Blizzard sweeps up U.S. East Coast

Dec. 26, 2010 at 8:08 PM

PHILADELPHIA, Dec. 26 (UPI) -- A blizzard barreled up the U.S. East Coast Sunday, snarling road and air travel.

At Boston's Logan airport, many flights were canceled, and Delta and JetBlue shut down hours earlier than usual, The Boston Globe reported.

By 6 p.m., 1,444 flights had been canceled at the three major New York airports, Steve Coleman, a spokesman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, told The New York Times.

Continental said it halted its operations at its main hub, Newark, at 3 p.m. Speed limits on parts of the New Jersey Turnpike were lowered to 35 mph, The Star-Ledger of Newark reported.

In New York City, sanitation crews scheduled 12-hour split shifts, with 365 salt spreaders and 1,600 plows ready to clear main streets for the Monday morning commute, WNYC reported.

Post-Christmas shopping appeared slower than normal at some city stores. The week between Christmas and New Year's is critical for many retailers.

In the Philadelphia area, the National Weather Service extended the winter weather warning until 1 p.m. Monday.

From New York up to Portland, Maine, blizzard conditions are expected to last into Monday. More than a foot of snow is forecast.

Connecticut is expecting 10 to 20 inches, and Gov. M. Jodi Rell is opening the emergency operations center in Hartford, The Hartford Courant reported.

Winds gusting above 40 mph are forecast to create whiteouts from New Jersey north into Canada.

Meteorologists call this type of a storm a "bomb," caused by crashing atmospheric pressure and resultant fierce winds.

Much less snow is expected west of the storm track in areas such as Baltimore; Washington.; Reading, Pa.; Scranton, Pa., and Binghamton, N.Y., but winds cycling westward may bring blizzards to

Albany, N.Y., Vermont and New Hampshire.

The storm also is likely to cause coastal flooding and power outages due to strong winds.

Earlier, winter storm warnings were issued across parts of the Tennessee Valley and the interior South through the Appalachians.

On Saturday night, snow stretched from northern Alabama and Georgia to the Carolinas and Virginia, with rain to the south.

Accuweather.com forecasters said travel will become nearly impossible from Philadelphia northward from late Sunday into early Monday. The forecasters said Interstate 95 and other roads could wind up being shut down.

Air travel also is expected to be severely affected in the region with ripple effects across the country.

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