WASHINGTON - The biggest snowstorm in the history of the U.S. will wallop the entire country on Groundhog’s Day. President Obama has declared a national emergency.
The National Weather Service predicts a monster winter storm will hit most of the United States this Wednesday – dropping mountains of snow, sleet and freezing rain on the Rockies, Plains, Midwest and the Northeast. Two hundred million people will be affected.
“The United States has never seen a winter storm as strong as this. The storm is twice as strong as Hurricane Katrina, but will affect a larger area of the country,” said Joe Bastardi the chief forecaster for AccuWeather. “This storm will do more damage in one day than all the hurricanes of the last ten years, put together.”
Low pressure will develop in north-central Texas and tap into a huge resource of moisture from the Gulf of Mexico. As the storm pushes into the Midwest, moisture will be captured and transported northward into the Front Range of the Rockies, Plains and Midwest where it will meet up with a huge blast of fresh arctic air mass.
“If you look at the charts, it’s frightening,” says Bastardi. “We recommend as many people as possible drive south – head to Florida, Texas, Mexico and South America – if you can make it.”
“I’m not going to Mexico. Drug cartels are killing people left and right,” said Dennis Loudon of Kew Gardens, Queens. “I’d rather be killed by a gun than by a flying icicle,” said Maria Gonzalez of Detroit.
A massive wall of snow will set up from western Texas and eastern Colorado eastward across the central Plains and into the Ohio Valley. Some areas could experience a snowfall of more than 64 inches.
The snow will be accompanied by hurricane winds which could produce avalanche conditions in places that have never seen an avalanche.
“We are predicting 2-3 avalanches each in Boston, Buffalo and Detroit,” said avalanche expert, Teresa Windham of M.I.T. “There may even be an avalanche in downtown Manhattan – and at least five in Central Park.”
The South may be sparred from the snow, but a torrential downpour with hurricane winds – accompanied by tornadoes, typhoons and tsunamis – will hit Florida, Alabama, Louisiana and Texas very hard.
Millions of people are stockpiling food, water and condoms – which the government is encouraging. “You may have to survive for one-to-two weeks before anybody can dig you out,” said outgoing White House Press Secretary, Robert Gibbs. “We all have to stick together and help each other.”
Meanwhile, President Obama is taking the First Lady and his daughters to Hawaii for the next two weeks. “He has to work on his golf game,” said Gibbs.