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Winter Storm Live Updates: Eastern Massachusetts will be hit hard, says expert

As dawn approached on Saturday, a severe winter storm began to hit eastern Massachusetts after bringing snow and fresh wind to New York City's metropolitan area and parts of New England.

The governors of New York, New Jersey, and Virginia issued emergency declarations prior to the storm's arrival Friday night, and more than 5,000 flights were canceled up and down the coast, many of them at Boston airports and around New York City.

There were no major reports of damage or power outages across the Northeast from 6 p.m. National Weather Service office on Long Island - where snowfall in total more than 16 inches was predicted in Nassau and Suffolk Counties - said that about an inch had fallen there at.

Blizzard warnings were in effect for a wide swath of the east coast. And people across the region were preparing for a day of freezing temperatures, heavy snowfall, treacherous travel conditions and the potential for extensive power outages.

Four hours before dawn, the National Weather Service predicted that heavy snow speeds and strong winds would combine to produce "dangerous snowstorm conditions" across coastal parts of New England and the Mid-Atlantic on Saturday. It said travel in these areas would be "almost impossible" under whiteout conditions.

The storm was expected to disappear before Sunday, but not before it dumped more than a foot of snow along coastal areas in the northeast and two feet or more in parts of eastern Massachusetts.

"That's where the bull is," Bryce Williams, a meteorologist at the Weather Service office in Boston, said by phone just before 2 a.m. when snow piled up on his car in a nearby parking lot. Three hours later, he said two to four inches had been recorded along the coastal areas of Rhode Island and Massachusetts.

Mr. Williams said the heaviest snowfall in eastern Massachusetts would move in just after sunrise and stay around about 6 p.m. 16. He said eastern Massachusetts and parts of Rhode Island were likely to have the highest accumulations along the east coast on Saturday.

Cape Cod and the islands of Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard are likely to experience the strongest winds, potentially even gusts of hurricane force, he added. A flood warning was in effect off the east coast of Massachusetts Saturday morning.

In New York, Governor Kathy Hochul's emergency declaration for New York City, Long Island and Rockland and the Westchester Counties went into effect Friday night. Five to 10 inches of snow were expected in the city and center of the Hudson region.

As the storm moved through southern New England, the Weather Service said, areas of Massachusetts and Rhode Island could have whiteout conditions and as much as two to four inches of snow per hour. Mr. Williams said heavy snowfall combined with strong winds would increase the potential for power outages, especially for coastal areas of southeastern Massachusetts.

Aviation was in disarray even before the storm hit. Data from FlightAware, a website that tracks flights and the aviation industry, showed that many canceled flights on Saturday were scheduled to take off from Boston Logan International Airport and the three main aviation hubs for New York City: LaGuardia, John F. Kennedy and Newark Liberty .

Delta said Friday it would suspend operations at those airports until Sunday morning and restart them Sunday afternoon if conditions allowed.

In terms of road conditions, Mr. Williams from the Weather Service that snow, wind and low visibility would make it very difficult for anyone - including himself - who was planning to drive.

"If you do not have to be out walking, we try to say: Stay home for Sunday," he said. "Fortunately, Sunday looks quiet, so it will give us time for people to clean up and hopefully get back to normal at the start of the week."

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