It’s been one of the more heavy winters this year in terms of precipitation, and it doesn’t seem to be getting much more forgiving. Reaching areas of the United States that haven’t seen snowfall in decades, it has been a rather unusual time of year when it comes to storms. One of the cities that have been hit the hardest this season is New York City, which saw JFK Airport closing completely after a heavy snowstorm.
Known as the ‘bomb cyclone, this extreme downfall of snow engulfed the New York area, leaving John F. Kennedy Airport, along with La Guardia, temporarily closed. The heavy snow, ice, and harsh winds led to suspended flights, leaving travellers stranded at the airport. Not only were the airports closed down, but schools and government offices too, as the high winds and snow took over the New York skyline. Tens of thousands have been left without power, and thousands of flights have been cancelled as a result of the harsh conditions. As the storm intensified throughout the day, snow plows and salt trucks weren’t as lucky, as they had to battle the storm to ensure safe roads and better conditions ahead.
The storm has affected other areas as well, with blizzard warnings from North Carolina to Maine. The National Weather Service forecasted wind strengths of up to 70 miles per hour, which could easily knock out power and tree limbs. In the Boston area, upwards of 30 cm of snow was upon them.
This storm brewed as a result of a “rapid plunge in barometric pressure that some weather forecasters are referring to as bombogenesis or a “bomb cyclone”, which brings “fast, heavy snowfall and high winds.” The hazardous weather has left people home from work and school, and unfortunately even in great danger in some cases.
Already claiming the lives of 13 people since the storm began, it is definitely no ordinary weather. In North Carolina, there have been three fatalities due to traffic accidents, along with another three fatalities in Texas due to the cold itself. The severe conditions are certainly leaving people worried, having to plan ahead safely and accordingly for what may result.
Major airports have seen nearly every flight called off, leaving thousands of travellers stuck for the time being, and delaying their vacations and trips. Amtrak, a passenger train operator, ran on reduced service, while mass-transit services in major metropolitan areas were available to those who were brave enough to weather the storm and get to where they needed.
The one bright side of this storm, if any, was that it brought a break in extremely cold conditions that went on since Christmas. Part of Niagara Falls even became frozen, as well as several public works and areas that froze over. As many as 45,000 homes suffered power outages as a result. The storm surely took its toll on the United States, abruptly and uninvitedly. This type of storm ensues when the barometric pressure drops 24 millibars in 24 hours, leading to an accumulation of intense snow and wind, which clearly leaves travellers and citizens in uncomfortable circumstances, in this frigid and unkind time of year. It’s time for everyone to bundle up and travel safely, as citizens of major cities continue to experience the harsh effects of these unforgiving seasonal storms.
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