Snowstorm Pummels US East Coast

A snowstorm is making its way up the east coast of the United States, disrupting holiday travel for millions of Americans.

A swathe of the east coast from Georgia to Vermont is hunkering down for the storm which forecasters say could dump as much as 50 centimetres of snow on places like Boston.

Mayor Thomas Menino is one of several leaders who have declared a “snow emergency”, asking residents to stay at home.

“It’s a serious situation this storm. If everyone cooperates with us, we’ll get through it,” he said.

Philadelphia is also on alert.

“We’re expecting at least 8 to 12 inches of snow and depending on the storm’s tracking, possibly even more,” Mayor Michael Nutter said.

“We’re also anticipating winds upwards of 35 miles an hour so it’s a very dangerous circumstance.”

Dozens of car crashes have been reported in southern states, which are experiencing their first white Christmas since 1882.

Rail networks across the region have also been disrupted.

Flights grounded

Meanwhile, blizzards are expected to hit New York and airlines have already grounded hundreds of flights.

New York Port Authority spokesman Steve Coleman says crews are working hard to clear the snow off airport runways.

“We’ve got about 200 pieces of snow equipment to try to keep the runways and taxiways clear,” he said.

“Obviously the winds are going to play a big factor in this whole thing and if the winds exceed 40-50 miles per hour, it’s going to be very tough.”

Mike Eckert, from the National Weather Service, says travelling along America’s east coast is going to be nearly impossible.

“Some wind gusts in excess of 50 miles per hour will be possible and cause extremely poor visibility, blizzard conditions,” he said.

“Travelling through the northern mid-Atlantic into the southern New England states is going to be difficult.”

Don Lindsay, from the American Automobile Association, says motorists should reconsider travelling through the storm.

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