Winter Storm Jonas Is No Joke

by Seth Millstein

Almost half of the United States is now getting pummeled by Winter Storm Jonas, with storm and blizzard warnings issued in 19 states and multiple states of emergency declared across the country. The latest updates on Winter Storm Jonas suggest that it may well break records, and if you’re in one of the affected areas, it’s time to hunker down — according to experts, things are only going to get worse over the weekend.

The storm began in the south earlier in the week. Officials in Tennessee declared a state of emergency on Thursday evening as a preparatory measure, and it’s a good thing they did: The state had 8.5 inches of snow and a snowfall rate of 1 inch per hour the next day, and a rare phenomenon known as “thundersnow,” which is exactly what it sounds like, was observed in parts of the state on Friday. By Friday afternoon, parts of Kentucky and North Carolina had over a foot of snow, and a half-foot of snow or more was measured in South Carolina, Arkansas, Virginia, and West Virginia.

Now, Jonas is wreaking havoc in the Northeast. Washington, D.C. has been hit particularly hard: A massive 30 inches of snow is expected by Sunday, which would be an all-time record for the city. Furthermore, the region is now under a blizzard warning, a state of emergency, and a coastal flood watch all at the same time. Icy roads in the nation’s capital caused severe traffic jams and numerous accidents on Thursday night, and even President Obama’s motorcade got snarled in the mess, proving once again that Obama is no match for Washington, D.C. gridlock.

It's not just D.C., either. New York and New Jersey both had a foot of snow on Friday, as did certain areas in Delaware, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Maryland. States of emergency are in effect in those latter three states, and in North Carolina, the accumulation of what the Weather Channel calls “damaging ice” is threatening to down power lines.

The ramifications of the storm are far-reaching on the local level. Public transit has been suspended in Washington, D.C., flights have been delayed or canceled across the East Coast, schools are closed throughout Tennessee, and officials in many states, including New York, are advising residents to stay indoors as much as possible. Stay safe, folks. In the meantime, feel free to pass the time by watching GIFs of the Winter Storm Jonas from space.