The Northeast was bracing Sunday for a monstrous winter storm that could trigger massive power outages and slam the brakes on air traffic and rush hours from Philadelphia deep into New England.
New York City could see up to 20 inches of snow Monday into Tuesday, the National Weather Service predicted. Parts of New England could see 2 feet or more. High winds could cause whiteout conditions, bring down power lines and otherwise aggravate the weather disaster.
“This could be the biggest snowstorm in the history of this city,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a Sunday press conference. “My message for New Yorkers is prepare for something worse than we have ever seen before.”
Blizzard warnings were already in place in the New York City area, much of New Jersey and parts of southern New England.
“It’s one thing to get a foot or more of snow,” AccuWeather senior meteorologist Tom Kines told USA TODAY. “You throw in 30 to 40 mile-per-hour winds and it’s a recipe for disaster.”
American, Delta, JetBlue, Southwest and US Airways were among many airlines that announced winter-weather waivers Sunday. Most will allow passengers flying to or through the Northeast to make one itinerary change without paying a change fee.
Major airports expected to see disruptive snow totals include New York JFK, New York LaGuardia, Newark Liberty, Philadelphia, Boston and most airports in New England. Still to be determined: The impact of a ripple effect of canceled and delayed flights across the nation.
The weather threatened to snarl land traffic as well, Kines said.
“Monday night and Tuesday rush hours could be horrible — if there even is a Tuesday rush hour,” Kines said.
The weather service warned of heavy snow and strong wind — “even blizzard conditions are possible.” The weather service labels a snow storm a blizzard when winds reach 35 mph and blowing snow reduces visibility to less than a quarter of a mile.
“New York will get hit real good late Monday and Monday night,” Kines warned. “Boston, tomorrow night and into Tuesday. There is going to be a large area that gets close to or more than a foot of snow.”
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SOURCE: USA Today