A major winter storm is expected to hit the U.S. East Coast on Thursday and could dump the season’s last significant load of snow on the region, according to the National Weather Service (NWS). Late on Wednesday, areas in the mid-Atlantic were also preparing for up to 10 inches of snow in the coming hours.
West Virginia, Kentucky and southeastern Ohio were expected to be the hardest hit by the latest snowstorm that could dump between 8 to 10 inches of snow, NWS forecaster Bruce Terry reportedly said. A state of emergency has been reportedly declared in the states of Alabama, Mississippi, West Virginia and New Jersey ahead of the storm. The federal government announced that its offices in Washington, D.C. would remain closed in anticipation of the storm, which is expected to bring between 4 and 8 inches of snowfall, according to Fox News.
The latest storm "might be winter's last hurrah,” Mike Halpert, deputy director of the NWS's Climate Prediction Center, said, according to reports. Heavy rain was expected to transition to snow in the early hours of Thursday, forcing the closure of several schools in the Mid-Atlantic, and officials warned drivers to stay off the roads unless necessary.
"Light to moderate rain will develop over parts of the Western Gulf Coast/Central Gulf Coast that will follow suit and move to the Southeast Coast by Thursday afternoon," the NWS said, in its latest update. "Light rain will linger over the Southeast Coast and Florida through Friday."
The NWS also predicted 6 to 10 inches of snow in central Maryland and 4 to 8 inches in the District of Columbia, northern Virginia and most of Delaware.
Hundreds of flights were cancelled Thursday across the nation, while the worst-hit airports included Dallas-Fort Worth in Texas, Philadelphia International Airport, Reagan National and Dulles in the Washington area, and LaGuardia and Newark in the New York City area.