Washington: Travel ban was imposed in New York City and Long Island on Saturday, including all transit from New Jersey bridges and tunnels into and out of the city after a deadly blizzard left several cities, roadways and airports along the East Coast largely crippled.
The blizzard affected over 60 million people as the effects of the storm stretched from Georgia to Massachusetts, according to Weather.com. It is learned that over 80 million people are in the path of the strong storm.
The Weather Channel said around 250,000 people were left powerless as the storm roared up the East Coast. The storm was given blizzard status late Saturday in Washington, D.C., the National Weather Service said.
At least 18 people died in storm-related incidents in Tennessee, Kentucky, Maryland, North Carolina and Virginia. One man died in Fort Washington, Md., due to heart attack while shoveling snow.
States of emergency were declared in eleven states from Georgia to New York. Air traffic were affected badly across much of East Coast, with more than 10,000 flights canceled nationwide by Saturday afternoon. All flights were halted Saturday at four of the nation's busiest airports: Philadelphia, Washington Dulles, Washington Reagan National and Baltimore/Washington International.
Authorities also shut down public transportation in Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington, D.C.. Residents were asked to remain inside their homes for a second day on Saturday.
"This event has all the makings of a multibillion-dollar economic cost," said meteorologist Steven Bowen of Aon Benfield, a London-based global reinsurance firm. After adding up damage to homes, vehicles, businesses and more, "we're potentially looking at one of the costlier winter storm events in recent memory," he said.
The National Weather Service predicted 24-30 inches of snow for New York City, putting the metropolitan area within range of the city's biggest snowstorm on record, 26.9 inches received in 2006. The order came into effect on Saturday afternoon and it shut down state highways and two major routes on Long Island.
Under the ban, only emergency vehicles will be allowed on the streets, and anyone caught violating the order could face heavy fines and license points, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that the travel ban, which was initially scheduled to expire at midnight, had been extended until Sunday morning.