A "life threatening" storm is going to hit the United States north-east coast on Monday, the National Weather Service warned. The "potentially historic blizzard", which is expected to hit New York City Monday afternoon, is could dump 3 feet of snow across the entire region. Heavy snowfall will be accompanied by strong wind gusts reaching up to 65mph and freezing rain.
Blizzard and storm warnings have been issued all across the region, from Maryland to all the way in Canada. According to conservative estimates, 58 million people will be affected by the unusually high levels of snowfall predicted.
The storm has disrupted flight schedules, with over 1800 and 1600 flights cancelled Monday and Tuesday respectively, according to a report by aviation data service company Flightaware.com. All major U.S. carriers are not charging any fee for rebooking cancelled flights.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has urged commuters to avoid travelling to work on Monday if they are able to work from home as he foresees major thoroughfares in the Big Apple and other cities in the state to close down in the evening, when the storm intensifies. Cuomo also warned that public transport may be closed if the storm is as big as meteorologists are expecting.
Meanwhile, public schools will remain open in the city Monday. All field trips and after-school activities, however, have been cancelled keeping in line with predictions that the storm will intensify later during the day. Public schools will be closed on Tuesday. This followed the School District of Philadelphia's decision to let students out at noon on Monday. Boston is to announce its school schedule for the week later in the day.
NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio has strongly urged people not to underestimate the storm. "I want everyone to understand that we are facing - most likely - one of the largest snowstorms in the history of this city," he said. The government is clearly taking the storm seriously, with the Governor keeping 1806 plows on backup along with 126,000 tons of salt to spray roads with across the state. New York City itself has 35,000 tons of salt and 700 vehicles to move snow off the roads.