All non-essential travel has been banned in New York, transport suspended and bridges shut as the city is being hit by one of its worst snowstorms. Parts of the eastern US have received 40in (102cm) of snowfall in a huge blizzard that is sweeping across the region, affecting 85 million people. Travel restrictions in New York came into place at 14:30 (19:30 GMT).
Mayor Bill de Blasio said up to 28in of snow might fall, making it one of the five worst winter storms in the city. The city’s highest previous snowfall, 26.9in, was recorded in February 2006. Heavy snow began falling on Friday across more than 20 states.
The heaviest unofficial snowfalls recorded by mid-afternoon included:
- 40in (102cm) – Berkeley County, West Virginia
- 35.5in (90cm) – Morgan County, West Virginia
- 34in (86cm) – Washington County, Maryland
The weather system affects a huge swathe of the country: from Alabama in the south to Massachusetts in the north-east.
In the latest developments in New York:
- Governor Andrew Cuomo has declared a state of emergency across New York State
- Almost all flights into the city have been cancelled
- Tunnels into New York have also been closed
- Emergency vehicles and workers carrying out repairs are being allowed to use roads – but those driving non-essential vehicles risk being arrested
- Above-ground and subway train services were suspended from 16:00 local time (21:00 GMT)
“This is going to be one of those generational events, where your parents talk about how bad it was,” said Ryan Maue, a meteorologist with WeatherBell Analytics. (BBC, 2016)