Tri-State Area Braces for Blizzard

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snow3A band of frigid weather is snaking up the East Coast today, promising blizzards and a foot of snow for New York City and New England, while several states made emergency declarations as the storm caused crashes on slick roads.

Airlines grounded hundreds of flights Sunday along the Northeast corridor in anticipation of the storm, affecting major airports including New York’s JFK and Newark. Airlines said more cancellations were likely as the storm progressed. Travel misery began a day earlier in parts of the South.

The National Weather Service issued a blizzard warning on 6 a.m. Sunday as a storm pushed north toward the Tri-State Area.

Todaywill be cloudy and windy with snow fall across the area. The snow fall will turn heavy in the afternoon and at night as accumulations average between 14 and 18 inches.

Northerly winds gusting from 40 to 50 mph will cause very poor travel and blizzard conditions at times.

The high will be 31 degrees and the low will be 26.

Several states have already made emergency declarations as the storm caused crashes on slick roads.

Airlines grounded hundreds of flights Sunday along the Northeast corridor in anticipation of the storm, affecting major airports including New York’s JFK and Newark. Airlines said more cancellations were likely as the storm progressed. Travel misery began a day earlier in parts of the South, where a rare white Christmas came with reports of dozens of car crashes.

The Northeast is expected to get the brunt of the storm. Forecasters issued a blizzard warning for New York City for Sunday and Monday, with a forecast of 14 to 18 inches of snow and strong winds that will reduce visibility to near zero at times. A blizzard warning was also in effect for Rhode Island and most of eastern Massachusetts including Boston, with forecasters predicting 15 to 20 inches of snow. A blizzard warning is issued when snow is accompanied by sustained winds or gusts over 35 mph.

As much as 18 inches could fall on the New Jersey shore with wind gusts over 40 mph.

On Long Island, Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano said more than 250 pieces of snow-clearing equipment were ready to roll and arrangements were in place to ensure nurses and doctors make it to hospitals.

“If we really have this blizzard like, blinding like conditions, we really advise people not to go out in it,” Mangano told WPIX-TV. “You shouldn’t be taking your life into your hands to go to a store.”

The National Weather Service warned late Saturday that the blizzard would eliminate visibility at times, with strong winds gusting up to 55 mph causing considerable blowing and drifting of snow.

More than 800 flights had been canceled as of Sunday morning at New York’s LaGuardia and John F. Kennedy International Airport and at Newark Liberty International Airport, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey said.

Most carriers were waiving fees for one-time changes in affected areas and urging passengers to make changes through their websites.

The monster storm is the result of a low pressure system that will intensify off the North Carolina coast on Sunday morning and strengthen into a major storm as it moves northeast, according to the National Weather Service.

{CBS/AP/Agencies/Matzav.com}

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