Drivers Beware: Winter Storm Jonas Brings Deadly Conditionsby Jana Ritter - Published: 1/22/2016
When they give a weather system its own name, you know it’s going to be a bad one and so far Winter Storm "Jonas” is living up to its name. Kicking off on Friday as a widespread mix of snow, freezing rain and sleet across the South East from Arkansas to Tennessee, Kentucky and North Carolina, Jonas has already killed 4 people, caused thousands of power outages and declared states of emergency across the region. Now, the blizzard is making its way up the US east coast and more than 50 million people are being warned of its potentially paralyzing effects. “This system has the potential of being an extremely dangerous storm that could affect over 50 million people,“ said National Weather Service, director Louis Uccellini. “We are talking about a potentially paralyzing storm that is already setting up.”
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The system has already proven to not only bring paralyzing conditions but downright deadly roads with two drivers killed in North Carolina, one in Tennessee and a pedestrian dead in Maryland. Already, states of emergency have been declared in Maryland, North Carolina, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Virginia and the District of Columbia, and widespread blizzard watches remain in effect from Arkansas through Tennessee and Kentucky and as far north as New York. Washington DC is expected to be hit with the heaviest snowfall (24ins) and the capital’s entire transportation system is going to be closed all weekend. Not to mention that flights are already being cancelled and road travel is already coming to a halt in the effected regions.
Truck driver Mike Edmonds has been holed up at a Kentucky truck stop all day Friday, unable to do anything but watch as the snow piles up around them. He says people are even having trouble getting out of the parking lot because the pavement is so slick that vehicles simply spin out trying to get back on Interstate 75. Edmonds adds that he’s not even going to bother trying to get back on the road until Saturday because even if you do manage to get out of the truck stop right now, people are just sitting in traffic because of all the accidents piling up in both directions. Edmunds says that so far he's spent his day, "Talking with the other drivers about how screwed up the weather is."
Weather Prediction Center meteorologist, Paul Kocin says that he hopes with the storm hitting over the weekend and people listening to the advance warnings, it will help reduce the number of deaths.