Heavy snowfall and strong winds threaten the East Coast
BOSTON (AP) — A powerful northeast swept across the eastern seaboard on Saturday, threatening to bury parts of 10 states in deep, raging snow accompanied by coastal flooding and high winds that could knock out power and send shivers down the spine. people in cold weather should follow.
Philadelphia, New York and Boston — the latter under blizzard warning and predicting up to 2 feet of snow — were all in the storm’s path. Airlines have canceled more than 3,000 flights at some of the country’s busiest airports. Amtrak has suspended or limited service on the Boston-Washington corridor.
Officials from Virginia to Maine have warned people to stay off the roads in potential whiteout conditions.
Rhode Island, which was under a blizzard warning, banned all non-emergency road travel starting at 8 a.m.
“This is serious. We’re ready for this storm, and we need the Rhode Islanders to be ready as well,” Gov. Dan McKee said. “The best way to handle this storm is to stay home tomorrow.”
Delaware allowed only essential personnel to drive in two of its three counties starting Friday night. Massachusetts, where forecasters said some isolated pockets could receive up to 30 inches of snow, banned heavy trucks from interstate highways for most of Saturday.
Shoppers packed stores Friday to stock up on food and buy generators and snowblowers ahead of the northeast, a type of storm so named because its winds typically blow from the northeast as it rattles the East Coast.
Many New Englanders took the forecast with joy and were even looking forward to the storm, given its weekend timing.
Marc Rudkowski, 28, bought French bread and wine on Friday at the Star Market in Cambridge, Mass., along with balloons and toys for his dog, who turned 1 on Friday.
“He’s going to love it,” Rudkowski said. “It’s a snow dog.”
Merrick McCormack was calm as he unloaded his groceries at a supermarket in Warwick, Rhode Island.
“I don’t care about storms. I know that in a few days we will be free and clear. No need to panic,” said McCormack, 51, of Cranston.
But there were some concerns about hoarding amid ongoing supply chain issues caused by the pandemic. New England supermarket giant Stop & Shop has pleaded with customers to exercise restraint.
“We’re asking shoppers to buy what they need and save some for their neighbors,” the chain said in a statement.
Parts of 10 states were under blizzard warning: Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia. Areas closest to the coast were expected to bear the brunt of the storm, which could bring wind gusts of up to 70 mph (113 km/h) to New England.
The Jersey Shore is expected to receive up to 18 inches (46 centimeters) of snow and eastern Long Island up to 17 inches (43 centimeters). Philadelphia, New York and parts of the Delmarva Peninsula in Delaware, Maryland and Virginia could get 10 inches (25 centimeters) or more.
Virginia, where a blizzard this month stranded hundreds of motorists for hours on Interstate 95, didn’t hesitate to get resources at hand. In Maryland, the governor has mobilized the national guard.
Washington and Baltimore were expected to be spared the worst snowfall, with just 1 to 3 inches (2.5 to 8 centimeters) and 5 inches (13 centimeters), respectively.
Snow could be falling as fast as 5 inches per hour in places including Connecticut, where officials feared they would have enough snowplow operators amid shortages caused by the coronavirus pandemic and other issues.
The worst of the storm was expected to blow Sunday morning over Canada, where several provinces were under warning.
A saving grace, at least in parts of Massachusetts: The snow is expected to fall light and fluffy as it arrives with cold weather that’s drying it out, said Judah Cohen, winter storm expert for trade firm Atmospheric Environmental Research.
That means ugly snowballs – and snow that’s less capable of breaking tree branches and bringing down power lines.
Associated Press writer Jeff McMillan of Scranton, Pennsylvania, contributed to this report; Steve LeBlanc in Cambridge, Mass.; William J. Kole in Warwick, Rhode Island; David Klepper in Providence, Rhode Island; and Sarah Brumfield in Washington.
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