US Northeast braces for unprecedented winter storm

In addition to heavy snow accumulation, hurricane-force winds are expected in coastal areas.

Updated: Feb 08, 2013, 22:34 PM IST

New York: The US Northeast from Maine to New York braced for a severe winter storm with blizzard conditions that could dump upto two feet of snow in the region by Saturday as airlines announced cancellation of thousands of flights and train services were suspended ahead of what is being predicted as an unprecedented storm.

The National Weather Service said the major winter storm is forecast to impact the Northeast tonight into early tomorrow, as a developing nor`easter moves up the Atlantic coast.

"Total snowfall accumulations of 1-2 feet are possible, with locally higher amounts. In addition, gusty winds will create blizzard conditions, especially along the coast, making travel extremely hazardous, if not impossible," the weather service warned.

In addition to heavy snow accumulation, hurricane-force winds are expected in coastal areas.

The snow is expected to start Friday morning, with the heaviest amounts falling Friday night and Saturday.

The storm could result in widespread power outages as wind gusts could reach 75 miles per hour.

Boston could see more than two feet of snow, while New York City was expecting 10 to 12 inches and Philadelphia could see a possible 4 to 6 inches.

"This one doesn`t come along every day. This is going to be a dangerous winter storm," meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Massachusetts Alan Dunham said in a CBS News report.

"Wherever you need to get to, get there by Friday afternoon and don`t plan on leaving."

Blizzard warnings were posted for areas of New Jersey, New York`s Long Island, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut, including Hartford, New Haven and Providence.

Several Schools across the region were cancelled and airlines cancelled thousands of flights, particularly those flying out of New York and Boston through Saturday.

According to flight tracker FlightAware.Com, airlines cancelled 3,775 flights till Saturday, with all flights in and out of Boston`s Logan International Airport getting cancelled.

Another 1,800 flights in the New York City area were also cancelled, while Philadelphia International Airport is reporting delays on inbound flights an average of 1. 5 hours due to low clouds.

Amtrak announced it is suspending service and no trains would run between New York and Boston.

Forecasters said the storm could prove to be among the top 10 snowstorms in New England`s history and even break Boston`s record of 27.6 inches, set in 2003.

Residents in the region were stocking up on essential items like food, candles and batteries.

Across cities, sanitation trucks stood prepared to dump tons of salt on the roads to help clear the roadways and ease conditions for traffic.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg urged the public to avoid all "unnecessary driving" during the duration of the storm.

"As New Yorkers are making their commuting plans, they should be aware that driving conditions will be difficult. If you must drive, use extreme caution," he said.

He said New Yorkers are advised to stock up on potential supplies, including medicine, due to potential power outages and transportation difficulties.