BOSTON – A blizzard of potentially historic proportions threatened to strike the Northeast with a vengeance today, with up to 2 feet of snow feared along the densely populated Interstate 95 corridor from the New York City area to Boston and beyond.
From Pennsylvania to Maine, people rushed to stock up on food, shovels and other supplies, and road crews readied salt and sand, halfway through what had been a merciful winter.
Before the first snowflake had even fallen, Boston, Providence, R.I., Hartford, Conn., and other New England cities canceled school for today, and airlines scratched more than 1,700 flights, with the disruptions certain to ripple across the U.S.
Forecasters said this could one for the record books.
This one doesnt come along every day. This is going to be a dangerous winter storm, said Alan Dunham, meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Taunton, Mass. Wherever you need to get to, get there by Friday afternoon and dont plan on leaving.
The snow is expected to start this morning, with the heaviest amounts falling at night and into Saturday, forecasters said
Wind gusts could reach 65 mph. Widespread power failures were feared, along with flooding in coastal areas still recovering from Superstorm Sandy in October.
Boston could get more than 2 feet of snow, while New York City was expecting 10 to 14 inches.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg said plows and 250,000 tons of salt were being put on standby.
We hope forecasts are exaggerating the amount of snow, but you never can tell, Bloomberg said.
Amtrak said its Northeast trains will stop running this afternoon.
The organizers of New Yorks Fashion Week – a closely watched series of fashion shows held under a big tent – said they will have extra crews to help with snow removal and will turn up the heat and add an extra layer to the venue.
Blizzard warnings were posted for parts of New Jersey and New Yorks Long Island, as well as portions of Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut, including Hartford, New Haven, Conn., and Providence. The warnings extended into New Hampshire and Maine.
In New England, it could prove to be among the top 10 snowstorms in history, and perhaps even break Bostons record of 27.6 inches, set in 2003, forecasters said. The last major snowfall in southern New England was well over a year ago – the Halloween storm of 2011.
Dunham said southern New England has seen less than half its normal snowfall this season, but were going to catch up in a heck of a hurry.
In New Hampshire, Dartmouth College student Evan Diamond and other members of the ski team were getting ready for races at the Ivy League schools winter carnival.