Tionna De Freitas, Staff writer
The massive winter storm that rocked the northeastern and mid-Atlantic U.S. last weekend, killing almost 60 people and leaving $2 billion in damages, has been rated the fourth most severe snowstorm to hit in the past 60 years, according to the Associated Press.
Storm Jonas affected over 80 million Americans and eleven states declared a state of emergency after the first blizzard of 2016 made its impact. Snowfall ranged anywhere from 28 inches in New York to 42 inches in West Virginia, cancelling nearly 11,000 flights and shutting down schools throughout the East coast.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo forced a ban on all travel on New York City roads, except for emergency vehicles, from Saturday afternoon until 7 a.m. on Sunday, when bridges and tunnels were cleared for safe travel.
Sophomore Isaiah Washington was in Storm Jonas and said the experience was like no other.
“It took me and my friends 25 minutes to back out of the driveway,” he said. “We were not prepared for this mentally or physically and I don’t think I’ve ever experienced anything like this. It was truly shocking.”
The blizzard was the second largest snowstorm on record in New York City’s history, bringing 26.8 inches to Central Park. The Bronx saw up to 27.6 inches of snow, while Brooklyn had 29, and Staten Island took the top spot with being buried in 31.3 inches.
“I totally underestimated this storm,” Washington said. “I’m from the city and we never get as much snow as other places, so I wasn’t expecting much, but that obviously wasn’t the case.”
New York City natives aren’t used to seeing multiple feet of snow all at once and the city itself isn’t built, or prepared to take on blizzards as tough as Jonas. Utica College student Juwan Wilson spent his Saturday digging his car from the snow.
“I drive a 2013 Nissan Altima and it was not built for the snow,” he said. “My friend and I were stuck six times and once on I-90. We had to push my car just so it could have enough momentum to go forward.”
In addition to snowfall, thousands of people had to go without power due to strong winds and thick ice accumulation, which brought down electric lines. According to the Associated Press, more than 150,000 homes and businesses were without power in North Carolina, and about 90,000 people went without power for some time in New Jersey. Storm Jonas also brought extreme flooding to parts of New Jersey, making residents argue it was the worse than Hurricane Sandy, which ripped through the East Coast in 2012.
Junior Elliott Coleman, who spoke with family from New York City, said this storm is definitely one for the books.
“You couldn’t see anything on the road,” he said. “The snow was so high it completely buried all cars on the streets. I’m worried that once it melts, we will have another problem.”
The blizzard of 2016 looks to be behind us now, but Saturday’s Storm Jonas certainly was no joke. Most of the East Coast remains fairly calm as it struggles to shake off the piled high snow mantles and resume normal activity after being slammed with snowfall.