'Potentially historic' blizzard headed for Northeast US

Children play in Central Park as it snows in the Manhattan borough of New York on January 26, 2015.  

A potentially historic blizzard could dump up to 60 centimetres of snow on a large part of the U.S. Northeast, crippling a region that has largely been spared so far this winter, the National Weather Service said. Thousands of flights were cancelled.

The National Weather Service said the storm, known as a nor’easter, would bring heavy snow, powerful winds and widespread coastal flooding through Tuesday. A blizzard warning was issued for a 400-km stretch of the Northeast, including New York and Boston.

“This could be a storm the likes of which we have never seen before,” New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio told a news conference in a Manhattan sanitation garage where workers were preparing ploughs and salt for the massive cleanup on about 6,000 miles of city roadways.

Airlines cancelled or delayed more than 4,000 flights into and out of East Coast airports. Boston’s Logan International Airport said there would be no flights after 7 p.m. on Monday, and did not expect to resume flights until late Wednesday.

Some schools were planning to close early or not open at all on Monday in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York and Connecticut.

Government officials began to activate emergency centres on Sunday as professional sports teams, schools and utilities hastily revised their schedules and made preparations.

In Massachusetts, Gov. Charlie Baker warned residents to prepare for roads that are “very hard, if not impossible, to navigate,” power outages and possibly even a lack of public transportation.

Boston is expected to get 18 to 24 inches of snow, with up to 2 feet or more west of the city, and Philadelphia could see up to a foot, the weather service said.

The Washington area expected only a couple of inches, with steadily increasing amounts as the storm heads north.

“We do anticipate very heavy snowfall totals,” said Bob Oravec, lead forecaster with the weather service in College Park, Maryland. “In addition to heavy snow, with blizzard warnings, there’s a big threat of high, damaging winds, and that will be increasing from Monday into Tuesday. A lot of blowing, drifting and such.”

Wind gusts of 75 mph or more are possible for coastal areas of Massachusetts, and up to 50 mph further inland, Mr. Oravec said.

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Printable version | Nov 27, 2020 5:22:48 AM |

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