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Winter storm guards and warnings issued as East Coast prepares for North Easter and blizzard

Winter storm guards and warnings have been issued for a large stretch of the U.S. East Coast ahead of a powerful Nor'easter to hit in the coming hours. The coastal region, which stretches from eastern Maryland through Maine, is expected to see the most snowfall, with one to two feet of snow - or more - possible in parts of New England, according to the National Weather Service.

It could be the biggest North Easter in years and is expected to hit Friday night through Saturday.

"Numerous hazards are likely to range from heavy snow, with significant accumulations across eastern Long Island / New England, to gusts of wind and coastal problems," forecasters said Friday. "In fact, the combination of snow and wind can result in blizzards."

Parts of New Jersey, Maine, Massachusetts and Maryland are under snowstorm warnings, meaning severe winter weather - including whiteout conditions - is seen or expected within the next 12 to 36 hours.

Snowstorm conditions are not related to snow total, but are due to wind and visibility, reports CBS Boston. People are advised not to travel under this warning.

More than 2,300 U.S. flights were canceled on Friday and 3,700 were canceled for Saturday, according to FlightAware.

Northeast prepares for massive winter storm 01:49

The governors of Virginia, Maryland, New York, New Jersey and Rhode Island have declared a state of emergency, and Boston Mayor Michelle Wu has declared a snow emergency for the city. Meanwhile, Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont said he will ban tractor trailers from the roads from kl. 6 on Saturday.

The NHL announced late Friday that the New York Islanders' game against the Seattle Kraken - scheduled for Saturday at the UBS Arena on Long Island - will be postponed until Wednesday.

In Boston, where a snowstorm warning was issued, residents are gearing up - the area could be hit by about two meters of snow. The last time the city had a blizzard was nearly four years ago, according to CBS Boston. This weekend's Nor'easter could even break Boston's January record for biggest snowstorm in the city's recorded history.

And about 40 minutes from Boston, the city of Scituate, Massachusetts, is encouraging volunteer evacuations while handing out sandbags and preparing emergency vehicles, Mola Lenghi reported to "CBS Mornings."

Meanwhile, the storm in New Jersey could also break records. According to Accuweather, the 10 to 15 inches of snow that have been predicted could make Atlantic City's snow-covered January in history. This is the first time New Jersey has been under a snowstorm warning since 2018.

Across the region, snow plows are ready to go, but many clean-up crews are working with reduced staff, including coronavirus pandemic. For example, a local crew works with only half of the usual team, which means it can take longer for the roads to be cleared.

Cities and states much further south can also experience storm surges. Winter weather advice has been issued for parts of Kentucky, West Virginia, the Carolinas and Virginia. During a warning, potentially dangerous weather occurs or is expected.

Officials are urging people to monitor the storm and be prepared as it continues to move. After the storm, "bitter cold air" is expected.

Cast: Sarah Lynch Baldwin

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