The mayor of Boston ordered all vehicles off the city’s streets from 12 noon (1700 GMT) on Friday as the north-eastern US braced for a blizzard.

The storm was expected to form just off the southern coast of Massachusetts when two weather systems — one approaching from the south and the other from the west — combine.

The National Weather Service said on Thursday a “major and potentially historic winter storm” was expected to impact an area encompassing all of New York State, most of the state of Pennsylvania and all of New England, Friday into Saturday.

New England consists of the states of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut.

“Use common sense. Stay off the streets of our city. Basically, stay home,” Mayor Thomas Menino said at a news conference at city hall.

New York City also was bracing for the storm. It could get as much as 30 centimetres of snow, the weather service said. In addition to snow, the storm will pack wind gusts as high as 100 kilometres per hour.

More than 1,000 flights were cancelled as of Thursday. The weather service said the storm also was likely to take out electrical power to thousands of homes.

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