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Snowstorm pounds US East Coast

January 30, 2022

A powerful winter storm with hurricane-force wind gusts has blanketed several parts of the eastern United States with heavy snow.

A person shoveling snow from a driveway
Several states were hit by the blizzard along the US east coastImage: Peter Pereira/The Standard-Times/AP/picture alliance

A fierce winter storm clobbered much of the eastern United States on Saturday and into the early hours Sunday, dropping more than two feet (60 centimeters) of snow on some regions while packing powerful winds.

Thousands of flights were canceled and access to roads was curtailed as the blizzard flooded coastlines, prompted transportation chaos and caused power outages in the region that houses nearly 70 million people.

The storm battered parts of 10 states and blanketed a large part of New England with snow. Blizzard warnings on the eastern seaboard spanned from Virginia to Maine. 

Major cities like Philadelphia and New York saw plenty of wind and snow but Boston was likely to face the brunt of the blizzard with forecasts that it could see up to 25 inches (64 cm) of snow.

A person cross country skis through New York's Times Square during a snow storm.
While New York City saw substantial snowfall, more was forecast further north in BostonImage: Mary Altaffer/AP Photo/picture alliance

"This is going to be a historic blizzard," Boston City Councilor Ruthzee Louijeune told news agency Reuters. "It's the power of the wind and the amount of snow that makes this one particularly dangerous."
The National Weather Service (NWS) said the blizzard —  the strongest winter storm in years —  had intensified into a "bomb cyclone," marked by the explosive power of rapid drops in atmospheric pressure.

Freezing temperatures, flooding and 'falling iguanas'

The storm left a bitter cold in its wake, Authorities in Long Island said a woman had been found dead in her car by a snowplow operator.

Cold conditions stretched as far as Florida, where the NWS warned of "scattered to isolated falling iguanas from trees" as dipping temperatures temporarily paralyzed the large lizards.

Winter sports under threat in Colorado

Coastal regions throughout Massachusetts were affected especially hard, including some as the center of the storm hovered just east of the Cape Cod area by Saturday afternoon. By Sunday, more than 100,000 in the state were without power.

Footage on social media showed wind and waves hammering North Weymouth, south of Boston, flooding the streets. 

Emergencies were declared in several states due to the storm which formed in the Atlantic Ocean off the Carolinas.

"Blizzard conditions are expected to remain possible into early Sunday morning from eastern Massachusetts to eastern Maine, with wind gusts potentially leading to scattered power outages," the National Weather Service said.

dvv/sms (AFP, AP, Reuters)