(NEW YORK) — The East Coast is bracing for a weekend snow storm stretching from the Carolinas to Maine, with blizzard conditions expected in several areas.
The snow, set to begin Friday night and last into Saturday evening in many parts, may hit especially hard in Boston, where Mayor Michelle Wu warned, “This has the potential to be a historic storm.”
With up to 2 feet of snow expected, Wu declared a snow emergency and warned residents to stay home.
“It’s going to be a big one,” Wu told reporters Friday.
“I’m very relieved that this is happening on a Saturday,” Wu said, adding that she expects schools to be open on Monday.
Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker urged people to take the storm “seriously” and stay off the roads Saturday unless necessary due to dangerous travel conditions.
“This is going to be a very big storm, probably one of the biggest we’ve experienced in the last few years,” he said during a Friday evening press briefing.
Blizzard conditions are expected in coastal areas, with 2 to 4 inches of snow per hour forecast from10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday — “basically whiteout conditions,” Baker said.
The state is deploying approximately 40 members of the National Guard to help with high-water rescues and stranded drivers if needed, the governor said.
Blizzard warnings are in effect from coastal Virginia up to Maine, including Atlantic City, Long Island, Connecticut, Boston and Portland. This marks the first blizzard warning for Boston and the Jersey Shore in four years.
Some 1,300 flights in the U.S. were canceled on Friday, and 3,100 more have been for Saturday.
By Saturday morning, heavy snow will be falling from Virginia to New England. Snowfall rates of 1 to 2 inches per hour are expected. Around Cape Cod and Long Island, snowfall rates may reach 2 to 4 inches per hour. The light and fluffy nature of this snow likely will help it pile up even faster.
The latest forecast has 1 to 2 feet of snow for Boston, 6 to 12 inches for New York City and Connecticut, 4 to 8 inches for Philadelphia and 1 to 3 inches for Washington, D.C.
Whiteout conditions and blinding wind gusts over 60 mph are expected, which will make travel extremely dangerous in the Northeast on Saturday.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan and Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin, have declared states of emergency and urged residents to stay off the roads.
There’s also the possibility of coastal flooding, from Maryland to New Jersey and into parts of Long Island and New England. With wind gusts forecast to be over 50 mph for many areas from Maine to New Jersey, the strong winds could blow ocean water onto the shore and create flooding.
The federal government plans to monitor the storm’s impacts “to ensure that we are prepared to support any needs for federal assistance that may arise in your community,” Homeland Security Adviser Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall said in a statement.
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