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Summary

  1. New York City is closed for business due to snow
  2. Roads, tunnels and bridges shut in the biggest city in US
  3. More than 20 states are affected - some 85 million people
  4. Emergencies were declared in 11 states, and at least 11 people have died
  5. Parts of West Virginia are blanketed under 40in (102cm) of snow

Live Reporting

By Tim Swift, Tom Geoghegan and Vanessa Barford

All times stated are UK

Blizzard returns to Washington

And that's it from our live updates from the snowstorm in the US. Thanks for staying with us.

As we sign off, snow is falling again in the nation's capital, as you'll see from the 360 below tweeted by the BBC's Sarah Holmes.

View more on twitter

What we know so far

Residents clear snow from their car during a heavy snow fall in Arlington, Virginia
getty

Heavy snow and blizzard conditions are persisting across the East Coast, with 85 million people affected and up to 3ft (90 cm) of snow dumped in some places.

Here's what's happened so far:

  • At least 11 people have died, with emergencies declared in 11 states and 20 states affected.
  • All non-essential travel has been banned in New York, with transport suspended. Those driving non-essential vehicles risk being arrested.
  • In Washington all mass transit is to be closed until Monday.
  • Tens of thousands of people are without power across New Jersey, Virginia and North Carolina.
  • Motorists have been stranded for hours along pockets of the Pennsylvania Turnpike.
  • More than 5,500 flights to, from or within the US have been cancelled this weekend.

Cars completely covered by snow

BBC Radio 5 live has been asking people for their snowbound video stories.

Here's what they got - including a street in Washington where cars are completely buried.

The pause before the next blizzard

In some parts of DC, such as outside the US Capitol, the clear up was already under way earlier, before another blizzard struck.

A bulldozer clears snow in front the US Capitol, DC
Getty Images
A Capitol police car stuck in snow
AFP
The Capitol police needed assistance

Sledging on the Rocky Steps

Sledgers have taken to the Rocky Steps outside the Philadelphia Museum of Art in Pennsylvania. 

Philadelphia Art Museum steps are crowded with sledgers as snow continues to fall
Getty Images

Hitting the slopes

For some skiing and snowboarding enthusiasts, the huge snow dump has proved too tempting to stay indoors.

A man jumps on a snow board as snow falls in New York.
Getty Images
A man jumps on a snow board as snow falls in New York.
A couple go cross country skiing in Central Park.
Getty Images
A couple go cross country skiing in Central Park.
A woman carries a snowboard across DC.
Getty Images
A woman carries a snowboard in DC.

What makes a blizzard a blizzard?

Snow in Forest Hill, Maryland
Getty Images

The National Weather Service defines a blizzard as a storm which contains large amounts of snow or blowing snow, with winds in excess of 35 mph (16km/h) and visibility of less than 1/4 mile for an extended period of time (at least 3 hours). The word used to refer to a cannon shot or a volley of musket fire, according to AccuWeather, but started to be used to describe snowstorms in the 1870s.

Pictures from the snow storm

Hundreds of people are sharing their pictures of #snowmageddon2016 online.

Angus Broad
BBC
Two-year-old Angus Broad was nearly buried in Washington, standing 37 inches tall
Richard Glover sent this image from Morgantown, West Virginia
Richard Glover
Richard Glover sent this image from Morgantown, West Virginia
Students at University of Mary in North Dakota huddled together for a snow selfie
University of Mary / @UMary
Students at University of Mary in North Dakota huddled together for a snow selfie

Snowfall totals so far

Headstones are nearly covered by snow at Arlington National Cemetery
AP
Headstones are nearly covered by snow at Arlington National Cemetery
  • Martinsburg, West Virginia: 31.9in (79cm)
  • Clarksburg, Maryland: 27.2in
  • Alexandria Virginia: 17in
  • Washington: 16in
  • Baltimore, Maryland: 16in
  • Charlottesville, Virginia: 14in
  • Hoboken, New Jersey: 12in 
  • Brooklyn, New York: 8in

Source: National Weather Service as of 17:30 GMT 

The city that never sleeps...

...is getting mighty drowsy

Times Square
PA
All hands on deck in Times Square
Road sign in New York
Reuters
All roads, bridge and tunnels in the biggest US city are shut
The Lincoln Center in New York
European Photopress Agency
The Lincoln Center in New York is blanketed

Even the Secret Service get stuck

The storm isn't over in Washington

After a lull in the early afternoon in Washington, the blizzard roared back with high winds and heavy snow. Here, a reporter for Buzzfeed filmed the scene in Washington's Adams Morgan neighborhood. 

View more on twitter

What is thundersnow?

There have been reports of "thundersnow" in parts of the US. For those furrowing their brows in confusion, the meteorological phenomenon is basically the same as a thunderstorm, except that snow falls instead of rain. It occurs when the atmosphere is unstable and the layer of air closest to the ground is cold enough to create snow, but still warmer than the air above it. 

Read more here. 

Thundersnow seen & heard around our nation's capital. Follow live updates on #Snowzilla wapo.st/1SaNGbG

Thundersnow seen & heard around our nation's capital. Follow live updates on #Snowzilla wapo.st/1SaNGbG

Astronaut Scott Kelly witnesses 'rare thundersnow' from space nbcnews.to/1S1G4Ke

Astronaut Scott Kelly witnesses 'rare thundersnow' from space nbcnews.to/1S1G4Ke

Washington ghost town

The BBC's Laura Bicker, in Washington DC, reports on the storm sweeping the US.

Flooding, not snow, in southern New Jersey

A full moon, high tide and the massive winter storm hitting the US east coast combined to cause significant flooding in southern New Jersey's seaside towns. Waves of 22ft (7m) and a storm surge of two to three feet were reported on Saturday morning.

Flooding in Cape May, New Jersey
Getty Images
Flooding in Stone Harbor, New Jersey
Getty Images

Emergency vehicles not immue

Even a massive fire engine was no match for unploughed snow along 12th Street in northwest Washington on Saturday. At one point, the firemen used their axes as (ineffective) makeshift shovels. It took a few hours for the engine to get moving again.

Fire truck stranded on 12th Street in Northwest Washington
BBC

Flights cancelled across the East coast

Broadway cancelled

Broadway in New York
AFP

They say the show must go on... but not this weekend.

All matinee and evening Broadway shows on Saturday have been cancelled.

Charlotte St. Martin, the president of The Broadway League, said "normal operations to resume for tomorrow's Sunday matinees".  

Venturing outdoors

Despite warnings from the mayor of Washington to stay inside, some people are venturing outside to view the blizzard. Here, the normally bustling Massachusetts Avenue has become a pedestrian trail.

Massachusetts Avenue
BBC

Snow conditions: What we know so far

Secret service guard outside the White House
AP

Blizzard conditions are expected to persist throughout the day across the East coast.

In addition to snow and hurricane-force winds, the National Weather Service predicted up to half an inch of ice for the Carolinas and potentially serious coastal flooding for the mid-Atlantic region. 

Here's some of what's happened so far:

  • At least 10 deaths have been blamed on the weather, most of them in traffic accidents.
  • Motorists have also reported being stranded for hours along pockets of the Pennsylvania Turnpike. 
  • In Washington all mass transit is to be closed until Monday. 
  • Mayor Muriel Bowser implored residents and visitors to "find a safe place and stay there''. 
  • In New Jersey, 40,000 people were without power on Saturday morning, most of them along the coast. 
  • Eighteen to 24in of snow are predicted for Washington, Baltimore and Philadelphia; 24 to 30in for areas just north and west of Interstate 95 outside those two cities; and 15 to 20in for New York.
  • New York City has banned all non-emergency travel 

Stranded for 12 hours on Pennsylvania highway

View more on twitter

We have been stranded on the Pennsylvania Turnpike for more than 12 hours now. Our spirits are good and no one is panicking. The snow is up to our knees now when we leave the bus. We're on our way back to North Dakota from Washington DC. We've got a 20-hour journey ahead once we get moving again. The students - ranging in ages from 16-22 - have been keeping themselves busy by having snowball fights.

Monsignor James SheaPresident of University of Mary, North Dakota

BreakingNew York City bans road travel

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said that any civilians found driving on the city’s streets could be arrested

View more on twitter

Blizzard duty

Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia is closed, but the guards at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier are still on duty.   

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
US Army
Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
US Army

New York mayor issues warning to city

New York mayor: 'Keep a very close eye on your kids'

Snowmageddon: The view from space

Rare #thundersnow visible from @Space_Station in #blizzard2016! #Snowzilla #snowmaggedon2016 #YearInSpace

Rare #thundersnow visible from @Space_Station in #blizzard2016! #Snowzilla #snowmaggedon2016 #YearInSpace

Massive #snowstorm blanketing #EastCoast clearly visible from @Space_Station! Stay safe! #blizzard2016 #YearInSpace

Massive #snowstorm blanketing #EastCoast clearly visible from @Space_Station! Stay safe! #blizzard2016 #YearInSpace

Where has seen the heaviest snow so far?

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial is seen with a coating of snow, Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016 in Washington
AP

Some of the southernmost states have seen huge snowfall over the last day - but so has Maryland, where it started snowing only last night.

The highest levels are as follows:

  • 28in (71cm) - Terra Alta, West Virginia
  • 24in (61cm) - Philippi, West Virginia; Oakland, Maryland
  • 23in (58cm) - Ridgeley, Maryland; Champion and Marklesburg, Pennsylvania

You can see all the snow levels recorded so far here.

New York buses to shut down

An orderly shutdown of all local, limited and express bus service has begun. Please adjust your travel plans accordingly.

Watch: Views of the snow across the US

A look at the snowy scenes in several US states

Governor Chris Christie says 90,000 without power in New Jersey

New Jersey governor Chris Christie
Reuters

New Jersey governor Chris Christie is giving a news conference - he just confirmed that 90,000 people are without power across the state, a figure that may rise.

As for flooding, he said the high tide on Saturday morning had led to "minor street flooding" across the coast, although some parts of southern New Jersey suffered significant flooding.

Saturday night's high tide, and the one on Sunday morning, will be less harmful, he said.

Where the snow came down

The US National Weather Service's Weather Prediction Center has tweeted this map, showing where the heaviest snows have fallen.

48 hour snowfall map, capturing the Major Winter Storm/Blizzard impacting the Eastern U.S. #winterstorm

48 hour snowfall map, capturing the Major Winter Storm/Blizzard impacting the Eastern U.S. #winterstorm

Snow not only problem facing New Jersey

Water runs through a neighborhood on Winchester Avenue during a storm Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016, in Atlantic City, N.J
AP

Parts of New Jersey have already seen heavy flooding this weekend - while the snow poses some problems, there is also a full moon, so a higher tide. Add to that strong winds, and there are real fears for low-lying areas.

Governor Chris Christie is about to speak at a press conference - we'll bring you news from that when we get it.

NYC mayor: 'One of the worst storms in city's history'

Warnings don't come much clearer than this one, from the office of New York mayor Bill de Blasio:

This will very likely be one of the worst storms in City history. Go home. Stay home. Stay safe today. - @BilldeBlasio

Storm 'could be one of worst yet in NYC'

There are more warnings coming in from the city's mayor:

Mayor @BilldeBlasio: official storm estimate now 20-25"

Once we pass 20" of snow, this becomes top 5 storm since records kept. -@BilldeBlasio

Imperative that vehicles stay off the road. This is bad and getting worse rapidly. - @BilldeBlasio

New York mayor 'considering travel ban'

New York City has already seen a significant amount of snow, but mayor Bill de Blasio has just told a press conference more is to come.

We are considering a full travel ban. People need to get off the road, Mayor says. @NYCMayorsOffice @BilldeBlasio

In detail: Path of the storm

Map showing path of winter storm
BBC

Huge parts of the mid-Atlantic states are all white this Saturday. But there is more to come: north-east states such as New York, New Jersey and Connecticut could see much, much more of the white stuff over the coming hours.

Heavy snow: Good news for this panda

Some parts of Washington DC have seen 13in (33cm) of snow overnight - and there is more to come.

Here's one DC resident who is more than happy with the cold conditions.

Excited Tian Tian enjoys Washington blizzard