States across America are beginning the process of digging their way out of record-breaking snowfall this morning after Winter Storm Jonas battered the nation’s East Coast on Saturday, wreaking havoc on millions and turning major cities into ghost towns.
Almost all areas hit by the storm will get to enjoy above-freezing temperatures and sunlight today as the storm has headed out to sea, which should aid with clean-up in some states but in others lead to problems with flooding and ice once temperatures dip below freezing later in the evening.
Ten states declared emergencies during the storm, which resulted in the cancellation of over 12,000 flights canceled across the country while stranding motorists in states for more than 24 hours in Kentucky and Pennsylvania.
The death toll had reached 19 by early Sunday making it one of the most deadly snow storms in recent history, and that number grew to 21 by late morning as new reports began to come in and the clean-up process began on the East Coast.
New York City, which came to a standstill by Saturday afternoon because of the hurricane-like winds and massive snowfall, reopened all subway lines and bus routes early Sunday morning while allowing cars back on the roads after Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a ban on all non-emergency vehicles, though many streets in the nation’s most populated city still remained buried under two feet of snow.
It was the second biggest blizzard since 1869 for the Big Apple where 26.8inches of snow was reported in Central Park and a record snowfall in Baltimore where residents got 29 inches of the white stuff. Glengary, West Virginia, topped the charts for the East Coast blizzard with an astonishing 40 inches of snowfall.
In Washington DC, monuments that would typically be busy with tourists are opening again on Sunday after standing vacant Saturday while mass transit in the capital is hoping to reopen by early afternoon after a complete shutdown.
As for Jonas, the storm system is now heading across the Atlantic on 3,000 mile trip that is expected to make landfall later this week in the UK where it will once again showcase its violent storm force winds but couple that with heavy rain instead of snow.
Thirteen people were killed in weather-related car crashes in Arkansas, North Carolina, Kentucky, Ohio, Tennessee and Virginia. One person died in Maryland and three in New York City while shoveling snow. And two people died of hypothermia in Virginia.
The New York Police Department’s Chief of Department Jim O’Neill told reporters on Saturday one person on Staten Island and two people in Queens died.
Governor Andrew Cuomo then revealed there were two more deaths in the state during a press conference on Sunday saying that all five deaths were caused by heart attacks brought on by shoveling and snow removal.
Both Governor Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio urged residents of the city and state to be careful when shoveling and aware of their physical condition.
The Virginia Chief Medical Examiner has confirmed that the two deaths in that state are the result of hypothermia. Those deaths occurred in Hampton and Wise County, in southwest Virginia.
State police did not release the names of the hypothermia victims or the time or circumstances of their deaths.
A 37-year-old man also died during the storm in Brooklyn though not as the result of a weather-related incident but rather because he shot himself in the head while playing Russian roulette with friends.
Also losing his life was Jefferson Heavner, 26, a Good Samaritan who pulled over to help a man after his car spun out of control in North Carolina on Saturday.
Heavner and other individuals on the scene believed that the driver appeared to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol and when they decided to call authorities so they could deal with the situation the man opened fire on the crowd, shooting Heavner dead.
Marvin Jacob Lee, 27, has since been charged with first-degree murder and will appear in court on Monday.
Jonas was also responsible for shutting down much of the air and land travel on the East Coast by Saturday afternoon, and even though the storm has moved on some airports, roads and public transportation systems have remained closed as they are still dealing with clean-up from the snow.
Almost all airports continue to operate with major delays in cancellations across the country due to the closures of East Coast airports at the height of the blizzard and in the wake of the record-setting snowfall as crews worked to clear runways and make them operational once again.
United Airlines said limited service might begin by late afternoon Sunday in New York City, but both major airports in the Washington DC area will remained closed for the day. Airlines have also started to cut Monday service cancelling approximately 6,000 flights in addition to the 8,000 already-canceled weekend flights.
Many travelers seemed to have avoided taking any trips on the East Coast in anticipation of the storm it seems as major cities seemed to be empty of tourists.
The usually bustling New York City looked more like a ghost town as Broadway shows went dark and left thin crowds shuffling through a different kind of Great White Way. And in a blow to the already hobbled residents of New York and the Garden State, Bruce Springsteen canceled his Sunday show at Madison Square Garden.
Jonas’ massive winds and near-record snowfall could not stop the cast and crew of Saturday Night Live however, who were joined by host Ronda Rousey, musical guest Selena Gomez and Emmy-winning Sarah Palin-impersonator Tina Fey for their live broadcast which kicked off just as the snow stopped falling in the Big Apple.
Two cast members, Aidy Bryant and Pete Davidson, even shared videos of the inclement weather which were posted to the show’s Instagram page.
Davidson’s video captured perfectly what the storm was like for many as he filmed himself going in to work, and could be seen having difficulty opening his eyes and even walking straight as the high winds caused the snow to blow sideways and directly into his face.
Mayor Bill de Blasio applauded New York City’s sanitation workers for getting neighborhoods clean and clear of snow and ice in remarkable time during a press conference Sunday morning before dealing a devastating blow to children across the city when he announced that schools will be open on Monday.
The kids of Washington DC got much better news when Mayor Muriel Bowser delivered her post-storm press conference on Sunday and said that schools would be closed on Monday.
She also issued a call to action for residents and businesses to help the city as they are in ‘dog our mode’ and needed all the help they could get in the wake of this winter disaster.
Read more: Daily Mail