Weather along the east coast has been the topic of discussion everywhere. Cities in Florida are trying to figure out what to do with the first snow in 30 years, and other parts of the coast brace for their share of the massive storm. Things got extremely serious in New York as the Governor declared an official weather emergency in the state. The enormous weather issue is being linked to Winter Storm Grayson.
Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the status updated at a press conference this afternoon. The weather emergency impacted New York City, Long Island and Westchester County in upstate.
Transportation in most of the state has been all but shut down due to the risk of blizzard-like conditions paired with wind. One of the first major airports in the area to close was Kennedy Airport. They grounded all flights and were quickly followed by the closure of La Guardia Airport. These are the two biggest airports that service New York City and the rest of the state.
Both airports were covered in near white-out conditions. New York City is bracing for a foot or more of snow. Travelers are advised to check with their carriers for updates about flights and when they are going to be able to regain local service. National flight tracking services estimate that at least 3,200 flight have already been canceled.
Airplanes are not the only form of transportation impacted by the severe winter weather. All above ground parts of the New York Subway system have been stopped, and services to Long Island ended at 4 pm local time today. Buses that usually carry workers to and from New York City will not operate this evening. Amtrak service has also been stopped for the evening.
Governor Andrew Cuomo is not the only state official making a statement about the storm. In Massachusetts, Governor Charlie Barker also declared an emergency as he warned about long-term power outages and the winds making it not safe for crews to use much of their equipment. In that area, power crews depend on the use of bucket trucks to fix power lines. The blizzard-like snow and high winds make this impossible.
The winds in Massachusetts are expected to reach 60 miles per hour, and the weight of both snow and ice are knocking down power lines. Many parts of the start are opening warming centers for residents without power, due to the threat of deadly freezing temperatures. While much of the state may already be out of power, things are only getting worse as temperatures go even lower.
Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy also echoed much of the same concerns. They have already opened over 100 warming centers in Connecticut. These centers are spread across 34 cities and towns all over the state. Many residents in the area are concerned with the efforts to clear roads and Malloy shared that 634 state-funded plows are working around the clock. The state also hired 250 contractors to beef up the efforts.
The risks of injury or death tied to this storm are extreme due to both the cold temperatures and the winds. At least 17 people have died due to the storm. Conditions are said to be getting worse, and officials fear more deaths are looming.
With winds reaching up to 60 miles per hour, this storm is being called a winter hurricane. The wind chill factor can quickly turn deadly for those out in the elements. This is one huge reason many areas open up warming shelters. They can accommodate the homeless, those impacted by power loss and even those working in the area. Residents are cautioned to seek assistance if they lose power.
The storm is bringing record-breaking lows to much of the east coast. Many are quick to point to global warming as being a factor, but this is merely not the case. Scientists explained that the record-breaking storm is tied to a “bomb cyclone” or a bombogenesis. This is when a “...system’s central pressure drops steeply – by 24 millibars or more – in 24 hours.”
The pressure inside the storm is the factor that turned a regular winter storm into the worst many will see in a lifetime. This is not a sign of a shift in the environment or some more significant global warming issue. It is a record-breaking storm and one we will be talking about for years to come.