More than 35 million people along the Philadelphia-to-Boston corridor rushed to get home and settle in Monday as a fearsome storm swirled in with the potential for hurricane-force winds and 1 to 3 feet of snow that could paralyze the Northeast for days.
Snow was blowing sideways with ever-increasing intensity in New York City by midafternoon as flurries began in Boston. Forecasters said the storm would build into a blizzard, and the brunt of it would hit Monday evening and into Tuesday.
As the storm closed in, much of the region rushed to shut down. More than 5,800 flights in and out of the Northeast were canceled, and many of them may not take off again until Wednesday. Schools and businesses let out early. Government offices closed. Shoppers stocking up on food jammed supermarkets. Broadway stages went dark.
Snow and adverse weather conditions affect daily life in New York, United States on January 26, 2015. (Cem Ozdel/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
“This is a top-five historic storm, and we should treat it as such,” Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R) said Monday.
The governors of Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York all declared states of emergency on Monday ahead of the storm.
More from the Associated Press:
And cities mobilized snowplows and salt spreaders to deal with a dangerously windy blast that could instantly make up for what has been a largely snow-free winter in the urban Northeast.
All too aware that big snowstorms can make or break politicians, governors and mayors moved quickly to declare emergencies and order the shutdown of highways, streets and commuter railroads — perhaps for days — to prevent travelers from getting stranded and to enable plows and emergency vehicles to get through.
“It is not a regular storm,” New York Mayor Bill de Blasio warned in ordering city streets closed to all but emergency vehicles beginning at 11 p.m. “What you are going to see in a few hours is something that hits very hard and very fast.”
Boston was expected to get 2 to 3 feet of snow, New York 1½ to 2 feet, and Philadelphia more than a foot. The National Weather Service issued a blizzard warning for a 250-mile swath of the region, meaning heavy, blowing snow and potential whiteout conditions.
(NOAA/National Weather Service)
On the snowy Metro-North commuter train platform in White Plains, New York, postal worker Peter Hovey said he will be playing it safe when he has to deliver packages on Tuesday.
“If you’re telling me the trains might not run tomorrow, I’m telling you this: I’m not driving,” he said. “It’s going to be ridiculous out there, frightening.”
CJ Harvey, 18, works crowd control at Trader Joe's. She says line was down the block at 7 am. @DNAinfo pic.twitter.com/2MGVokpX8a
— Rosa Goldensohn (@RosaGoldensohn) January 26, 2015
Connecticut Governor Dan Malloy issued a travel ban for the entire state in advance of the blizzard. The ban will begin at 9PM eastern.
#Blizzard Warnings remain in effect for ~30 million people along coastal areas from NJ to ME: http://t.co/vT29JlRubR pic.twitter.com/FNdfvIQK2x
— NWS (@NWS) January 26, 2015
#BREAKING: @BostonLogan says no flights after 7p Monday. Anticipated re-opening late Wednesday.
— WCVB-TV Boston (@WCVB) January 26, 2015
LA Times reports:
New Yorkers jammed checkout aisles to buy food, water, batteries and snow shovels Sunday after Mayor Bill de Blasio said thousands of workers were preparing for “one of the top two or three largest storms in the history of this city.
In Morningside Heights in Manhattan, shoppers clogged Westside Market’s narrow aisles, and checkout lines stretched 20 deep. “It’s chaos,” manager Nick Glenis said. “You might need shoulder pads today. It’s full-contact shopping.”
Read more here.
Today's Weather: Major #noreaster expected to bring hvy snow, blizzard conditions to Northeast http://t.co/vT29JlRubR pic.twitter.com/lY3jv6Vb40
— NWS (@NWS) January 26, 2015