(Bloomberg) -- A powerful winter storm is whipping the U.S. Northeast with high winds, crashing surf, and quickly piling up snow on the country’s major transportation routes, while canceling flights and leaving thousands without power.
New York City had close to 5 inches of snow in places by Saturday morning and another 2 to 4 inches could fall in the next few hours, said Marc Chenard, a senior branch forecaster with the U.S. Weather Prediction Center. Along coastal New Jersey, reports have been logged of more than 15 inches and in central Long Island east at least 10 inches has fallen.
It will keep snowing throughout the day.
Boston is on track to get close to two feet or more, Chenard said. Winds have started to pick up, the worst along Cape Cod where gusts are approaching 60 miles per hour. Blizzard conditions could prevail from New Jersey to Maine and the storm is set to intensify rapidly.
“Travel will be difficult at best, to impossible in areas,” Chenard said. “It is still strengthening and it has a ways to go.”
Planes, Trains, Grids
The storm is raking Interstate 95, a major highway linking the U.S. East Coast, which is also paralleled by the Northeast Corridor rail line and home to some of the country’s busiest airports. All forms of transportation through the area have suffered.
By early Saturday morning, the storm hadn’t done much damage to electric grids. However, at least 14,700 customers were without power in Virginia, Delaware, and hardest hit, Massachusetts, according to PowerOutage.us, a website that tracks blackouts.
Since Friday, more than 5,600 flights were canceled around the U.S., according to FlightAware, an airline tracking service. The majority of those were in New York, Boston, Newark, Philadelphia and Washington. States of emergency were declared in many areas across the region including in New York and New Jersey.
On the ground, Amtrak has canceled all high-speed Acela trains between Washington, New York and Boston and is running a modified schedule for Northeast Regional trains south of Manhattan.
The Long Island Rail Road has suspended service Saturday, while Metro-North, which runs north of New York into Connecticut will have a reduced schedule, the agency said in a statement. City subway and bus services could experience delays.
New Jersey Transit has canceled bus and Access Link services for now. Other lines are operating on weekend schedules where they can.
“If you have to go out, you will be able to drive in New York City -- I strongly recommend you don’t,” said Edward Grayson, commissioner of the sanitation department.
In Boston, Mayor Michelle Wu declared a snow emergency and opened 24-hour shelters. New Jersey declared a state of emergency starting at 5 p.m. Friday in preparation for what Governor Phil Murphy called “a significant statewide snow event.” New York State followed suit at 8 p.m.
In addition to the warnings and watches that stretch all along the U.S. East Coast, Environment and Climate Change Canada is also warning residents in its eastern Maritime Provinces to prepare.
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