Millions of Americans took shelter Sunday (01.16.2022) from a major storm that battered the east of the country with snow, ice and strong winds, causing power outages, road disruptions and flight suspensions.
The National Weather Service (NWS) said the storm combined heavy snow, freezing rain and strong winds and affected the southeast coast and mid-Atlantic before heading into New England and southern Canada.
In areas along the Appalachian Mountains, snow may fall up to 2.5 cm per hour on Monday while cold conditions can persist into Tuesday, according to the NWS.
US media reported that more than 80 million people are subject to climate alerts.
As of midday Sunday, about 235,000 customers had lost power in the Southeast, including more than 150,000 in the Carolinas, according to the PowerOutage.US website, although some appeared to be back online at night.
The storm caused devastating tornadoes in Florida and inundated parts of the coast. In the Carolinas and Appalachians, icy conditions and strong storms have raised concerns.
Transportation was severely affected. Thousands of flights have been canceled and a section of the busy I-95 highway in North Carolina has been closed.
According to the FlightAware website, about 3,000 flights to, from or from the US were canceled late Sunday, and another 4,200 were delayed.
Drivers have been warned of the dangerous road conditions.
Georgia Governor Brian Kemp declared a state of emergency on Friday and snow plows have been working since mid-afternoon to clear roads.
Virginia and North Carolina also declared states of emergency.
North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper said on Twitter that up to 30 cm of snow had fallen in some areas as of noon on Sunday and “the large ice is causing problems in the central part of the state.”
He urged the governor to make every effort to avoid displacement.
Also in North Carolina, the storm caused a college dormitory to collapse, according to local ABC radio, but there were no casualties.
The NWS reported flashes were reported in Pensacola, Florida, while Atlanta, Georgia, which is usually temperate, also saw snow.
Some coastal flooding is expected and the NWS warned that winds on the Atlantic coast could approach hurricane strength.
Snow already hit the northeastern United States earlier this month. A storm there left hundreds of motorists stranded for more than 24 hours on a highway connecting Washington.
mg (afp, The Washington Post)