(P1) A BLIZZARD covered the eastern United States in near-record amounts of snow Saturday, shutting down New York and Washington in a huge storm expected to affect more than 85 million people.

(P2) More than 4,400 flights were cancelled as the storm brought airports in New York, Philadelphia, Washington and Baltimore to a HALT.

(P3) Fifteen people died in Arkansas, Kentucky, New York, North Carolina, Maryland and Virginia, while more than 200,000 people were left without power.

(P4) METEOROLOGISTS said the storm would last into Sunday with two feet (60 centimeters) expected in Washington and more than 20 inches falling in parts of New York, making it one of that city’s five biggest blizzards in history.

(P5) State Governor Andrew Cuomo closed all roads in the city.

(P6) “Safety is our number one PRIORITY,” Cuomo told reporters.

(P7) Broadway plays cancelled performances, museums and shops closed.

(P8) Strong winds are causing coastal flooding concerns for a large portion of the East Coast, the National Weather Forecast (NWS) warned, with streets in some New Jersey towns filled with water and ice.

(P9) Thousands of motorists were STRANDED for hours on highways in the south.

(P10) SNOW PLOWS struggled to clear New York streets, where parked cars were buried under the snow.

(P11) Washington saw around 20 inches of snow, with winds creating massive SNOW DRIFTS. Reagan National and Dulles International airports were expected to remain closed through Sunday.

(P12) “We know that it is very rough outside, and in some cases, there have been reports of WHITEOUT conditions for the past two hours. VISIBILITY is extremely poor,” Washington mayor Muriel Bowser told reporters.


(P13) One resident of Washington was having a great time, though – Tian Tian, a PANDA at the National Zoo. Footage of him playing outside quickly went viral.

WORDS: 292



If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.

  1. Briefly summarize the content of the article in your own words.
  2. Have you ever experienced a snowstorm?
  3. Have you ever experienced a long power OUTAGE (also known as a “blackout”)?
  4. What was the last severe weather event to happen in your city?
  5. Why do cute videos and photographs like the panda rolling in the snow “go viral”?
  6. Have you ever experienced whiteout conditions when you couldn’t see while you were driving (from snow, rain, FOG, dust, etc.)? Was it scary?


What do the following expressions mean? Practice using each expression in a sentence; extra points if you can use it in conversation.

  • Snow plow
  • Snow drift

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