More snow ahead; state of emergency is declared in Washington DC, Maryland and Virginia.
A powerful winter storm produced heavy snow and strong winds across the Eastern Seaboard of the US on Friday, 5 February and Saturday, 6 February, prompting states of emergency in Washington DC, Maryland and Virginia.
RMS, the catastrophe modelling company, said the snowstorm caused at least two deaths, paralysed transport networks in the region, caused widespread power outages and resulted in moderate structural damage.
The National Weather Service reported over 60 cm (24 inches) of snowfall in Washington DC over the weekend, one of the heaviest snowfalls recorded in decades, RMS said. The weekend snowfall came less than two months after heavy snowfall on Saturday, 19 December 2009 which resulted in 40 cm (16 inches) of snow in the state. Such snowfall magnitudes are rare for this region.
The extremely high snowfall of February falls just short of the heaviest snowfall on record for the region of 71cm (28 inches) in January 1922. In Maryland, record snowfall of 91cm (36 inches) was recorded from the weekend storms. West Virginia, Delaware, Pennsylvania and New Jersey have also been badly affected by the snow storms with over 76 cm (30 inches) of snow recorded in parts of northern and western Virginia and accumulations varying from 15cm to 76 cm (6 inches to 30 inches) in Pennsylvania.
Transportation has been affected significantly in the region, most noticeably in Washington DC. All flights were cancelled from Reagan Airport (as were the majority of flights out of Dulles International in Virginia). The national rail service cancelled numerous trains between Washington DC and southern destinations, most noticeably the line to New York.
Strong winds associated with the storms have downed trees and power lines resulting in power supplies being cut to at least 300,000 homes in Washington and a further 300,000 in Maryland and Virginia. It has been reported that 250,000 homes in neighboring states of Pennsylvania and New Jersey were also affected by power outages. Pepco Electric Company reported on Sunday, February 7 that it was struggling to restore power, warning that it could be a few days before the power lines were back up. A common hazard associated with these levels of snow accumulation is the weight of the snow, that can result in structural problems such as collapsed roofs. This is a common occurrence in many historical snow storms and poses a risk to buildings affected by the recent events.
Two fatalities have been reported from traffic accidents and there are many reports of damage to cars, either from accidents or the weight of the snow accumulations. As of 09:00 UTC Monday, February 8, winter weather warnings remain the place for a large swath of this region. The National Weather Service is warning of potential for another major winter storm to affect Delaware from late Tuesday into Wednesday evening as an explosively developing weather system crosses the region, possibly bringing heavy snow to much of the area.