An absolutely vast snowstorm has continued to sweep across the Northeastern United States, causing devastating damage to property and sparking travel chaos.
Much of the city of Boston is under 15ft of icy water, as first responders attempt to deal with a huge surge in emergency calls. Yesterday, some 5,000 flights in and out of the US today were canceled due to Winter Storm Grayson, which experts have labeled a “bomb cyclone.”
The National Weather Service has predicted ‘life-threatening’ cold overnight Friday and Saturday for much of the Northeast, as temperatures in New York plummet to around minus 20 degrees. Some 65,000 homes and businesses are still without power.
— Boston Herald (@bostonherald) January 4, 2018
“When it’s this cold, the salt doesn’t have as much effect,” NYC Mayor de Blasio said at a press conference Thursday, as reported by The Daily Mail.
“Despite the great work of Sanitation, it’s going to be a while before you’re going to see the blacktop in some parts of the city.”
“This is chilly, chilly stuff,” said Brian Hurley, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service’s Weather Prediction Center
Here we go… Winter Storm #Grayson has begun to rapidly intensify as it pushes up the eastern seaboard. Just a massive eye… nearly all of Long Island NY could fit inside of it! pic.twitter.com/RUK8wuNuCr
— Michael Ventrice (@MJVentrice) January 4, 2018
“The spray, the wave action, that’s gonna push saltwater up onto the electronics and up through the undercarriage of that vehicle,” said The Weather Channel’s Jim Cantore as he stood in Rockport, Ma. with surges of ice water all around him.
“The calling card up here on the north shore is the storm surge. The water is basically merging the two bays. Look at this, this is at least a two foot storm surge. This is not where the water’s supposed to be, that’s the bottom line.”
“The town of Rockport will survive, I promise you that.”
“It’s up over the roof of cars. It’s up over four feet,” Deputy Fire Chief Louis Cipullo said of the floodwaters in the area.
Impressive video of storm surge from the massive winter #storm moving up the east coast poured in the town of Scituate, #Massachusetts @StormHour @SnowHour @StormchaserUKEU @meteonetwork @wwwmeteoit @classcnbc
— Class Meteo (@classmeteo) January 5, 2018
So far, the storm has claimed the lives of six people. Three people were killed in North Carolina after their vehicles veered off ice-covered roads, according to authorities.
A fourth person died in South Carolina, whilst two others were killed in Virginia. One was a 75-year-old man who was struck by a snow plow while clearing snow from a business parking lot in Hampton. The final person killed was a young girl who was run over while sledding down her street.
Massachusetts Gov Charlie Baker said the flooding has resulted from a “historic high tide” and that the National Guard high-water rescue has now been deployed.
Wind gusts are up to 76mph in some places, with widespread blizzard warnings in place – Rhode Island has battened down the hatches as snow continued to fall as fast as three inches per hour.
One Boston resident even shared a Snapchat video of a man paddling through their icy street in a kayak.
“Cai has fled the scene via kyak,” they captioned the video.
Boston Mayor Marty Walsh issued a stern warning to residents, urging them to stay off the roads at all costs. “There continue to be too many cars on Boston’s roadways. If you’re not a plow or emergency vehicle, get off the roads. Crews are doing there best to clear the snow but there are still too many cars on the roads,” the mayor said in a tweet.
Whilst the snow is set to die down a little over the next few days, an extremely cold wind will blow through the Northeast, causing sheet ice on the roads and treacherous travel conditions.
Forecaster Michael Palmer, of The Weather Channel, said: “Behind the departing Winter Storm Grayson, a surge of brutally cold arctic air rushes into the eastern US through the weekend.
“The core of the cold advances into the northeast on Friday and Saturday with highs 20-30C below average. Numerous record lows and record low highs expected with this Arctic air mass with some of the coldest temperatures ever-recorded expected for Boston and New York City.
Wind chill readings will drop 25-40C below zero for the Midwest and Northeast. Warmer, more seasonable temperatures are expected for many into early next week.”
Huge numbers of schools and businesses have been forced to close down across several different states as the storm continues to cripple infrastructure.
Baltimore city took the decision to close their schools on Thursday following outrage from staff and former NFL star-turned-teacher, Aaron Maybin. Children were photographed in their classroom, huddling together in their winter coats to keep warm.
It's really ridiculous the kind of environment we place our children into and expect them to get an education. I got two classes in one room, kids are freezing, Lights are off. No computers. We're doing our best but our kids don't deserve this.
— Aaron Maybin (@AaronMMaybin) January 3, 2018
Maybin even uploaded a video to twitter discussing the problem with his students:
— Aaron Maybin (@AaronMMaybin) January 3, 2018
The tweet garnered huge attention, prompting an outpouring of donations to fund the installation of heaters in the classrooms.
Update: yesterday we raised 8,000$ of our $20,000 goal to get space heaters and winter coats for the kids in the affected schools. Thank you to everyone that has donated so far. Let's keep this going. School is closed today so I will be collecting items myself. pic.twitter.com/ryRbiJXuyt
— Aaron Maybin (@AaronMMaybin) January 4, 2018
The most disruptive element of the storm is likely to be the thousands of canceled flights. You can keep track of the major by visiting Flight Aware’s “Misery Map” here.
Stay safe out there!