Winter Storm Jonas on track to break US records

A couple poses for a photo on a snow pile during a snow storm in Times Square in the Manhattan borough of New York. (Reuters)
A couple poses for a photo on a snow pile during a snow storm in Times Square in the Manhattan borough of New York. (Reuters)

A deadly snow storm is battering the east coast of the US, paralysing major cities and threatening to smash long-standing snow fall records.

More than a dozen people have died as Winter Storm Jonas barrels up the American east coast, with effects from the record-breaking snow storm felt across at least 20 states.

Forecasts were revised upward earlier today, with predictions saying New York could see blankets of snow as thick as 76 centimetres. 

New York governor Andrew Cuomo said snow and wind have made conditions so dangerous; he’s issued a travel ban on all travel on New York City roads. All bridges and tunnels will also be closed.

Warnings from New York’s mayor Bill de Blasio have prompted Broadway theatres to cancel matinee and evening performances. Mr De Blasio says the storm could rank as one of the worst blizzards ever to hit the city of more than 8 million people, the country's largest.

The Big Apple isn't the only city being hammered by the storm.

Public transportation has been shut down in Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington, with the reports that hundreds of drivers have been left stranded on major city roads for hours at a time.

Overnight, Washington DC saw nearly 60 centimetres of snow, which has been a massive headache to clean-up crews but a total delight to Tian Tian, the giant panda at the city’s Smithsonian National Zoo.

A video clip of the panda rolling around in snow from their “historic” storm is likely in your Facebook feed. It’s already been seen by hundreds of thousands of people.

Glengary, West Virginia topped accumulations at the nation's capital, getting more than 100 centimetres by early afternoon, while parts of the most north-eastern state, Maine, have seen nearly that and are expected to get even more.

The storm has dumped snow on states as far south as Georgia, which saw at least 15 centimetres – and it isn’t done yet.

When it wraps up some time tomorrow, it's believed one in seven Americans will be have been affected by the storm.  More 8000 flights have been cancelled and the number of homes without power across the east coast has topped 200,000.

Before it's done, it's believed Winter Storm Jonas may smash snowfall records in Washington DC and New York City, which have stood for nearly 100 years.

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