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March 14th could see much of the east of the country buried under snow in the largest blizzard to hit the area in 129 years according to the National Weather service as storm Stella hits the country.
Over a foot of snow is expected to hit the affected areas and blizzard warnings have been put in place in various locations in New York and New Jersey. The unseasonable weather is expected to be felt from Canada in the north as far down as Virginia and also cover New York, New Jersey Eastern Pennsylvania, parts of Massachusetts and Maine.
The blizzard follows an unusually warm winter in many locations in the United States and has seen over 5000 flights canceled by airlines clearly expecting unfavorable flying conditions. Local news reports in the New York, Canada and New Jersey have advised avoiding traveling at all unless necessary with whiteouts likely and driving becoming potentially dangerous in some areas.
The blizzard is of particular economic concern to the affected areas due to the potential impact on crop growth. Due to the warmer than usual winter in the United States, Spring has started early with many plants beginning to flower weeks earlier than they usually would have. The blizzard and sub-zero temperatures expected in the coming days will likely kill off many of these plants, leading to loss of crop yield later in the year.
The economic loss won’t be limited to crops, however, with the loss of tourism, flights, and transportation, not to mention the operation of ordinary businesses stopped for periods during the blizzard, the cost to the economy will run into the billions.
Schools and public services have been closed already in many locations, and over 15 inches of snow are expected in no less than nine different states.
This late winter resurgence is in stark contrast to January and February which saw record warm temperatures in many local areas and saw Chicago, Illinois free from snow for the first time in recorded history.
Whether this blizzard is as records suggest a one-off or a sign of things to come with weather patterns for the region perhaps altering in the future will remain to be seen.
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