Winter Storm Jonas is certainly makings its presence known throughout the country. Some 50 million people are set to be affected by the blizzard. As citizens finish up final preparations and settling hoping for the best, many state officials are following suit for the sake of their constituents. Many of the states declaring a state of emergency from Winter Storm Jonas have done so preemptively so that they can have resources mobilized and ready in the face of potentially dire weather conditions.
Areas of particular concern include Washington, D.C., which is expected to get up to two feet of snow from the blizzard in addition to winds of up to 40 miles an hour. Mayor Murial Bowser declared a state of emergency for the area on Thursday, stating that she expects the worst of the storm to last for 36 hours. Bowser said:
Today I am declaring a state of emergency for the District of Columbia, which allows us the ability to access federal resources when we need them. I am also declaring a snow emergency in the District of Columbia... We are coordinating with FEMA and the National Guard for any additional resources that we may need.
As of this writing, Washington D.C. has received between three and four and a half inches of snow. That number will continue to increase as Winter Storm Jonas passes through. More and more states are expected to feel its impact in addition to the list of states that have declared a state of emergency.
Gov. Matt Bevin declared a state of emergency on Friday, though the worst of the storm is expected to dissipate by 7 p.m. in Kentucky. Nearly 120 members of the Kentucky National Guard have also been activated. In a statement about the declaration, Bevin stated that it was a matter of safety to declare a state of emergency at this juncture. Bevin said:
By declaring a state emergency we are giving emergency management the options they need to proactively respond to local needs. I thank all of the officials working hard to keep people safe and commerce flowing.
Nestled closely to Washington, D.C. and facing a similar massive threat from Winter Storm Jonas, Gov. Terry McAuliffe declared a state of emergency for Virginia. Transit crews will be treating and plowing roads and have been placed under a 24 hour operation order. Up to 500 personnel members of the National Guard will potentially be helping depending on the severity of the storm.
Snow emergencies have been declared in counties throughout Pennsylvania and, on Thursday, a state of emergency was declared by Gov. Tom Wolf. Wolf further detailed the importance of having resources at the ready in a statement accompanying his declaration that highlighted the many ways that the state was working together to combat the effects of the storm. Wolf said:
The time-consuming bid and contract procedures, as well as other formalities normally prescribed by law, are waived for the duration of the proclamation. The State Emergency Operations Center, located at the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency headquarters outside Harrisburg, is staffed by personnel from multiple state agencies.
School closures and blizzard warnings abound in the state of Maryland, where a state of emergency has been declared by Gov. Larry Hogan on Thursday, which began on Friday morning. The primary warning that has been issued to residents is to simply stay off the roads.
Tennessee continues to be in a state of emergency after a declaration was issued by Gov. Bill Haslam on Thursday. The state is currently at a Level III, which means that their emergency plan has been activated that includes activating extra emergency personnel as well as potentially deploying the National Guard.
The entire state of Georgia has yet to be completely placed under a state of emergency, though Gov. Nathan Deal has continued to expand its reach and add specific counties that have been placed on a state of emergency list. Nearly two dozen counties are currently in a state of emergency and may very well double, according to early reports from Deal.
The state of Delaware has been placed under a state of emergency by Gov. Jack Markell in addition to having a Level 1 Driving Warning issued throughout the state. That driving warning is set to expire on Saturday at midnight. The National Guard as well local emergency personnel are preparing to assist with any drivers who may find themselves stranded or stuck due to the blizzard.
North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory declared a state of emergency, hopefully telling the media at a press conference that his "goal with this winter storm is to be over prepared and underwhelmed." 11 National Guard teams have been deployed throughout the state.