Harsh winter weather hits US, flights cancelled

2015-03-05 17:07
Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear has declared a state of emergency for the second time in less than a month. (David Stephenson, AP)

Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear has declared a state of emergency for the second time in less than a month. (David Stephenson, AP)

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Washington - A major winter storm slammed parts of the United States on Thursday, as thousands of flights were cancelled and government offices shut down in anticipation of more than half a foot of snow in the nation's capital.

Snow started to fall in some parts of Washington DC Thursday, where the Office of Personnel Management ordered government employees to stay home. Many schools were closed as well.

Washington was expecting up to 18cm of the white stuff, and forecasters warned of "severe winter weather conditions."

"Significant amounts of snow are forecast that will make travel dangerous. Only travel in an emergency. If you must travel, keep an extra torch, food, and water in your vehicle," the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration cautioned.

In New York and New Jersey, forecasters said wind chill temperatures could plummet to -12°C, with as much as seven inches of snow expected as well.

With heavy snow predicted, the NOAA warned of ice and low visibility on the roads.

"Expect travel to become increasingly difficult through the morning rush," it said.

Meanwhile, airports were bracing for travel chaos, as 2 670 flights were cancelled by Thursday morning and more cancellations and delays expected.

Other parts of the United States were not spared, and the National Weather Service said rain, sleet and snow expected in some areas from the Mexican border in Texas to southern New England.

The NWS said 65 million people were under a winter storm warning, and other another 29 million were under a winter weather advisory.

Freezing rain, sleet and snow was forecast in Texas, while snow had already started falling in parts of Kentucky, and New Mexico was bracing for "hazardous" conditions later Thursday.

Read more on:    noaa  |  us  |  weather

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