Will Winter Storm Jonas rank among the biggest East Coast snowstorms in living memory?

Winter Storm Jonas Interstate Travel Forecast


An East Coast snowstorm, Winter Storm Jonas, is expected to produce prolific amounts of snow in parts of the East, rivaling infamous snowstorms of the recent past.

READ MORE: Latest Forecast | 5 Things to Know

While the critical forecast details remain, Winter Storm Jonas has the potential to produce over a foot of snow for tens of millions of residents of the East Friday through Sunday. Some locations may see much more than that.

Snowfall Potential Through Sunday

The heaviest forecast total snowfall is in the darker purple and pink contours.

"The mechanisms coming together for a major snowfall are textbook," wrote NOAA Weather Prediction Center forecaster and Northeast snowstorm expert, Paul Kocin, in a NOAA forecast discussion Tuesday.

Let's explore how this storm may resemble or contrast with infamous snowstorms of the recent past. Then we'll list the top 5 snowstorms of record for several Eastern cities.

See severe winter weather from around the globe:

Severe winter weather across the globe
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Will Winter Storm Jonas rank among the biggest East Coast snowstorms in living memory?
Spectators attend the ladies 12,5 kilometer mass start competition at the Biathlon World Cup during heavy snow fall on January 16, 2016 in Ruhpolding, southern Germany. Czech Gabriela Soukalova won the competition, German Franziska Hildebrand placed second and German Laura Dahlmeier placed third. / AFP / Christof STACHE (Photo credit should read CHRISTOF STACHE/AFP/Getty Images)
Snow covers the landscape near Braunschweig, central Germany, on January 18, 2016. / AFP / dpa / Julian Stratenschulte / Germany OUT (Photo credit should read JULIAN STRATENSCHULTE/AFP/Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - A man walks at the Poklonnaya Gora War Memorial Park after heavy snowfall in Moscow on January 13, 2016. AFP PHOTO / DMITRY SEREBRYAKOV / AFP / DMITRY SEREBRYAKOV (Photo credit should read DMITRY SEREBRYAKOV/AFP/Getty Images)
HAKKARI, TURKEY - JANUARY 1: A man clears snow off his parked car in Hakkari, Turkey on January 1, 2016. Snow has covered parts of Hakkari overnight, causing major road closures as wild weather continues across the city. (Photo by Gokhan Gucukluoglu/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
HAKKARI, TURKEY - JANUARY 1: A man pulls his vehicle during the snowfall in Hakkari, Turkey on January 1, 2016. Snow has covered parts of Hakkari overnight, causing major road closures as wild weather continues across the city. (Photo by Gokhan Gucukluoglu/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
A Kurdish boy protects himself against the cold as heavy snow fall hits the city of Sirnak, southeastern Turkey, on January 1, 2016. Tensions are running high throughout Turkey's restive southeast as security forces impose curfews in several towns including Cizre in a bid to root out Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) rebels from urban centres. / AFP / BULENT KILIC (Photo credit should read BULENT KILIC/AFP/Getty Images)
VAN, TURKEY - JANUARY 13: A man carries straws for sheeps People with a donkey carry straws for sheeps after snowfall during the winter season at Caldiran town in Van, eastern province of Turkey, on January 13, 2016. (Photo by Ali Ihsan Ozturk/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - A woman takes a walk at river Spree on a cold winter day in Berlin on January 6, 2016. / AFP / TOBIAS SCHWARZ (Photo credit should read TOBIAS SCHWARZ/AFP/Getty Images)
ERZURUM, TURKEY - JANUARY 14: People walk down on a snow-covered street in Turkey's eastern province Erzurum, on January 14, 2016. (Photo by Yunus Okur/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
WHITBY, ENGLAND - JANUARY 14: Snow covered sheep stand on moorland after snowfall over night on January 14, 2016 in Whitby, England. Overnight snowfall in North Yorkshire and areas of Cleveland caused disruption in some areas this morning as temperatures continue to drop. (Photo by Ian Forsyth/Getty Images)
VAN, TURKEY - JANUARY 13: A man carries straws for sheeps People with a donkey carry straws for sheeps after snowfall during the winter season at Caldiran town in Van, eastern province of Turkey, on January 13, 2016. (Photo by Ali Ihsan Ozturk/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
MOSCOW, RUSSIA - JANUARY 12: Snowstorm in Moscow brings traffic to a standstill on January 12, 2016 in Moscow, Russia. A strong atmospheric front swept through Moscow bringing a large amount of snow to the city. (Photo by Kristina Kormilitsyna/Kommersant Photo via Getty Images)
ALTAY, CHINA - JANUARY 12: (CHINA OUT) Icicles hang down from the eaves of a row of houses, which formed when snow melted in the daytime and freezed overnight on January 12, 2016 in Altay Prefecture, Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of China. Affected by El Nino Phenomenon, Altay Prefecture seems to be a warm winter this year compared with previous winters. (Photo by ChinaFotoPress/ChinaFotoPress via Getty Images)
A woman sweeps away the snow on her car on January 12, 2016, in Minsk, as snow cyclone Daniella hits Belarus. / AFP / MAXIM MALINOVSKY (Photo credit should read MAXIM MALINOVSKY/AFP/Getty Images)
A woman turns off her umbrella during a walk in a snow-covered park on January 12, 2016, in Minsk, as the Daniella snow cyclone hits Belarus, according to local media. / AFP / SERGEI GAPON (Photo credit should read SERGEI GAPON/AFP/Getty Images)
JILIN, CHINA - JANUARY 10: (CHINA OUT) Tourists come to look at the rime scenery on an island along the Songhua River on January 10, 2016 in Jilin City, Jilin Province of China. The first rime in 2016 attracted visitors in Jilin. (Photo by ChinaFotoPress/ChinaFotoPress via Getty Images)

Snowmageddon/Snowpocalypse 2010

For the first time, social media helped named this event, and the back-to-back storms definitely lived up to the hype.

A swath of 20-inches-plus of snow buried parts of the Mid-Atlantic States including Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh.

This first Snowmageddon storm (Feb. 5-6) remains the heaviest snowstorm of record at Washington's Dulles Airport (32.4 inches), second heaviest in Philadelphia (28.5 inches) and fourth heaviest in Baltimore (25 inches).

Just three days later, another snowstorm pummeled the Mid-Atlantic States, dumping another 10-inch-plus swath from northern Virginia to New York City.

After using empty parking lots, city parks and even the Pimlico Race Course, the city of Baltimore resorted to dumping excess snow in the Inner Harbor.

Hundreds of thousands were left without power and roofs collapsed in some areas due to the weight of the snow. One-quarter of Washington, D.C.'s snowplows were put out of commission due to the sheer amount of snow to remove.

The combination of these two storms, a late February storm and a mid-December nor'easter, shattered seasonal snowfall records in Washington, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Atlantic City in New Jersey, and Wilmington in Delaware. Snowiest month records were obliterated in New York City, Pittsburgh and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, as well as the Mid-Atlantic locations above.

It's worth noting the first "Snowmageddon" storm left out New England, while the second storm days later brought heavy snow to New York, but did little in Boston and Hartford.

Snowstorm totals (left) from the first Snowmageddon snowstorm, Feb. 4-7, 2010, and a view of the White House on Feb. 10, 2010, after the "Snowmageddon II" snowstorm. (Left: NOAA/NCEI; Right: dbking/Wikimedia)

Blizzard of 1996

In a memo on Winter Storm Jonas Tuesday, The Weather Channel winter weather expert Tom Niziol said, "This storm's large-scale weather pattern...is very similar to a storm that pummeled the East Coast with major snow, wind and ice 20 years ago."

For the combination of heavy snowfall and high Northeast population, this Jan. 5-8, 1996, snowstorm ranks behind only a February 1969 snowstorm and the "Storm of the Century (March 1993)" events.

The extensive swath of snow, paralyzed cities from Washington, D.C. to Boston for days. Strong winds helped to create drifts of five to eight feet deep. Numerous powerlines were downed due to the weight of heavy snow, strong winds and some freezing rain. Some flat roofs collapsed due to the weight of the snow.

Overall, a foot or more of snow fell from Kentucky and southern Ohio eastward to western North Carolina and northward into central New England. Two or more feet of snow buried locations from southwestern Virginia through the highly populated metropolitan centers between Washington D.C. and New York City.

This remains the heaviest snowstorm on record in Philadelphia (30.7 inches), second heaviest in Baltimore (26.6 inches) and fifth heaviest in New York (20.2 inches at Central Park).

Presidents Day II (2003)

Often times, the movie industry fails to give us a sequel that meets the standard set by the original. Unfortunately for the Northeast, the so-called "Presidents Day II" snowstorm in 2003 surpassed the original from 1979.

The storm's massive 10-inch-plus swath was laid down from Ohio to Delaware to southern New England.

This was the heaviest snowstorm to hit the Mid-Atlantic states since the January 1996 storm. In Baltimore, the storm total of 26.8 inches topped the Blizzard of 1996 as the heaviest snowstorm on record. Snowfall rates up to 4 inches per hour clobbered Philadelphia. Roofs and porches caved under the weight of this immense snowstorm, including Baltimore's B&O Railroad Museum.

Washington's Reagan National, Baltimore-Washington, Philadelphia, and New York's LaGuardia Airports were all closed.

Boston also set a record snowstorm total (27.6 inches), eclipsing the total from the "Blizzard of '78".

A state of emergency was declared in Pennsylvania. Stranded motorists were rescued by snowmobile. The University of Maryland system shut down for a full week.

Snowstorm totals from the Presidents' Day II snowstorm, Feb. 15-18, 2003 (left). A view of Times Square in New York City on Feb. 17, 2003 (right).(NOAA/NCEI and AP/Gregory Bull)

Megalopolitan Storm 1983

Yes, a massive Northeast snowstorm can occur in a strong El Niño winter.

READ MORE: El Niño and Seasonal Snow

Snowfall total from Feb. 10-12, 1983 Megalopolitan Snowstorm. (NOAA/NCEI)

One facet to this storm that tipped it into the crippling category was the prevalence of lightning. In this case, these snow thunderstorms produced snowfall rates of 2 to 5 inches per hour from Washington, D.C. to New York City. These are snowfall rates more typical of the Great Lakes snowbelts.

Senior meteorologist Kevin Roth was 14 years old at the time growing up in Allentown, Pa. "It was a storm advertised by local media as a whopper for a few days. It hit on Friday and was supposed to start early enough to cancel school, but it was delayed. The snow finally started around 10:45 am and immediately went to heavy snow. We were dismissed from school once all lunch periods were over."

Then, Kevin had to get home, somehow.

"Normally, my Dad would drive us home after school, but he was on the school district's plow team. We (Kevin's brother, also) only made it about 3 to 4 blocks before we chickened out and called our grandfather to pick us up."

The storm would get much worse. Senior meteorologist Stu Ostro was on shift that night. "I'll never forget going on the air live on a New York City radio station and reporting on an observation from Allentown, Pennsylvania, that had just come in, unlike any I had seen before: 'SNOINC 5,' which meant the snow depth had increased five inches in one hour."

Back to Kevin Roth in Allentown: "During the late evening the snow really picked up and there were flashes of light and low rumbles. We thought transformers may be blowing from the weight of the snow. Later, we figured out it was lightning! We could barely see the houses across the street."

This is still the calendar-day snowfall of record in Allentown (24 inches), and is the fifth heaviest snowstorm of record in Baltimore (22.8 inches), third heaviest snowstorm at Washington's Dulles Airport (22.8 inches) and fourth heaviest snowstorm in Philadelphia (21.3 inches).

Top Five Snowstorm Lists

Below we list the heaviest snowstorms on record in areas that may see the most snow from Winter Storm Jonas, according to data from the National Weather Service. Winter Storm Jonas may break into the top five snowstorms, or even threaten the record heaviest snowstorm in one or more of those locations.

Roanoke, Virginia

1) 24.9 inches (Jan. 6-7, 1996)
2) 19 inches (Feb. 12-13, 2014)
3) 18.6 inches (Feb. 10-11, 1983)
4) 17.8 inches (Dec. 18-19, 2009)
5) 17.4 inches (Mar. 2-3, 1960)

Richmond, Virginia

1) 21.6 inches (Jan. 23-24, 1940)
2) 17.7 inches (Feb. 10-11, 1983)
3) 15.2 inches (Mar. 5-7, 1962)
4) 14.9 inches (Jan. 4-5, 1980)
5) 14.8 inches (Jan. 26-27, 1966)

Washington, D.C.

1) 28.0 inches (Jan. 27-29, 1922)
2) 20 inches (Feb. 12-14, 1899)
3) 18.7 inches (Feb. 18-19, 1979)
4) 17.8 inches (Feb. 5-6, 2010)
5) 17.3 inches (Jan. 7-9, 1996)

Baltimore, Maryland

1) 26.8 inches (Feb. 16-18, 2003)
2) 26.6 inches (Jan. 7-9, 1996)
3) 26.5 inches (Jan. 27-29, 1922)
4) 25 inches (Feb. 5-6, 2010)
5) 22.8 inches (Feb. 11, 1983)

Also see the craziest weather photos of 2015:

Craziest weather photos of 2015
See Gallery
Will Winter Storm Jonas rank among the biggest East Coast snowstorms in living memory?
An approaching storm looms over the French riviera city of Nice, southeastern France, on June 15, 2015. AFP PHOTO / VALERY HACHE (Photo credit should read VALERY HACHE/AFP/Getty Images)
A pedestrian walks with an umbrella as lightning strikes during an evening thunderstorm in Jammu on May 14, 2015. AFP PHOTO / RAKESH BAKSHI (Photo credit should read rakesh bakshi/AFP/Getty Images)
RIZHAO, CHINA - OCTOBER 18: (CHINA OUT) Dense fog envelops constructions on October 18, 2015 in Rizhao, Shandong Province of China. (Photo by ChinaFotoPress/ChinaFotoPress via Getty Images)
CHONGQING, CHINA - JULY 17: (CHINA OUT) Citizens swim in water of Meixin Park in Yangren Jie (also known as Foreigner Street) in Nan'an District on July 17, 2015 in Chongqing, China. As high temperature came with summer, citizens in south China's Chongqing gathered at famed Meixin Park in Chongqing's Yangren Jie for swimming to escape hot weather. The park created by Meixin Group is a foreign-themed theme park and its 'famed' for a number of risque sculptures, such as a row of bronzed nude ladies facing the wall, urinals in the shape of nun' habits and wash basins fashioned as female figures bending over. It also has the dubious honour of having a record-breaking restroom with 1,000 toilets. (Photo by ChinaFotoPress/ChinaFotoPress via Getty Images)
Indian people gather around a residential area that was flooded after heavy rains in Chennai on November 18, 2015. Large areas of the southern Indian city of Chennai have been flooded following days of heavy rain. AFP PHOTO (Photo credit should read STR/AFP/Getty Images)
BOSTON - JUNE 23: The storm clouds in the area provided a colorful and appropriate backdrop as Red Sox starting pitcher Joe Kelly, bottom left, exits the game after being removed by manager John Farrell in the top of the fourth inning. The Boston Red Sox hosted the Baltimore Orioles in a regular season MLB baseball game at Fenway. (Photo by Jim Davis/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
An airplane flies through a stormy sky before landing at the Toulouse-Blagnac airport, on September 3, 2015. AFP PHOTO/REMY GABALDA (Photo credit should read REMY GABALDA/AFP/Getty Images)
YANTAI, CHINA - NOVEMBER 26: (CHINA OUT) Heavy snow falls on the vehicles on November 26, 2015 in Yantai, Shandong Province of China. Snowstorm attacked Yantai on Thursday morning. (Photo by ChinaFotoPress/ChinaFotoPress via Getty Images)
People cool down under a sprinkler in a water park in Shanghai on August 5, 2015. Typhoon Soudelor is set to bring an end to the heatwave affecting the region over the weekend, according to local reports. AFP PHOTO / JOHANNES EISELE (Photo credit should read JOHANNES EISELE/AFP/Getty Images)
MIDDLETOWN, CA - SEPTEMBER 15: The ruins of a home that burned in the Valley Fire are seen on September 15, 2015 in Middletown, California. The 104-square-mile fire is only 15 percent contained and has destroyed 585 homes so far and hundreds of other structures. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
WENLING, CHINA - JULY 10: (CHINA OUT) Waves spirit as typhoon Chan-hom approaches on July 10, 2015 in Wenling, Zhejiang Province of China. News from Zhejiang Meteorologic Bureau that typhoon Chan-hom would land in Zhejiang Province Friday night and local government had started first emergency response to typhoon. (Photo by ChinaFotoPress/ChinaFotoPress via Getty Images)
Sunflowers are pictured on July 17, 2015 in Wehlen, Germany. AFP PHOTO / DPA / ARNO BURGI +++ GERMANY OUT (Photo credit should read ARNO BURGI/AFP/Getty Images)
VAN, TX - MAY 11: Volunteers and officials search through the destruction near Van Intermediate School after a tornado May 11, 2015 in Van, Texas. The small city of Van, Texas was struck by a tornado in the evening of May 10, leaving at least two dead and more missing. (Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)
Indian youths play in breaking waves on the seafront during high tide in Mumbai on June 17, 2015. AFP PHOTO/ PUNIT PARANJPE (Photo credit should read PUNIT PARANJPE/AFP/Getty Images)
Footprints are seen in the dried mud of what used to be the bottom of Lake Mead at the abandoned Echo Bay Marina in Overton, Nevada, U.S., on Thursday, June 4, 2015. The Southern Nevada Water Authority is building a three-mile (five-kilometer), $817 million tunnel under Lake Mead to retain access to its Colorado River supply as the reservoir declines to 40 percent of capacity. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images
BHOPAL, INDIA - JUNE 22: Vehicles wade through water logged road at Jyoti Talkies Road after a heavy rainfall on June 22, 2015, in Bhopal, India. In first heavy shower of this season, the city recorded 85 mm of rain in just a span of 24 hours, which is the citys third highest 24-hour rainfall record in the last 10 years. (Photo by Mujeeb Faruqui/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)
Lightning brightens the night sky over Washington, DC, during a rainstorm on April 20, 2015. AFP PHOTO / MLADEN ANTONOV (Photo credit should read MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/Getty Images)
BEIJING, CHINA - NOVEMBER 30: A Chinese man wears a protective face mask as he passes by the CCTV building on a day of heavy pollution on November 30, 2015 in Beijing, China. China's capital and many cities in the northern part of the country recorded the worst smog of the year with air quality devices in some areas unable to read such high levels of pollutants. Levels of PM 2.5, considered the most hazardous, crossed 600 units in Beijing, nearly 25 times the acceptable standard set by the World Health Organization. The governments of more than 190 countries are meeting in Paris this week to set targets on reducing carbon emissions in an attempt to forge a new global agreement on climate change.(Photo by Kevin Frayer/Getty Images)
Aerial view of sailing boats that lay in the water of Lake Starnberg which water is covered with pollen near Starnberg, southern Germany, on May 8, 2015. (Photo credit should read PETER KNEFFEL/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 20: Ice floes are viewed along the Hudson River in Manhattan on a frigidly cold day February 20, 2015 in New York City. New York, and much of the East Coast and Western United States is experiencing unusually cold weather with temperatures in the teens and the wind chill factor making it feel well below zero. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
FAIRDALE, IL - APRIL 10: Crews search through the town for unaccounted people the morning after a tornado swept through the town on April 10, 2015 in Fairdale, Illinois. According to reports, 11 people were injured and one person was killed when tornadoes and thunderstorms passed through the northwestern suburbs of Chicago. (Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images)
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 22: A surfer watches turbulent seas at Avoca Beach on the Cntral Coast on April 22, 2015 in Sydney, Australia. Three people have died and more than 200,000 are still without power as cyclonic winds and rains continue to lash the Sydney, Hunter Valley and Central Coast regions of New South Wales. (Photo by Tony Feder/Getty Images)
BEIJING, CHINA - AUGUST 03: A rainbow appears over the city on August 3, 2015 in Beijing, China. (Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)
Vehicles left stranded on a flooded Interstate 45 in Houston, Texas on May 26, 2015. Heavy rains throught Texas put the city of Houston under massive ammounts of water, closing roadways and trapping residents in their cars and buildings, according to local reports. Rainfall reached up to 11 inches(27.9cm) in some parts of the state, national forecasters reported, and the heavy rains quickly pooled over the state's already saturated soil. AFP PHOTO/AARON M. SPRECHER (Photo credit should read Aaron M. Sprecher/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 05: A person walks along a snow-covered Central Park on the Upper East Side on March 5, 2015 in New York City. Snow blanketed the city as temperatures plunged across the northeast U.S. during another winter storm. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
A farm is covered in snow on the Fellhorn mountain near Oberstdorf, southern Germany, on February 3, 2015. AFP PHOTO / DPA / KARL-JOSEF HILDENBRAND +++ GERMANY OUT (Photo credit should read KARL-JOSEF HILDENBRAND/AFP/Getty Images)
Clouds paint a graphic design in the sky over Ebersbach, southern Germany, on April 14, 2015. AFP PHOTO / DPA / KARL-JOSEF HILDENBRAND +++ GERMANY OUT (Photo credit should read KARL-JOSEF HILDENBRAND/AFP/Getty Images)
ANTRIM, NORTHERN IRELAND - JANUARY 13: A man takes a picture with his mobile phone through heavy snow at the Dark Hedges on January 13, 2015 in Antrim, Northern Ireland. The Dark Hedges, named for it's unusual tree formation has become a recent tourist attraction after the setting was filmed as part of the hit HBO television series Game of Thrones which is filmed extensively in the province. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
A tree is partially fog covered near Mintraching, southern Germany, on November 1, 2015. AFP PHOTO / DPA / ARMIN WEIGEL GERMANY OUT (Photo credit should read ARMIN WEIGEL/AFP/Getty Images)
A deer lays dead after a bushfire moved through the area near One Tree Hill in the Adelaide Hills on January 5, 2015. Firefighters raced January 5 to contain a major blaze before the forecast return of strong winds and a heatwave, following the loss of 26 homes in the worst bushfire conditions in South Australia for three decades. AFP PHOTO / BRENTON EDWARDS (Photo credit should read Brenton Edwards/AFP/Getty Images)
BOSTON - FEBRUARY 15: White out conditions on Newbury Street as Blizzard Neptune descends. (Photo by Suzanne Kreiter/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
PALANGKARAYA, CENTRAL KALIMANTAN, INDONESIA - NOVEMBER 01: A view of a land as peatland forest is cleared by burning for a palm oil plantation at a company's grounds on November 1, 2015 in the outskirts of Palangkaraya, Central Kalimantan, Indonesia. The air pollution or haze has been an annual problem for the past 18 years in Indonesia. It's caused by the illegal burning of forest and peat fires on the islands of Sumatra and Borneo to clear new land for the production of pulp, paper and palm oil. Desperate civilians at the epicentre of Indonesia's haze crisis are taking the fight into their own hands, using whatever meagre resources they have to confront the fires ravaging their communities as they tire of waiting for the government to take action. This disaster has been exacerbated by this year's long dry season, triggered by the El Nino weather phenomenon. (Photo by Ulet Ifansasti/Getty Images)
SUMMERVILLE, SC - OCTOBER 07: Nelson Shields stands in his flooded home on October 7, 2015 in Summerville, South Carolina. The state of South Carolina experienced record rainfall amounts over the weekend and officials expect the damage from the flood waters to be in the billions of dollars. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
NEW DELHI, INDIA - MAY 24: A road melt near Safdarjung Hospital after the Temperature rise to 45 degree Celsius during a hot weather as Delhi/NCR experienced yet another scorching day, on May 24, 2015 in New Delhi, India. The national capital sizzling today as heat wave-like conditions prevailed across the city with mercury hovering above 45.3 degree Celsius, making life tough for the Delhiites. (Photo by Sanjeev Verma/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)
A child cools off in a fountain in Milan on July 24, 2015 as a major heatwave spreads throughout Europe with temperatures hitting nearly 40 degrees Celsius. AFP PHOTO / GIUSEPPE CACACE (Photo credit should read GIUSEPPE CACACE/AFP/Getty Images)
The lightning flashes over the statue of Christ the Redeemer at Corcovado hill in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on September 27, 2015. AFP PHOTO / YASUYOSHI CHIBA (Photo credit should read YASUYOSHI CHIBA/AFP/Getty Images)
People look at waves in Saint-Malo, western France, on February 24, 2015. France kicked off nearly a month of exceptionally large spring tides on February 21, as tourists flocked to coastal areas to witness spectacularly high water levels ahead of the so-called 'tide of the century' March 21. Unlike last year, when large spring tides coincided with enormous ocean swells that battered beaches and cliffs with waves up to 10 metres high along the French coast, no significant flooding or loss of life has been reported thus far. Despite that auspicious start, however, nearly all localities along France's Atlantic coast remain on alert for possible flooding and storm waves -- and are expected to maintain a high vigilance level to the end of the current spring tide period. AFP PHOTO / DAMIEN MEYER (Photo credit should read DAMIEN MEYER/AFP/Getty Images)
JILIN, CHINA - JANUARY 22: (CHINA OUT) Smog arrives at the banks of Songhua River due to the lowest temperature rises to minus 14 degrees celsius on January 22, 2015 in Jilin, Jilin province of China. The Air Quality Index in north China's Jilin province has risen to 260, indicating high pollution. (Photo by ChinaFotoPress/ChinaFotoPress via Getty Images)

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