Blizzard Threatens Northeastern US, More Than 2,600 Flights Cancelled

BOSTON (TIP): A blizzard ofpotentially historic proportionsthreatened to strike the northeastwith a vengeance on Friday, with up to2 feet (0.6 meters) of snow forecastalong the densely populated corridorfrom the New York City area to Bostonand beyond.Halfway through what was lookinglike a merciful winter, people stockedup on food and other storm supplies,and road crews along the East Coastreadied salt and sand ahead of whatforecasters warned could be one forthe record books.Boston and Providence, RhodeIsland, called off school on Friday, andairlines cancelled more than 2,600flights and counting, with thedisruptions certain to ripple acrossthe US.

“Everybody’s going to get plasteredwith snow,” said Massachusetts-basedNational Weather Servicemeteorologist Alan Dunham.The snow is expected to start Fridaymorning, with the heaviest amountsfalling at night and into Saturday.Wind gusts could reach 65 mph (105kph). Widespread power failures werefeared, along with flooding in coastalareas still recovering fromSuperstorm Sandy in October.New York City was expecting up to14 inches (355 millimeters) of snow.Mayor Michael Bloomberg said plowsand 250,000 tons of salt were being puton standby.

“We hope forecasts are exaggeratingthe amount of snow, but you never cantell,” he said.Blizzard warnings were posted forparts of New Jersey and New York’sLong Island, as well as portions of theNew England region, includingMassachusetts, Rhode Island andConnecticut. The warnings extendedinto New Hampshire and Maine.In New England, it could prove to beamong the top 10 snowstorms inhistory, and perhaps even breakBoston’s record of 27.6 inches (700millimeters), set in 2003, forecasterssaid. The storm is arriving just afterthe 35th anniversary of the blizzard of1978, which paralyzed New Englandwith more than 2 feet (0.6 meters) ofsnow and hurricane-force winds fromFeb. 5-7.

The last major snowfall insouthern New England was well over ayear ago – the Halloween storm of 2011.In New Hampshire, DartmouthCollege student Evan Diamond andother members of the ski team weregetting ready for races at the IvyLeague school’s winter carnival.”We’re pretty excited about itbecause this has been an unusualwinter for us,” he said. “We’ve beengoing back and forth between havingreally solid cold snaps and then therain washing everything away.”

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