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Blizzard blankets US East Coast

Blizzard blankets US East Coast
New York officials told people to stay home and wait the storm out. (Reuters)

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The United States East Coast is being battered by the first major blizzard to hit the region in four years.

Five states declared an emergency hours before heavy snow and hurricane-force winds blasted the area.

Experts warned of “historic” snowfall in some places and flood warnings have been issued near the coast. Nearly 6,000 US flights have been cancelled.

Forecasters say cold temperatures will remain a problem on Sunday throughout much of the north-east.

The storm, known as a Nor’easter, hit parts of New York and Massachusetts with 2ft (61cm) of snow by early Saturday evening, with more than 95,000 homes in Massachusetts reported without power.

Cape Cod in Massachusetts was one of the worst hit regions, with 100% of customers in the town of Provincetown losing power on Saturday.

Local meteorologist Matthew Cappucci told the BBC the sheer volume of snow was a problem, with 8-10cm of snow falling an hour at one point.

“No road crew in the world could handle this, and that means all the roadways are essentially shut down.”

The National Weather Service (NWS) confirmed on Saturday that the storm had undergone bombogenesis, meaning that colder air mixed with warmer sea air, leading to a swift drop in atmospheric pressure. The process leads to a so-called bomb cyclone.

The NWS in Boston warned that people should only travel in an emergency.

“If you must travel, have a winter survival kit with you. If you get stranded, stay with your vehicle.”

The powerful storm began to hit the country’s coast in the early hours of Saturday morning, with inches of snowfall already blanketing a number of states.

A blizzard warning has been issued throughout the north-east, the first time such an alert has been issued since 2018.

Some 75 million people are in the path of the storm. The governors of New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Rhode Island and Virginia declared states of emergency, telling residents to stay off the roads for their own safety. (BBC)

New York officials told people to stay home and wait the storm out. (Reuters)