Three cars on an Amtrak train carrying more than 300 passengers from Miami to NY derailed Wednesday night in snow-covered Savannah, Georgia.
"With this forecast in mind, all Virginians should take the necessary precautions now to ensure they are prepared for the travel disruptions, power outages and other threats to health and safety that could arise during this significant weather event", McAuliffe said.
Major cities along the East Coast - from North Carolina to ME - were under blizzard warnings, while others were placed under winter storm warnings. "The worst is between now and 2 p.m.in NY, and now and 5 p.m.in Boston". Flights were suspended at both of the city's major airports, while nearby Newark, in New Jersey, was facing delays.
NY governor Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency and urged people not to drive.
Flooding was causing some of the biggest issues in MA, where icy water was surging through coastal streets, including in Boston.
Before the storm pushed north, cities in the Southeast that rarely see snow became winter wonderlands. And the heaviest snowfall is expected for eastern New England and eastern Long Island. The rare weather phenomenon results in the unusual combination of thunder and lightning during a snowstorm.
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That mass of freezing Arctic air met a cyclone of warmer, moist air from the Atlantic Ocean, setting the stage for massive snowfall and blistering winds.
"The only impact it has on Florida is that it kept the cold air over Florida longer than it would have otherwise". This covers everything in a layer of ice and is highly unsafe. Buffalo schools are set to close on Friday amid the cold temperatures, officials said.
In addition to the snow, coastal areas are at risk for flooding, the weather service said.
More than 35,000 customers were without power in Georgia, North Carolina and Virginia early on Thursday, utilities reported online.
The Miami Herald says it has been three years since people in South Florida experienced cold like this.
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Snow will end for much of the Northeast by the evening on January 4, 2018.
The "Bomb Cyclone" whipped the East Coast Thursday, with winds of up to 60 mph and snow falling at the rate of two inches per hour. LaGuardia and John F. Kennedy airports are now closed due to the weather.
Blizzard warnings and states of emergency were in effect, schools and government offices closed for the day, thousands of flights were cancelled and motorists were warned to be careful as conditions worsened.
The storm is expected to pass by Thursday night but will be followed by record-shattering cold weather.
In New York and Philadelphia, temperatures are expected to dip to 3 degrees this weekend.
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