An extremely forceful weather front is predicted to pour over a foot of snow on portions of the northeast corner of the United States.
Close to 100 million residents of the Northeast and Midwest were preparing for a major blizzard that many meteorologists describe as “brutal”.
Even worse are the bitterly cold temperatures that could follow the snowstorm.
Close to 18 inches is expected to fall on New England leading to the possibility of the cancellation of 1,800 flights.
By Friday night, the temperature is expected to drop down to the teens in New York City and below zero in Boston and Maine.
Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick called the whole situation “dangerous.” Patrick ordered all state employees home at 3 p.m. today and asked residents to stay inside as much as possible. He also warned them of the dangers of hypothermia and frostbite.
Another icy weather front was expected to hit the Midwest by Sunday night. The area affected would stretch all the way to Tennessee and Kentucky. In addition, Chicago will struggle with temperatures below zero. The Green Bay Packers are expected to host a game on Sunday with temperatures as low as 18 degrees below zero. Even the suburbs of northern Atlanta could hit single digit temperatures by Monday evening.
Although this weather will affect mostly the northeastern United States, one medical expert warned reporters that it is not the coldest places that may encounter the most danger of hypothermia. He said it turns up more often in areas in the south simply because of lack of preparation for such conditions or knowledge of what to do when they occur.
Road hazard warnings have also been issued. Even though it is not supposed to be a record-breaking snowfall, roads could be even more dangerous simply because the chemical agents often used to melt snow and ice lose any effectiveness once the temperature drops below twenty degrees.
The winter weather advisories were put out in 22 different states to include Chicago, New England and the tri-state area of New York. This area includes a population of more than 90 million people.
Boston was the first area to receive snow just after 1 a.m. on Thursday and one meteorologist says the weather will be long in duration and will include high winds as well which, when combined with the snow, will cause a decrease in visibility.
National Weather Service officials warned of a blizzard in the Long Island area of New York beginning early Thursday and expected to fall at a rate of one inch per hour with winds at approximately 45 miles per hour. Similar conditions were issued for the coastal area of Massachusetts.
Governor Patrick said that weather predictions were indicating heavy fronts that could hit some areas of his state with snow accumulations of nearly two feet. Most of his state, he said, was actually supposed to get hit with close to 10 inches of snow.
Newly inaugurated Mayor Bill DeBlasio of New York City said his administration was working to keep its outdoor subway service moving and had crews working on the icy conditions on the tracks. However, bus services in that area may have to be suspended if the ice causes the roads to become insurmountable.
The whole northeastern area of the United States will be affected before the weekend is over.
By Rick Hope