From Jan. 22 to Jan. 24, a record-breaking blizzard named Winter Storm Jonas hit the Mid-Atlantic and the Northeast. At least 14 states were blanketed with more than a foot of snow, while those in Baltimore, New York City and parts of Washington, D.C. saw two feet or more. A few states received as much as three feet.
At Eastern, the Department of Security and Safety and Plant Operations worked hard to keep the campus safe in the midst of the blizzard. Jim Magee, Director of Safety and Security, said that security officers stayed overnight during the storm, “working 12-hour shifts to maintain coverage.” Thankfully, no one reported any accidents. According to Jeffrey Gromis, Executive Director of Facilities and Campus Services, many members of Plant Operations also stayed overnight in an effort “to keep up with the heavy snow” and clear the roads. Gromis said, “We had some maintenance repairs on equipment that had to be done during the storm due to the very hard, demanding, continuous use.”
Jonas brought the most snow ever seen to certain areas in Pennsylvania: Allentown received a record-breaking 31.9 in., while Harrisburg got 30.2. Philadelphia got a total of 22.4 in., making Jonas its fourth-heaviest snowstorm ever recorded. This is the amount of snow the city normally receives during an entire winter.
Baltimore also experienced its heaviest snowstorm ever, with a total snowfall of 29.2 in. New York City (at Central Park) got its second-heaviest snowstorm at 26.8 in., and Washington, D.C. saw its fourth-heaviest snowstorm at 17.8 in.
But Jonas hit some locations even harder than this. Morris Plains, N.J. received 33 in.; Redhouse, Md. got 38 in.; and Greencastle, Pa. saw 38.3 in. West Virginia received the most snow of all: 42 in. were reported in the community of Glengary.
These conditions prompted a state of emergency in Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Washington, D.C., Delaware and New York. Non-emergency vehicles were not allowed to be on the road in New York City and Baltimore until Sunday morning, when many public transit systems were able to resume their routes. On Monday many people were able to fly in and out of major east coast airports, though some were still faced with flight delays and cancellations; more than 200 flights were cancelled at Newark Liberty International Airport on Tuesday. Federal offices in Washington, D.C. were closed from noon on Friday through Tuesday, and many schools in the Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington, D.C. areas were closed on Monday and Tuesday. Members of EU’s Plant Operations also stayed overnight in Doane residence hall on Friday and Saturday in an effort to clear snow on Eastern’s campus, mostly with shovels because of broken equipment.
Approximately 250,000 people were without power at some point during the storm, and some places in Maryland and Pennsylvania reported collapsed roofs. At least 48 deaths have been reported so far. Causes of death range from car accidents and carbon monoxide poisoning to cardiac problems and hypothermia.
The Farmers’ Almanac predicts that in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states, this winter will likely be “a repeat of last winter, at least in terms of temperatures with unseasonably cold conditions . . . [and] a good amount of snow,” which may continue into March.
The possibility of enduring another “Snowmageddon” remains unknown, but Pennsylvanians should brace themselves for the rest of this cold, snowy winter.
Sources: ABCNews.go.com, FarmersAlmanac.com, weather.com