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Flights canceled as millions bracing for snowstorm in US

22 January 2016 13:37



The US East Coast braces for what forecasters call a potentially paralyzing blizzard that could be unprecedented in nearly a century.

The eastern United States was in a panic Thursday ahead of what forecasters called a “potentially paralyzing” blizzard, sparking flight cancelations and the looming shutdown of Washington’s public transportation system.

Forecasters say Washington and neighboring cities including Baltimore could see up to 61 centimeters of snow from Friday to Saturday.

With authorities warning the storm could bury Washington under more snow than it has seen in nearly a century, officials announced they would take the unusual step of closing down the city’s rail and bus system from Friday night until Monday morning.

Heavy snow is expected across at least 15 states, with icy rain and coastal flooding in other areas, according to the Weather Channel. The National Weather Service (NWS) issued a blizzard warning for Washington, and said New York could catch the tail end of the storm as the weekend progresses.

The NWS has warned that the blizzard could be a threat to life of over 50 million people. A state of emergency has already been declared in some states.

NWS director Louis Uccellini said the system had “the potential of being an extremely dangerous storm that could affect over 50 million people.”

“We are talking about a potentially paralyzing storm that is already setting up,” he told reporters.

Ahead of the first snowflakes, American Airlines said it was canceling hundreds of flights, including at Washington’s two airports on Saturday. All flights on that day will also be scrapped in Baltimore and Philadelphia, a spokeswoman said.

In 1922, a storm dumped over 70 centimeters of snow in Washington over three days and killed 100 people after a roof collapsed at a theater.

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