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US Northeast Braces for Heavy Winter Storm

  • VOA News

Women carry shopping bags through the falling snow from a grocery store in Cranberry, Pennsylvania, Jan. 26, 2015.

Women carry shopping bags through the falling snow from a grocery store in Cranberry, Pennsylvania, Jan. 26, 2015.

A massive snowstorm expected to cripple much of the northeastern U.S. over the next two days began hitting major metropolitan areas from Washington, DC to Boston on Monday.

The brunt of the storm missed the nation's capital, but farther north, the states of New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts declared snow emergencies. Tens of millions of people were urged to stay home as Amtrak reduced train service in the busy Northeast Corridor and airlines canceled hundreds of flights in anticipation of blizzard conditions Monday night into early Wednesday.

As much as 90 centimeters of snow was expected to fall in the upper regions of the Northeast, accompanied by near hurricane-force winds and coastal flooding.

Across the region, store shelves were cleared out as residents scrambled to pick up supplies including food, shovels and electricity generators, while preparing for the possibility of a few days spent indoors.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said the storm could be one of the worst the city has ever faced, topping a list that goes back to 1872. Officials throughout the region warned people to expect widespread power outages, possibly for several days.

New York's Governor Andrew Cuomo ordered a complete travel ban, starting late Monday night, for more than a dozen counties around New York City.

Boston Mayor Martin Walsh urged people to help one another.

"We ask that each and every single Boston resident look after their neighbor, be it someone you see outdoors or someone living next door," he said.

The worst of the storm in the Northeast was expected overnight Monday. But forecasters warned it might not stop snowing until Wednesday morning.

In Washington, the U.S. House of Representatives canceled votes scheduled for Monday night and Tuesday. The United Nations in New York closed early on Monday and was to remain closed on Tuesday. All Broadway theater productions in Manhattan were to shut down Monday night.

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