East Coast braces for nor'easter

By Aditi Sangal, Adrienne Vogt, Leinz Vales, Meg Wagner and Melissa Macaya, CNN

Updated 8:24 PM ET, Fri January 28, 2022
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3:17 p.m. ET, January 28, 2022

New York declares state of emergency ahead of "one of the most significant storms" in years

From CNN's Kristina Sgueglia

(New York Governor's office)
(New York Governor's office)

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul announced a state of emergency beginning 8 p.m. ET as a nor'easter plans to wallop the northeast. 

Long Island will be among the hardest hit with 10 to 16 inches of snow, with up to a potential 1 to 2 inches of snow an hour, the governor said. 

Joining the governor was Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone. 

“We are preparing for a blizzard, this is likely to be one of the most significant storms we have seen over the last several years here," he said.

Meanwhile, New York City and the Hudson Valley regions have lower predictions, but ultimately there will be “heavy snow gusty winds and difficult road conditions,” Hochul said. 

Janno Lieber, head of New York City's Metropolitan Transportation Authority, detailed storm preparations for transit systems saying it was “likely to have a shutdown tonight" on the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR).

The LIRR was expected to take the biggest hit, and authorities were prepared to suspend service likely in the morning. 

There will also be suspensions on some Metro North train service lines servicing Connecticut. 

And Hochul's advice to drivers? “Just stay off the roads," she warned.

2:02 p.m. ET, January 28, 2022

Connecticut is expecting up to 2 feet of snow in some areas, governor says

From CNN's Mirna Alsharif 

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont said the state is ready for this weekend's "wicked snowstorm."

"I'd like to think that we're as ready as we can be," he said at a press conference on Friday afternoon. "Hope for the best and prepare for the worst."

The state will deploy more than 600 snow plows to help clear the snow, Lamont said.

"It's going to be heavy in places, one to two feet," said Lamont. "A lot of this is going to be wetter snow, especially along the coastline, especially in southeast and southwest Connecticut."

The state has 100,000 tons of salt to treat the roads and 600 Eversource crews ready to help with any power issues, Lamont said.

Connecticut Department of Transportation Commissioner Joseph Giulietti said that staffing at the department is down by 30%, and they're bringing in contractors to assist with clearing the snow. Only a dozen employees are out due to Covid-19, he added.

1:11 p.m. ET, January 28, 2022

New Jersey governor declares state of emergency ahead of winter storm and urges people to stay home

From CNN’s Paradise Afshar

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy declared a state of emergency Friday ahead of a winter storm that’s expected to hit the garden state.

“We are certainly hoping for the best, but we are without question, preparing for the worst,” Murphy said.

The state of emergency goes into effect at 5 p.m. ET Friday. In addition, all state offices will close at 3 p.m. ET.

Parts of the Jersey shore are expected to get up 18 inches of snow, along with winds of up to 50 mph, according to Murphy.

“Our advice to everyone is to be prepared to hunker down once you get home this afternoon and stay home,” Murphy said. “Stay home tonight and stay home tomorrow. Whatever you may need to get through a snow day, get it on your way home today so you do not have to venue out.”

Murphy is also asking residents to report power outages and downed power lines.

12:49 p.m. ET, January 28, 2022

Rhode Island emergency crews assembling more than 400 plows as state prepares for impending snowstorm

From CNN’s Hannah Sarisohn

Rhode Island’s governor assured the state is well-equipped to handle the 12 to 18 inches of snow forecast to fall beginning tonight.

At a news conference this morning, Gov. Daniel McKee said the state Department of Transportation has 75,000 pounds of salt that will be used to preemptively treat roads tonight.

McKee said a blizzard warning is in effect as of this morning.

The state has 150 plows of its own, in addition to 350 plows contracted through vendors, according to Transportation Department Director Peter Alviti, Jr.

Alviti said the department is staffed at 96%.

The official cautioned that conditions tomorrow are going to get “very intense very quickly.”

McKee said state-run Covid-19 vaccination and testing sites will close tomorrow. 

The governor said he will provide another update at 4:15 p.m ET this afternoon from the Emergency Management Agency headquarters.


12:48 p.m. ET, January 28, 2022

Boston declares "snow emergency" ahead of weekend storm

From CNN's Mirna Alsharif

A "snow emergency" in Boston will start at 9 p.m. ET tonight ahead of this weekend's "historic" storm, Mayor Michelle Wu announced earlier today.

"This has a potential to be a historic storm, a huge one," Wu said at a news conference. 

Snowfall is expected to peak Saturday morning and diminish by Sunday, Wu said. There's also a risk of flooding, she added.

"We are expecting as much as 18 to 24 inches of snow and 40 to 50 mile per hour winds. This is likely to be an intense, dangerous storm, with heavy snow, high winds and whiteout conditions," she said.

Wu encouraged residents to stay off the roads unless absolutely necessary. She also urged residents to use space heaters safely.

More than 38,000 tons of salt is prepped to treat roads, and more than 800 pieces of snow management equipment will be available, said Jascha Franklin-Hodge, chief of streets for the city's transportation and sanitation department.

Franklin-Hodge also emphasized that the storm "has the potential to be one for the record book," and added that residents should not expect things to get back to normal once the snow stops.

"I want to encourage everyone to stay warm, stay safe," Wu said. "We will be watching carefully."

12:42 p.m. ET, January 28, 2022

Blizzard warnings now cover more than 10 million people

From CNN's Dave Hennen

Blizzard warnings ahead of a massive storm include more than 10 million people across 10 states.

The warnings cover coastal counties from Virginia to New England and include Boston, Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, Portland, Islip, Atlantic City and Ocean City.

Travel will become difficult to impossible tonight through tomorrow in the warning areas as the storm intensifies and brings wind gusts to hurricane-force and heavy snow.

Visibilities will drop to near zero at times, bringing complete white-out conditions.

12:44 p.m. ET, January 28, 2022

What to pack in your car to stay safe

From CNN's Christina Maxouris and Kristen Rogers

If you're ever stranded in your car due to a bad winter storm, being prepared can be the difference between survival and serious harm or death.

Winter storms, bad weather and sloppy road conditions can be frightening and dangerous for travelers, and "are a factor in nearly half a million crashes and more than 2,000 road deaths every winter," according to AAA.

Regardless of whether a severe storm is coming, here are some tips to stay safe on the road:

  • While in a winter storm, you should try to minimize traveling as much as you can to avoid getting stranded on the road. Make sure that if you do have to go out, you have a full tank of gas, said Joann Sands, a clinical assistant professor in the School of Nursing at the University of Buffalo, who trains students in disaster and emergency preparedness.
  • It's also a good idea to have an emergency kit inside each one of your family's vehicles in case you get stranded.
  • Have important documents readily available in case of an evacuation, including home or renter's insurance, social security cards, birth certificates and passports, Sands said.
  • Create a family communications plan on how you'll be able to get in touch if you are separated during the storm.
  • Do not bring portable generators, camp stoves and grills inside your home. Keep them at least 20 feet away from your windows, doors and vents to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Watch for signs of frostbite and hypothermia. Here is what those could look like.
  • Plan to check on your elderly or disabled neighbors and friends.

12:16 p.m. ET, January 28, 2022

Here are the items you should have in stock before a winter storm

From CNN's Christina Maxouris

A powerful winter storm is threatening parts of the eastern United States with crippling freezing rain, sleet and snow, as experts urge residents to be prepared.

Make sure you've done the basics: Learn how to keep your pipes from freezing (for example, you can open cabinets in places like under sinks to let heat in or let faucets drip), test smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors, have extra batteries for radios and flashlights, charge electronics and consider specific needs of everyone in your household, like medication.

And ensure you have all the grocery supplies you need.

Here's what you should make sure to stock up on in your home.

High-protein and non-perishable foods: Those include foods like energy bars and protein and fruit bars that don't need to be refrigerated or frozen, said Joann Sands, a clinical assistant professor in the School of Nursing at the University of Buffalo, who trains students in disaster and emergency preparedness. It's important that you don't panic-buy to try and fill your fridge, Sands said.

Canned goods: Remember that the power may be out as the storm whips through your region, so have with you ready-to-eat canned meats, fruits, vegetables and canned juices as well as a manual can opener, according to Ready.gov. If a can is swollen, dented or corroded, do not eat from it.

Water: Store at least three days' worth of water supply for each person in your household and for each pet, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends. The Federal Emergency Management Agency recommends storing at least one gallon of water for each person in your household for each day. If it's store-bought water, make sure you check the expiration date.

Think of babies — and pets: When preparing, don't forget about babies and pets in the house. Make sure you have enough supply of baby formula, as well as anything else an infant may need, like diapers, said Sands. Be sure to also have several days' worth of supplies for pets, like medications and non-perishable foods.

Have an emergency kit: A disaster kit should include: non-perishable foods and a three-day supply of water, a battery-powered radio and flashlight, extra batteries, a first-aid kit with a manual, sanitation items, matches in a waterproof container, a whistle to signal for help if you need to, clothing, blankets and sleeping bags, identification cards, credit cards and cash, paper and pencil, items to cover baby and pet needs and any special items like medications, contact lenses, glasses, hearing aids and activities for younger children. Because of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, you should also include things like face masks.

If the power goes out: Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as you can, to avoid letting the cool air out. If unopened, your fridge will be able to keep food cold for about four hours, according to Ready.gov. Throw out any perishable food — like meat, poultry, eggs or leftovers — that's been left in temperatures over 40 degrees Fahrenheit for more than two hours.

Read more tips here.

12:13 p.m. ET, January 28, 2022

Why New York City's forecast remains uncertain

From CNN's Aya Elamroussi

New York City could get between 8 and 12 inches of snow, with wind gusts over 50 mph, according to CNN meteorologists. The National Weather Service early Friday said there is a 10% chance the bomb cyclone may dump more than 17 inches of snow there — but also gives a 10% chance of zero snow.

A European forecast model shows New York City on the edge of the snow-or-no-snow divide but still predicts a heaping pile of snow. The American model shows nearly nothing for the city. A third model indicates a foot or more of snow.

And direction is playing a vital role in this storm's projection, too, CNN meteorologist Chad Myers pointed out.

"It's like a bowling ball going right down the middle or slightly off-center. You can get a 7-10 split or a strike with only an inch difference," Myers said. "I think the models will come together as we get closer to the event."