WASHINGTON (MEDIA GENERAL) – Two feet of unfallen snow have millions of East Coasters anxiously bracing for a frozen weekend — and for good reason.
Meteorologists predict the downpour could easily top 2010’s Snowmageddom (17.8 inches) and 2009’s Snowpocalypse (16.4 inches).
The as yet unnamed winter storm is poised to break most every record in the history of Washington, D.C. snowfalls.
Snow-zilla, Snow Cap(itol), The Great Beltway Blizzard of 2016 – take your pick. (For the record, Weather Channel is calling it “Jonas.”)
Regardless of hashtag, this storm will wallop the city over the weekend, shattering records and bringing the nation’s capital to a crawl.
On Wednesday night, highways and side streets nearly shut down for hours thanks to a single inch of snow falling on under-treated roads.
Drivers reported more than 160 crashes, and even President Obama’s motorcade had a hard time traversing the slick streets.
That was ONE inch.
D.C. could see TWENTY-FOUR inches fall in just 48 hours this weekend.
That’s at the top end of the historic snowfalls the National Weather Service has recorded since 1884.
The city’s biggest blizzard struck in 1922, dumping 26 inches of snow over a two-day period. The second spot goes to an 1899 storm that dropped 19 inches.
Friday’s snow could set off a whiteout approaching, or surpassing, those levels, with most estimates putting the weekend storm at 18 to 24 inches in the D.C. metro area.
Other East Coast cities won’t avoid the effects, with New York City getting up to a foot, Philly facing up to 18 inches, and Baltimore hunkering down under 18 to 24 inches.
With power outages highly likely, tens of millions of residents up and down the East Coast are running out to buy water and non-perishable food before the flakes start falling Friday afternoon.
Bottom line: stay warm, stay safe, and stay inside.
Follow Chance Seales in the DC Bureau on Twitter: @ChanceSeales