Winter storm Jonas wreaks havoc

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Kristina Wyman's picture
Bradford Elias

How did Old Man Winter greet us this year? Many communities felt that bitter cold greeting through the eyes of Winter Storm Jonas. This major blizzard has left a short, but rather huge, impact on multiple states up and down the East Coast.

The storm buried multiple communities with more than two feet of snow from the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area to New York City Friday, January 22 into early Sunday, January 24, 2016, effecting millions of Americans.

Originating as a shortwave trough and making land in the Pacific Northwest region of the U.S. on Tuesday, January 19, the storm gained strength as it reached the Great Plains and combined with a low-pressure area over Central Texas. As the storm moved further north, Jonas rapidly strengthened and snowfall amounts became much higher than what forecasters had predicted.

At least 31 people have been confirmed dead and more than 14 states received more than a foot of snow or more from the storm.

Statistics compiled by the National Weather Service show that several areas received record-breaking snowfall amounts from the storm.

Allentown, Penn.: 31.9 inches

Baltimore-Washington International Airport: 29.2 inches

Harrisburg, Penn.: 30.2 inches

New York – LaGuardia Airport: 27.9 inches

New York – JFK International Airport: 30.5 inches

While many of us New Englanders escaped the brunt of a huge round of snow, blizzard conditions affected parts of Southeastern Massachusetts.

Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard reported such conditions for several hours. A few gusts were clocked at hurricane force off the coast of Rhode Island at 75 mph. Boston reached 6.1 inches of snow and trained spotters measured an estimated 2.8 inches here in Worcester.

The highest snowfall accumulations here in southern New England during the blizzard occurred in West Harwich, Mass., on Cape Cod, Westerly, Rhode Island with 15.5 inches and Norwalk, Conn. with 16.0 inches.

With this historic snowstorm now under our belts, the meltdown is ongoing. Forecasters have predicted rainfall to hit areas of the Northeast over the next few days. This, combined with snowmelt, could lead to minor to moderate river flooding, as well as some road closures.

As recovery efforts are ongoing, residents should be aware and prepared to execute further plans to keep themselves safe.

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