Brutal cold snap stuns US East Coast after blizzard

Friday, 12 Jan, 2018

"Stay away from the coasts", the National Weather Service in Boston tweeted. Waves from the sea washed into Boston streets.

Six deaths were reported in Wisconsin, four in Texas, three in North Carolina, two in Virginia and one each in Ohio, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, North Dakota, New York and SC. "We want to clear the streets".

The scientific jargon explaining a bombogenesis, or bomb cyclone, is long and complicated, involving terms such as "millibars" and "atmospheric pressure".

In Quincy, Massachusetts, one street turned into an icy river.

Almost 500 flights were canceled and more than 3,000 flights were delayed across the country, according to the local flight tracking website. New York's LaGuardia airport reopened later in the day, and JFK International was expected to follow suit. Domestic terminals had almost returned to normal operations, he said, but the FAA would work with airlines to limit the arrival of global flights until adequate gates were available. In Gloucester, north of Boston, an estimated 50 cars were destroyed in a school parking lot after a storm surge submerged the lot under a few feet of salt water. The forecast calls for a minimum of 6 inches of snow and winds as strong as 50 miles per hour, potentially hindering utility repairs should power lines go down.

Panicked New York City residents rushed to shops before the snow came, clearing shelves of milk, eggs, and kale, the New York Times reported.

"With this forecast in mind, all Virginians should take the necessary precautions now to ensure they are prepared for the travel disruptions, power outages and other threats to health and safety that could arise during this significant weather event", McAuliffe said.

High winds are making already frigid temperatures even more miserable across the Northeast and Midwest on Saturday. It was 8 degrees in Philadelphia and New York City, with wind chills ranging from minus 9 to minus 11. Boston will plunge to 7 degrees below zero - plus up to a foot of snow.

Millions were experiencing frigid wind chills this weekend, from the Great Lakes to New England.

"In this case, with a nor'easter, the cold air from Canada combined with the warmer ocean waters of the gulf stream is what will trigger this explosive strengthening pattern".

In Charleston, South Carolina, the airport reopened Saturday afternoon after being shut for three days.

What is a bomb cyclone?

The East Coast's first snowstorm of 2018 was energised by this rapid drop in barometric pressure.