People from New York City to Maine awakened Saturday to half a foot of snow, and forecasters warned that could more than quadruple as a powerful nor'easter kicked up blinding blizzard conditions with high winds and the potential for widespread power outages and coastal flooding. Parts of 10 states and some major population centers—Philadelphia, New York, and Boston—were in the path of the storm, which was expected to rage throughout the day, per the AP. Airlines canceled more than 4,500 flights at some of the nation's busiest airports, according to FlightAware. Amtrak suspended or limited service on the Boston-to-Washington corridor.
Parts of 10 states were under blizzard warnings: Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia. Areas closest to the coast were expected to bear the brunt of the storm, which could bring wind gusts as high as 70mph in New England. Coastal New Jersey was forecast to get as much as 18 inches of snow and eastern Long Island up to 17 inches. Philadelphia, New York City, and parts of the Delmarva Peninsula in Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia could get 10 inches or more. Snow could fall as fast as 5 inches per hour in spots, including Connecticut, where officials worried about having enough snowplow drivers amid shortages caused by the coronavirus pandemic and other issues.
In West Hartford, Conn., a tractor-trailer jackknifed on snow-slicked Interstate 84, closing several westbound lanes. Officials from Virginia to Maine warned people to stay off the roads amid potential whiteout conditions. The storm's saving grace: It was hitting on a weekend, with schools closed and few commuters. Rhode Island, all of which was under a blizzard warning, banned all nonemergency road travel starting at 8am. "This is serious," Gov. Dan McKee said. “The best way to handle this storm is to stay home." Delaware allowed only essential personnel to drive in two of its three counties. Massachusetts, where forecasters said some isolated pockets could get as much as 30 inches of snow, banned heavy trucks from interstate highways for most of Saturday.
Many hardy New Englanders took the storm in stride. Dave McGillivray, race director for the Boston Marathon, jokingly invited the public to his suburban Boston home on Saturday for a free snow-shoveling clinic. "I will provide the driveway and multiple walkways to ensure your training is conducted in the most lifelike situation," he said. Marc Rudkowski, 28, bought French bread and wine Friday at the Star Market in Cambridge, Mass., along with balloons and toys for his dog, who turned 1 on Friday. "He's going to love it," Rudkowski said. "He's a snow dog." The worst of the storm was expected to blow by Sunday morning into Canada, where several provinces were under warnings. (Read more blizzard stories.)