WASHINGTON — Blizzard Jonas, which dumped heavy snow and reportedly killed at least 48 people in the northeast United States last weekend, ranked the fourth largest winter storm to impact the heavily populated region since 1950, according to US government statistics.

The January 22-24 blizzard was also rated as a Category 4, “Crippling” winter storm, said the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which uses a five-tier scale to categorize storms, ranging from Category 1 “Notable” to Category 5 “Extreme.”

The snowstorm covered about 434,000 square miles (1.12 million square kilometers) and impacted about 102.8 million people, the NOAA said.

Of those, about 1.5 million people had over 30 inches (76 centimeters) of snowfall; almost 24 million had over 20 inches (51 centimeters).

“This storm ranks up there with the great blizzards of the past 100 years in terms of amount of snowfall, size of impacted areas and population affected,” Paul Kocin, meteorologist of NOAA’s National Weather Service, said in a statement Thursday.

Economists at Moody’s Analytics pegged the lost economic output to USD 2.5 billion to 3 billion.

The strongest snowstorm to hit the Northeast in the past 66 years was the March 1993 “Storm of the Century,” which killed more than 270 people and caused about USD 5.5 billion in damages.

The other two storms that ranked before Jonas were the Category 5 blizzard of January 1996 and the Category 4 blizzard of March 1960. PNA/Xinhua/