Saturday, January 23, 2016

85 million people are in the path of massive winter storm

(CNN)Up to 85 million people are in the path of a worsening winter storm that's hit much of the East Coast of the United States.

Snow is coming down, but when the storm goes into the Atlantic on Saturday morning, it will supercharge, CNN Meteorologist Chad Myers said. 

"The fuse was just lit," Myers said. Once it gets to the jet stream, "that's when the firecracker goes off."

Here are the latest developments as of 2:50 a.m. ET:
-- Two people died Friday night in traffic accidents linked to inclement weather in North Carolina, said spokeswoman Olivia James of the State Emergency Response Team.
-- Mass transit services in Washington and Baltimore have been suspended for the weekend.
-- Some Amtrak service to and from the East Coast has either been canceled or truncated.
-- Philadelphia has issued a code blue for overnight Friday into Saturday. This means anyone who spots homeless people out in the cold should call the police, who will take them to a shelter.
-- 10 states have all declared states of emergency due to the storm as of Friday. They are: Georgia, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Kentucky, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Virginia and West Virginia. Washington has declared a "snow emergency."

By the numbers:

  • Eight people dead nationwide
  • Six fatalities were North Carolina, one in Virginia and one in Kentucky
  • 132,739 customers without power across the Southeast as of Friday, with 125,000 in the Carolinas, according to Duke Energy.
  • 8,835 flights canceled from Friday through Sunday.
  • 989 traffic crashes and 793 disabled vehicles responded to by Virginia State Police as of late Friday night
  • 18-40 inches. That's how much snow some areas areas could receive, according to meteorologists.
  • 55 mph wind gusts possible in Norfolk, Virginia.

It's just coming down

Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser spared no words in a warning to residents about the oncoming storm.

"It has life and death implications, and (people) should treat it that way," she said. "People should hunker down, shelter in place and stay off the roads."

A snow plow driver in Fairfax, Virginia, told CNN that the storm is "starting to get worse. It's pretty thick. This is an all new experience for us."

"Past winters was much easier, much easier," he said.