» News » Over 50 million Americans brace for 'Snowmageddon'

Over 50 million Americans brace for 'Snowmageddon'

January 27, 2015 10:18 IST

Image: Shayan Oman, a visitor from Perth, Australia, poses for photos during a snow storm in New York's Times Square. Photograph: Adrees Latif/Reuters

A state of emergency has been declared in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts and New Hampshire as over 50 million Americans from Philadelphia to Boston brace for a potentially historic winter storm that could leave up to three feet of snow in its wake.

The potentially historic storm which could affect 20 percent of the US population, forcing the cancellation of thousands of flights and closing of major mass transit hubs and schools.

Image: A Citi Bike is covered in snow in Times Square. Photograph: Alex Trautwig/Getty Images

The highest snowfall amounts are currently expected between just east of New York City and Boston.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo issued a travel ban for in 13 counties, including New York City and Long Island, beginning at 11 pm.

"This is a serious situation," Cuomo said. "If you violate this state order, it's a possible misdemeanor. It's fines up to $300."

Image: A Long Island Railroad train is seen parked at the Port Washington station in Port Washington, New York. Photograph: Shannon Stapleton/Reuters

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio told residents not to underestimate the storm.

"Prepare for something worse than we have seen before. Prepare to be safe. Take every precaution," he said. "Now is the time to get ready for this extreme weather."

Ahead of the winter storm, New York City residents raced to stock up on food essentials.

Image: Pedestrians walk along a Manhattan street in heavy snow in New York City. Photograph: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Meteorologists have warned there may be a combination of thunder and lightening combined with the snow -- so-called thundersnow -- had the potential to create a huge dump.

“This is not going to be a run-of-the-mill northeaster,” Alan Dunham, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service’s forecast office in Massachusetts, told the New York Times. “This storm has the potential to be a historic storm.”

Image: Mid-town Manhattan is pictured from the top of the United Nations building in New York. Photograph: Carlo Allegri/Reuters

Reports say that in New York City, the biggest storm since records began in 1869, took place in February 2006 when 26.9 inches fell. The upper estimates for the amount of snow Juno could produce suggest the record could be broken. New York could also see winds of up to 50 mph, creating drifts.

The blizzard knocked out entertainment events including Monday night Broadway performances and home games for the New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets and shut New York City's zoos, where snow leopards, puffins and polar bears frolicked in privacy.

Image: An airport worker de-ices an airplane at LaGuardia Airport New York. Photograph: Shannon Stapleton/Reuters

The United Nations headquarters gave itself a day off on Tuesday. East Coast schools, including New York City with the nation`s largest public school system serving 1 million students, and universities, including Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, cancelled classes for Tuesday.