Northeast Prepares for Major Winter Storm, 2,500 Flights Cancelled Ahead of Nor’easter

By Jesse Sokolow on 7 February 2013
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Editor’s note: An updated report on the storm may be found here.

As a major winter storm closes in on the Northeast, cities from New York to Maine are making preparations for what has all the makings of a historic blizzard.  The behemoth weather system is expected to drop between one and three feet of snow in some areas,and some cities could see record-setting snowfall..

Airlines began cancelling flights well in advance of the storm.  Three hundred flights were cancelled Thursday and over 1,700 on Friday.  Almost 500 flights were cancelled at New York’s three airports, and Chicago, Boston, and Toronto each saw almost 100 cancellations.

Amtrak announced it was suspending northbound service for trains originating in Penn Station in New York City and southbound service out of Boston starting Friday afternoon.

New York City and Long Island can expect to see 12” to 20” of snow through late Saturday night with winds that could exceed 60 mph (96 km/h).  By Friday night, the city is expected to be accumulating snow at two to three inches per hour, along with much of New England, including Boston and Hartford, where accumulations are expected to be around one and a half to three feet.

Officials have already closed schools on Friday in Boston.  The city expects the worst of the storm to hit between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. and it could rival the blizzard of 1978, when more than 27″ of snow fell.

“We are taking this storm very seriously,” said Jerome Hauer, the New York State Commissioner of the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services at a news conference.  “If you don’t have to go to work tomorrow, we suggest that you do not..  If you do, we suggest you plan for an early departure.

Elsewhere in New York State, including Buffalo and Syracuse, there is expected to be snow in the twelve to eighteen inch range as well.  By the end of the storm, Portland, Maine is expected to have seen between two and three feet.

Central New Jersey and central Pennsylvania are expected to receive around three to six inches, with Philadelphia and southern New Jersey set to receive one to three.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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