch of snow midweek is gearing up for what meteorologists are predicting will be a epic winter storm that is expected to dump some 30 inches of snow in parts of the US northeast.
Washington DC is shutting down metro and bus services for the weekend, and airlines are cancelling some 4,000 flights from several east coast airports amid forecast of blizzards and wind gusts reaching up to 73kmph. All area schools are closed starting Friday, and so too, many universities and some government agencies.
Residents have been warned to avoid driving starting 1pm on Friday afternoon, when the snow is expected to start coming down, and be prepared for power outages, with adequate stocks of food, water, and other supplies.
The words snowmageddon and snowcalypse were being bandied around aplenty on Thursday as capital area residents, who go into a panic at even couple of inches of snow, stampeded into supermarkets and emptied out the shelves of bread, milk, eggs and other essentials. The storm is expected to affect more than 60 million people stretching from Tennessee to Massachusetts, with the Washington DC area worst hit.
The joke among hardened winter veterans is that such alarms are a conspiracy between weather channels and grocery chains to drive up viewership and empty out inventory of food and other essential commodities.
But met vets warned that this was no joke. The Weather Channel even gave a name (Jonas) to the winter storm in what New York Times twitted was “partstorm, part marketing ploy.” Not that it requires much to send Washington DC area residents into frenzy. On Wednesday, the capital area saw hours long gridlock after just an inch of snowfall turned roads into a skating rink.
More than 100 accidents. Traffic snarled for miles. A de facto shutdown of the capital of the free world. What could cause such a crippling catastrophe? A dusting of snow!” mocked the New York Post, calling the situation a “live-action metaphor for government itself.”
Even President Obama’s motorcade had to slip-slide its way from the Andrews Air Force base to the White House after he returned from a trip to Detroit. On Friday night, even the President of the US will be in a lockdown and won’t be going anywhere.