America

50 Million People In Path Of Potentially Historic Blizzard

  • People walk through Times Square as a major winter storm moves in on Friday in New York City. Snow and freezing rain fell over Midtown Manhattan as the city braced for the major storm.
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    People walk through Times Square as a major winter storm moves in on Friday in New York City. Snow and freezing rain fell over Midtown Manhattan as the city braced for the major storm.
    John Moore/Getty Images
  • A snowman sits on the duck pond in the Boston Common as snow falls in Boston.
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    A snowman sits on the duck pond in the Boston Common as snow falls in Boston.
    Jared Wickerham/Getty Images
  • Riders wait in a bus stop where color-tinted windows collect snow during a storm in Portland, Maine. The storm sweeping into Maine already has dumped half a foot of snow around Portland, and contributed to a 19-car pileup.
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    Riders wait in a bus stop where color-tinted windows collect snow during a storm in Portland, Maine. The storm sweeping into Maine already has dumped half a foot of snow around Portland, and contributed to a 19-car pileup.
    Robert F. Bukaty/AP
  • Andre Tranchemantague (left) and Will Guerette ski to a bar during the early stages of the snowstorm in Portland.
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    Andre Tranchemantague (left) and Will Guerette ski to a bar during the early stages of the snowstorm in Portland.
    Robert F. Bukaty/AP
  • Trying to stay warm, a woman in New York City clung on to her hood Friday.
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    Trying to stay warm, a woman in New York City clung on to her hood Friday.
    Justin Lane/EPA/Landov
  • Men fill up a gas tank at a fueling station in Queens, N.Y. Blizzard warnings were in effect from New Jersey through southern Maine, with Boston expected to bear the brunt of the massive storm that could set records.
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    Men fill up a gas tank at a fueling station in Queens, N.Y. Blizzard warnings were in effect from New Jersey through southern Maine, with Boston expected to bear the brunt of the massive storm that could set records.
    Shannon Stapleton/Reuters/Landov
  • Rasmus Thomsen of Denmark works on his computer as he waits at Boston's Logan International Airport after flights were canceled or delayed.
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    Rasmus Thomsen of Denmark works on his computer as he waits at Boston's Logan International Airport after flights were canceled or delayed.
    Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Reuters/Landov
  • Kevin Quick plows a slushy mix in front of a bank during the storm in Buffalo, N.Y. In some parts of upstate New York, snow fell early Friday morning and was expected to increase throughout the day, with the heaviest accumulations expected in eastern New York on Friday night.
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    Kevin Quick plows a slushy mix in front of a bank during the storm in Buffalo, N.Y. In some parts of upstate New York, snow fell early Friday morning and was expected to increase throughout the day, with the heaviest accumulations expected in eastern New York on Friday night.
    David Duprey/AP
  • Jack Percoco reaches into depleted shelves for milk at a supermarket in Somerville, Mass.
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    Jack Percoco reaches into depleted shelves for milk at a supermarket in Somerville, Mass.
    Elise Amendola/AP
  • A warning sign flashes for motorists on the expressway into Boston as snow starts to fall on Friday.
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    A warning sign flashes for motorists on the expressway into Boston as snow starts to fall on Friday.
    Elise Amendola/AP

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(We'll be updating this post; most recently at 6:30 p.m. ET.)

Add up the populations in areas that the National Weather Service is warning will get at least 1 to 2 feet of snow starting Friday afternoon and you quickly see just how serious the situation will be.

About 50 million people are in the potentially historic storm's path.

Blizzard and winter storm warnings cover an area from Pennsylvania and New Jersey up through all of New York state and east through New England. And according to the Weather Service:

"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."

It's probably no surprise that schools, government offices and businesses across the area are closed or closing early. Trying to get to the region today? Good luck. Airlines are canceling flights. Amtrak won't be running north from New York City or south from Boston starting early Friday afternoon.

As WBUR reports, the simple advice from Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick (D) is to stay home. Our colleagues at WNYC have a "complete guide to getting snowed in" for anyone looking for advice on such things as "essential snow day snacking."

Power outages, of course, are a major concern. The storm's timing, though, is relatively fortunate. At least work crews will have a weekend, when commuters are off the roads, to get streets cleared and power lines reconnected.

Good luck to all those in the way of this storm. We'll keep an eye on things and update as warranted.

Update at 6:30 p.m. ET. Heavy Snow, Power Outages:

Snow is now bearing down on New England and The Boston Globe reports there are already 5,000 without power.

Meteorologist Mark Rosenthal told WBUR that "it's going to be a wild night."

He said he expected the storm to start winding down Saturday morning.

Update at 1:15 p.m. ET. We're Always Looking For Fun Photos, Videos, Etc.:

If you're stuck in the snow the next day or two and looking for things to do, consider applying your snow sculpture and social media skills. Slideshows, videos, etc., of your creations or the accumulating snow could be great. And tell us in the comments thread or on the NPR Facebook page about good ones you produce or see.

We suspect many of you can do much better than this blogger did back in December 2009 and February 2010. A bigger challenge might be to match what Michael Black of New Jersey put together back then.

Update at 1 p.m. ET. In Massachusetts, Travel Ban At 4 p.m. ET; In Connecticut 'Things Are Starting To Accumulate':

Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick (D) tweets that he has "signed an Executive Order banning vehicles on the road effective at 4 p.m. today." (His order is posted here.) States and localities across the affected area are declaring states of emergency. The Hartford Courant says that in Connecticut, "Gov. Dannel P. Malloy [D] declared a state of emergency Friday and said he is coordinating with state officials in New York and Massachusetts about whether to close highways as a potentially crippling snow storm moved into the region. ... 'Things are starting to accumulate,' Malloy said, explaining that cars getting stuck on highways would be problematic and slow down the cleanup process."

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