A winter storm on Saturday whipped up record-setting tides higher than during Superstorm Sandy, causing major flooding in New Jersey and Delaware after dumping nearly two feet (60 cm) of snow on the suburbs of Washington, D.C.
The heaviest snow engulfed New York on Saturday and was not expected to stop until Sunday, when up to 30 inches may have piled up in the nation’s largest city, said New York Mayor Bill de Blasio.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has announced a travel ban in New York City as a massive snowstorm hits the region with up to two feet of snow.
Cuomo says all non-emergency vehicles should be off the roads after 2:30 pm Saturday.
De Blasio says the police will enforce the ban. People should heed the warnings and “immediately go home.”
He urged Broadway theaters to cancel performances and restaurants to close.
Cuomo says Metro-North, the Long Island Rail Road and above-ground parts of the subway system will shut down at 4 p.m.
MTA buses stopped running at noon.
New Jersey Transit, earlier on Saturday, suspended all bus, rail and light rail service. Earlier the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, which includes the country’s second-busiest subway system, took the rare step of suspending operations through Sunday.
Nearly 4,300 U.S. flights were canceled, including virtually all travel into New York City airports, according to the FlightAware.com tracking website and transportation officials.
“Our message, and we need the public to listen, is to stay home and to stay off the streets. That includes people who are attempting to drive, but it also includes people who are walking,” said Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser.
However, some residents said they just couldn’t resist seeing famous monuments frosted with snow.
“We haven’t made snow angels yet, but we’re looking forward to doing that in front of the White House,” said Robert Bella Hernandez, 38. “We’re just going to walk around, see some snow covered D.C. landmarks. And then when it’s unsafe, maybe go back in for a minute.”
High winds battered the region, reaching 70 miles per hour in Wallops Island, Virginia, late on Friday, and whipping up the tides, said meteorologist Greg Gallina of the National Weather Service.
Tides higher than those caused by Superstorm Sandy caused major flooding along the Jersey Shore and Delaware coast and set records in Cape May, New Jersey, and Lewes, Delaware, said NWS meteorologist Patrick O’Hara.
A high tide of 8.98 feet was recorded at 7:51 a.m. Saturday at Cape May – slightly higher than the record of 8.9 feet previously set by Sandy on Oct. 29, 2012. A high tide of 9.27 feet was recorded at Lewes, higher than the 9.2 high tide recorded in March 1962.
“All the factors that affect the tides, it’s all happening at once,” O’Hara said.
Even so, there were no reports of evacuations along the New Jersey Shore, where thousands of residents had to abandon their homes during the devastating 2012 super storm.
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