Widespread power outages and major air traffic disruptions are feared throughout the north-east of the US as a massive winter storm that could dump three feet of snow bears down on the region.
A blizzard warning has been issued for New York and Boston and more than 1,800 flights have been cancelled before a snowflake has touched the ground — a good indication of the anticipated severity of the storm.
“This could be a storm the likes of which we have never seen before,” New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a news conference on Sunday. “Don't underestimate this storm. Prepare for the worst.”
New York City could see up to 20 inches of snow from Monday into Tuesday, the weather service predicted. Parts of New England could see two feet or more. High winds could cause "whiteout" conditions, bring down power lines and otherwise aggravate the weather disaster.
“It's one thing to get a foot or more of snow,” AccuWeather senior meteorologist Tom Kines told USA Today. “You throw in 30 to 40 mile-per-hour winds and it's a recipe for disaster.”
The weather service warned of heavy snow and strong wind — “even blizzard conditions are possible.” The weather service labels a snow storm a blizzard when winds reach 35 mph and blowing snow reduces visibility to less than a quarter of a mile.
Boston was expected to get 18 to 24 inches and Philadelphia could get 14 to 18 inches, the weather services said. The area around Washington D.C is not expected to get more than a coating.