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North Easter hammering east coast with blizzard, with New England ready for the heaviest snow

More than 10 million people in some coastal areas from Virginia to New England are under snowstorm warnings - meaning heavy snow and strong winds, with predicted gusts of up to 70 mph in some areas, will provide terrible visibility and dangerous travel.

Some governments in the Northeast have banned travel by vehicle for parts of the day, including Rhode Island until 1 p.m. 20.00, with a tractor-trailer ban until midnight. And many encourage people to stay home.

"Snap down for 24 hours, and sometime tomorrow, you'll be able to go out again and resume some of your normal activities," said Tom Guthlein, Rhode Island's executive director of emergency management, early Saturday.

More than 1 foot of snow could fall Sunday morning from Long Island through Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine, CNN forecasts said.

And Boston, eastern Massachusetts and parts of Maine could get more than 2 feet of snow. It could threaten Boston's record of one-day snowfall - 23.6 inches - set on February 17, 2003. Snow can fall at speeds of 2 to 4 inches per hour in some places.

Some areas are also under warnings of coastal floods and face the possibility of power outages from broken-down supply lines.

Winter Storm Timeline: When select cities should expect to face the effects of Easter

The blizzard warnings in coastal areas from Virginia to New England ruled out Philadelphia and New York City - but the snow still hits those cities, with almost a foot possible in each.

Notable places in the warning are Ocean City, Maryland; Atlantic City, New Jersey; the eastern half of New York's Long Island; Cape Cod, Massachusetts; Boston; and Portland, Maine.

Nearly 55 million people stretching from the Mid-Atlantic to New England were on Saturday morning during some form of winter weather.

"Historically Great Winter Storm for Eastern New England"

Travel will be difficult to impossible due to whiteout conditions created by the heavy snow and strong winds, the National Weather Service predicted. In a snowstorm, snow is accompanied by gusts above 35 mph for more than three hours, creating visibility of less than a quarter of a mile.

"The strong to damaging winds will lead to scattered power outages," the NWS warned.

How to drive safely on ice and snow

There is "high confidence" that this will be a "historically large winter storm for eastern New England," with widespread snowfall of 1-2 feet, the National Weather Service said Friday night.

Plus, extremely cold temperatures and coastal floods are possible, the Weather Prediction Center warned.

"Coastal flooding is a concern thanks to astronomical highs on Saturday," the Boston Weather Service said. "The combination of strong northeast winds and high seas will bring storm surges that, if they coincide with high tides, will lead to minor or moderate coastal floods."

The difference in storm timing - even as few as six hours - would make a huge difference in the impact on coastal floods and erosion problems.

More than 3,500 flights within, in or out of the United States have been canceled on Saturday, according to FlightAware.

These northeastern states expected to see the worst of it

Eastern Massachusetts, including Boston, will carry the bulk of the system, as forecast models predict between 18 to 24 inches of snow combined with gusts up to 70 mph.

Two to 4 inches per hour can drop in Boston, with conditions likely to peak between 6 p.m. 8 and 17 Saturday. Similar snow and wind forecasts are in place for Rhode Island.

Boston declared a "snow emergency" that began Friday at 7 p.m. 21.00

"This has the potential to become a historic storm, a huge storm," said Boston Mayor Michelle Wu. "This is likely to be an intense, dangerous storm with heavy snow, high winds and white conditions."

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation implemented a travel ban on large trucks on interstate highways for Saturday due to the harsh winter weather.

The entry ban came into force on Saturday morning and will go until midnight for tractor trailers, tandems and hauliers with special permits. " said MassDOT.

Rhode Island Governor Daniel McKee declared a state of emergency ahead of the storm and took precautions a step further by signing a travel ban that begins Saturday morning and runs until 6 p.m. 20.00 due to white conditions.

Some of the heaviest snow is expected to fall in parts of New Hampshire, Maine and Long Island - where 12 to 24 inches of snow are expected.

The blizzard-like conditions have led Amtrak to cancel train service on Saturday for various routes, including the Acela service between Washington, DC and Boston as well as regional service between Boston and New York, the company said Friday.

A driver for food delivery by bike rides in the snow Friday in New York City.

Tri-state area, Pennsylvania and Delaware

Meanwhile, the governors of New York and New Jersey also declared a state of emergency.

New York City can get 6 to 12 inches of snow with gusts of 45 mph, while 14 inches can pile up elsewhere in New York State as well as Connecticut, where gusts can be as strong as 55 mph, CNN meteorologists and the weather service predicted.

1,500 U.S. flights have been canceled on Saturday as the winter storm is set to hit the east coast

The impact in New York City will peak from kl. 5 to 6 p.m. 16 Saturday.

As a safety precaution, all Long Island Rail Road service was suspended Saturday morning, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority said.

On the other side of the Hudson River, northeastern New Jersey could see 7 to 10 inches of snow, with gusts up to 45 mph.

Southern New Jersey can see up to 18 inches of snow, and projections are similar in southern Delaware, according to the NWS.

The Philadelphia area of ​​eastern Pennsylvania is also expected to receive 4 to 11 inches of snow.

Maryland, Virginia, the Carolinas and elsewhere

The governors of Maryland and Virginia issued state of emergency in their states, where a snowstorm warning is in effect in some areas through Saturday night.

Between 8 and 12 inches of snow can pile up in parts of southeastern Maryland and eastern and southeastern Virginia, where winds are expected to blow as high as 50 mph.

Parts of inner North Carolina and South Carolina received more than 2 inches of snow, with larger amounts in the mountains of North Carolina.

Parts of Tennessee, Kentucky and West Virginia have also received more than 4 inches of snow.

CNN's Haley Brink and Melissa Alonso contributed to this report.

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