Parts of the Northeast are bracing for as much as 2 feet of snow with fierce winds of up to 75 mph as a major blizzard is expected to bring near-record misery to the region.
The storm, whose effects will likely be felt as soon as Friday, could be the worst blizzard since 1978.
A major chunk of the nation, from Pennsylvania through New Jersey and metropolitan New York, then up through Maine, are already under a winter weather advisory, according to the National Weather Service.
“A major winter storm is expected to impact the Northeast and New England Friday into Saturday. As much as one to two feet of snow is forecast from the New York City metro area to Maine, with localized heavier amounts possible. This, in addition to wind gusts as high as 60-75 mph will create significant impacts to transportation and power. Coastal flooding is also possible from Boston northward,” the weather service warned.
Parts of the region could get in excess of 2 feet of snow, according to the weather service, though much of the area will get less. New York could receive as much as 6 to 12 inches, far less than Connecticut, where pockets of more than two feet are likely.
Though the region is used to dealing with snow, even the smaller amounts for New York City were expected to be more than enough to bury cars and turn streets into rivers of slush that could freeze overnight, making even walking a treacherous balancing exercise whose athleticism is worthy of the Olympics.
Officials warned people to be careful and began marshaling resources for the cleanup. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg was scheduled to meet with sanitation officials.
For some areas, the new storm could be nasty but is not expected to be as deadly as Hurricane Sandy was last fall. Still, utilities were not taking chances, ordering extra crews to be on alert in New York and on Long Island, where electrical power lines could again be brought down by the expected high winds.
Among other difficulties, according to the weather service, was a blizzard watch for parts of Massachusetts and Rhode Island, where snow and high winds often make travel especially difficult.
A coastal flooding watch also is in effect for Massachusetts, Connecticut and Long Island.