East Coast blizzard: 9 dead as New Jersey gov. declares state of emergency

On Jan. 20 at 2:30 p.m. EST the VIIRS instrument aboard NASA-NOAA's Suomi NPP captured this image of the winter storm moving through the central U.S. © NASA Goddard Rapid Response
New Jersey’s governor declared a state of emergency over a large blizzard threatening to dump up to two feet of snow on the state and flood the coast, but said there was no need for evacuations. So far, nine people have died in the deadly snowstorm.

The fatalities have occurred in accidents as Storm Jonas pounded the eastern part of the US, the Associated Press reported. All the deaths occurred because of vehicle accidents in Kentucky, North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.

Along the mid-Atlantic coast, flooding and strong winds are expected, which could lead to more damage and power outages.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said there were concerns over beach erosion as he declared a state of emergency Friday night. The governor's declaration means people should stay off the roads so they do not interfere with law enforcement and emergency responders.

"If you don't have to drive, don't," Christie said, reported the New Jersey State-Ledger.

"The overall message is: We'll get through the storm, we always do," Christie added. "That's how we do it in New Jersey."

Storm monitors on social media were busy posting the first snowflakes and postcard-like landscapes, but forecasters warned there is more on the way. Washington, DC is expected to get snowdrifts more than 4 feet high, and two or more feet is expected in Baltimore and Philadelphia. About 7,600 flights were canceled Friday and Saturday, as well as sporting events and band concerts.

The AP reported that one in seven Americans could get at least half a foot of snow by Sunday.

Thousands of track workers, power company employees, road crew members, firefighters, police and others are mobilized to help out over the weekend.

“For our region, this is good timing,” Jeffrey Knueppel, general manager of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority, told AP. “Saturday is a day to stay home and Sunday will give us a chance to really clean things up.” 

The slow-moving storm was captured in four hour increments in Washington, DC:

NASA also released images from space:

For the moment, the response to the blizzard is lighthearted. 

People are dancing in it:

Others are sledding on Capitol Hill:

And still other, non-human individuals are planning to sit it out: 

Additionally, people are proposing solutions for how to occupy the time while housebound or cut off from supplies:

In Manhattan, they had stripped the food shelves:

Even if supplies did run out, some are warning people not to eat the snow. In urban areas, it soaks up toxic pollutants from the air, like benzene.