State of Emergency Pennsylvania |

February 6, 2010 by USA Post 

state-of-emergency-pennsylvaniaState of Emergency Pennsylvania | — An “epic snowstorm” smacked the nation’s capital and mid-Atlantic states Friday, and a father and son were killed on a slick highway in southwestern Virginia when they stopped to help another motorist.

Virginia State Police said the weather-related accident happened early in the day on Interstate 81 in Wythe County. According to police, a car spun out of control in northbound lanes and came to rest in the left travel lane.

A van carrying the father and son stopped on the right shoulder so one of its passengers — a nurse — could help the injured occupants of the disabled vehicle. Minutes later a northbound tractor-trailer came upon the disabled car. While trying to avoid hitting it, the truck jackknifed and struck the van.

The father and son died at the scene, state police said.

“An epic snowstorm has the mid-Atlantic region in its crosshairs. At this time, personal safety must be first and foremost,” said a statement from Jane Lubchenco, administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

State police said they were “working numerous traffic crashes and responding to multiple disabled vehicles as the winter storm makes its way across the commonwealth.”

In Maryland, a van carrying a man and three children ran into the back of a private truck hired to help clear roads, according to Gov. Martin O’Malley, who called it a serious accident. The conditions of the victims were unknown.

Traffic piled up in many cities as motorists tried to get home before the worst of the weather hit. Residents hurried to buy shovels, flashlights and other emergency items.

Check on traffic and road conditions

Winter storm warnings were in effect from southern Indiana eastward to New York and south to North Carolina, with blizzard warnings for Washington, Delaware and the New Jersey coast.

Delaware Gov. Jack Markell declared a state of emergency Friday night and ordered all vehicles off the roads by 10 p.m.

By Friday afternoon, forecasters were predicting that the mountains of West Virginia and Maryland, west of the nation’s capital, would receive the most snow, possibly 3 feet.

“Tomorrow will be a day when everybody’s digging out,” O’Malley said. “And Sunday, for that matter, too.”

Are you snowed in? Share photos and videos

Accumulations of 20 to 30 inches are expected in the Washington area, with winds gusting to 35 mph, forecasters said. It could turn out to be one of the heaviest snowfalls Washington has seen, they said.

“This extremely dangerous storm is expected to produce record snowfall for the Baltimore and Washington, D.C., metropolitan areas,” the National Weather Service said.

Other snowfall predictions included more than a foot in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and 3 to 5 inches in New York.

Delta Air Lines began stopping flights Friday in and out of Washington, Philadelphia and Baltimore, Maryland, said Delta spokesman Anthony Black. There will be limited service to Philadelphia on Saturday, he said. The company hopes to get flights back in service by Sunday.

Check on flight delays

Southwest Airlines stopped flying into Washington, Baltimore and Philadelphia at 2 p.m. Friday, spokesman Brad Hawkins said. The storm could affect more flights Saturday and Sunday.

By Friday night, Washington’s Reagan National Airport had canceled all flight operations, according to Courtney Mickalonis, spokeswoman for the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority. Mickalonis said most domestic operations had also been stopped at Washington Dulles International Airport, although some international flights were continuing.

She said it likely will be Saturday afternoon before officials will be able to evaluate when they can reopen Reagan.

Flights canceled, highway crews mobilized

Amtrak canceled most Friday service from Washington southward, it said. All above-ground Metro service in Washington was expected to be suspended at 11 p.m.

In Washington, federal employees were given permission to leave work four hours early to avoid commuter problems during rush hour, said Raphael Cook, a public affairs officer for the U.S. State Department.

In Maryland, O’Malley issued an emergency declaration in anticipation of the storm. The move qualifies the state for federal assistance, including help from the National Guard and other resources.

O’Malley said he was told to expect 20 to 30 inches of snow, which will affect the highly populated Interstate 95 corridor the most.

“This is a great time to curl up with a book … and stay off the roads,” he said, adding that “buses and trains will operate as long as possible.”

The storm will make travel very hazardous or nearly impossible Friday night, the National Weather Service said.

Blizzard conditions were expected in Delaware and eastern New Jersey starting in the afternoon, forecasters said.

Washington Mayor Adrian Fenty put a snow emergency into effect at 9:30 a.m. Friday. It prevents people from parking on major thoroughfares so snowplows can get through.

“This will be our second major winter storm,” said Fenty spokeswoman Mafara Hobson. She was referring to a storm that hit a few weeks ago, but the worst snowstorm the capital has seen was in mid-December, when Washington’s Dulles International and Reagan National airports had snow amounts of 18 inches and 16 inches, respectively, the highest one-day totals for December.

Baltimore-area residents rushed for supplies late Thursday, CNN affiliate WUSA reported.

Shannon Whitehead of College Park, Maryland, said her hardware store had sold out of snow shovels.

“Snowfall totals of 12 to 18 inches are expected near the Delaware and central New Jersey coast,” the weather service said, “with up to 22 inches possible over southern New Jersey and the central Delmarva,” the Delaware-Maryland-Virginia peninsula.

Virginia snowman is taller than a house

The blizzard will make travel extremely dangerous in New Jersey, the agency said. Snow, strong wind and poor visibility are likely, leading to white-out conditions.

The storm is the result of a low pressure system moving up the Eastern Seaboard and through the East Atlantic. The system picked up moisture from the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean. As a result, the snow it is dropping is wet and compact, said CNN meteorologist Chad Myers.

“Branches and limbs will break,” Maryland Gov. O’Malley said, warning of downed power lines. “We will be dealing with power outages as we go into the night.”

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