Blizzard warnings are issued as the Northeast faces a massive winter storm
Updated January 28, 2022 at 11:37 PM ET
Snow was starting to pile up along the East Coast on Friday night as a major winter will bring feet of snow and blizzard conditions to part of New England this weekend.
The National Weather Service warned the winter storm is expected to "intensify rapidly" over the next 24 hours, bringing up to two feet of snow to some parts of the Northeast.
"It's going to be a big one," Boston Mayor Michelle Wu said in a news conference Friday. "This has the potential to be a historic storm. A huge one."
A winter storm warning was in effect Friday from Virginia to Maine, according to the National Weather Service and blizzard warnings warnings extended along the Atlantic Coast. Lighter snow fell to the south earlier Friday, including Washington, D.C., Baltimore and Philadelphia, before the evening commute and intensified farther north later Friday.
On Friday afternoon, the blizzard warning was expanded to cover all of Rhode Island, southern Delaware and parts of Long Island. Coastal areas are expected to see some of the highest accumulations.
As of Friday night, more than 75 million people across 10 states were under winter weather alerts.
Wu declared a snow emergency for Boston earlier Friday. In anticipation of heavy accumulations of snow and high winds, Wu announced a parking ban that will take effect at 9 p.m. on Friday. Under the ban, vehicles parked on major roads and "main arteries" will be towed.
More than 6,800 flights scheduled for Friday and Saturday were canceled as of late Friday night, according to FlightAware, a flight tracking platform.
In Boston, which could see more than 18 inches of snow this weekend, at least 93% of flights out of Logan International Airport on Saturday had been canceled. At LaGuardia Airport in New York, 97% of Saturday's flights have were canceled.
Meanwhile, more than 500 JetBlue flights and more than 450 American Airlines flights across the U.S. scheduled for Saturday had been canceled as of late Friday night.
Cities in the warning areas began preparations as early as Thursday. Boston has more 38,000 tons of salt and more than 850 pieces of equipment to use on local streets, Wu said in a statement.
Gov. Kathy Hochul's advice to New Yorkers on Friday was "Just stay home." The state's Transportation Department has more than 1,500 large snowplows on hand. The Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services is prepared to deploy generators and sandbags, among other items.
"We are monitoring forecasts and making emergency response preparations for whatever this storm system throws our way," Hochul said in a news release.
Farther up the coast, the Maine Emergency Management Agency also encouraged motorists to stay off the roads. Gov. Janet Mills urged people to "be mindful of road crews and emergency responders."
Powerful winds and blowing snow could create low visibility, making for "hazardous conditions," said Peter Rogers, director of the Maine Emergency Management Agency.
With subfreezing temperatures expected, it's a good idea to keep blankets, extra layers, hats and gloves in the car. And if you get caught in a storm, experts encourage you to stay in your car.
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