Historic winter storm packs icy punch across the East Coast

JERSEY CITY, NJ – From Northern New Jersey through Southern Connecticut, the East Coast is under a blizzard warning because of a historic powerhouse storm that could affect up to 58 million people.

The National Weather Service is calling the storm a crippling and potentially historic blizzard, with up to three feet of snow expected in some parts of New York and Boston. Freezing rain and strong wind gusts could possibly reach up to 65 miles per hour, experts said.

The agency has issued blizzard and winter storm warnings from New Jersey to Maine and into Canada.

In New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has declared a state of emergency and has activated the National Guard. Cuomo also warned New Yorkers he may have to ban all travel, which include shutting down the region’s subway and rail systems.

“Our own information has confirmed that this is going to be a blizzard. It is a serious blizzard. It should not be taken lightly and it could affect health and safety,” Gov. Cuomo said.

Emergencies have also been declared in New Jersey, Massachusetts, and in Philadelphia.

“We don’t know how big a deal this will be, but I want to make sure we’re prepared. We have plenty of salt, plenty of trucks and backups, so we’re ready.”

Ahead of the storm, airlines canceled more than 3,000 flights scheduled for Monday and Tuesday.

In a few major northeast hubs, several airlines intend to shut down operations Tuesday. Major US airlines are offering free rebooking of flights for affected passengers. But the backlog is expected to make traveling a nightmare through the end of the week.

According to weather experts, power outages due to strong winds are expected. Officials urge commuters to work from home and to stay away from the treacherous roads. A number of school districts across the northeast have also closed.

“Everything we know so far makes clear we can’t underestimate this storm,” said New York Mayor Bill De Blasio. “This is not a typical storm. It’s going to pack a real punch.”

Authorities are advising residents to fill up their car gas tanks and stock up on food, make sure they have enough heating fuel and to prepare for the possibility of being stranded, possibly without power, for days.

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