Snow and blizzards hit the northeastern US

BOSTON (AP) — A winter storm swept through the northeastern United States Saturday with heavy snow and near-hurricane-force blizzards, causing coastal flooding and possible power outages. Forecasters warned that conditions could worsen as the day progresses.

The storm hit parts of 10 states and some major cities, including Philadelphia, New York and Boston. More than 1 foot (30 centimeters) of snow had already fallen by noon in parts of coastal New Jersey and eastern Long Island.

Boston could get up to 2 feet (60 centimeters) of snow and nearby isolated areas up to 3 feet (1 meter), according to forecasters. Winds reached speeds of up to 709 mph (113 km/h) on Nantucket Island off the coast of Massachusetts and in other areas of eastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island over 60 mph (96 km/h).

Most flights to and from New York, Boston and Philadelphia were canceled on Saturday, according to monitoring site FlightAware. More than 4,500 flights were canceled in the United States. Amtrak has canceled all of its Acela high-speed trains between Boston and Washington and has canceled or limited other services in the region.

Throughout the area, residents took shelter and avoided traveling at the request of authorities, some of whom warned of low visibility. Businesses closed or opened late.

In suburban Boston, Nicky Brown, 34, stood bundled up at the door of Gordon’s liquor store in Waltham waiting for it to open. Opening time was 8am and it was already much later.

“My boyfriend drives a sweeper and I have a lot to clean at home and I want a drink while I do it,” she explained, calling the store to find out if they planned to open. “It’s a good day to stay home and clean.”

Tens of thousands of homes and businesses were without power in Massachusetts and power outages were on the rise. No other states reported extensive blackouts.

Those affected by the storm had two things going for them: Dry snow is less likely to topple trees and power lines, and it hit on the weekend, when schools are closed and fewer people commute to work.

Officials from Virginia to Maine warned people to stay off the roads.

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Catalini reported from Morrisville, Pennsylvania. Associated Press writers David Collins in Hartford, Connecticut; Jeff McMillan in Scranton, Pennsylvania; Ron Todt in Philadelphia; and William J. Kole in Warwick, Rhode Island, contributed to this report



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