* Thousands of flights canceled ahead of storm
* High winds, up to two feet of snow forecast
(Adds additional flights canceled, schools closed, state of
emergency in Virginia)
By Daniel Trotta and Scott Malone
NEW YORK/BOSTON, March 13 A fast-moving winter
storm bringing up to two feet of snow was expected to hit the
northeastern United States, forecasters warned on Monday,
prompting airlines to cancel thousands of flights and some
mayors to order schools to close on Tuesday.
The National Weather Service issued blizzard warnings for
parts of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York and Connecticut,
with forecasts calling for up to 2 feet (60 cm) of snow by early
Wednesday, with temperatures 15 to 30 degrees below normal for
this time of year.
Some 50 million people along the Eastern Seaboard were under
storm or blizzard warnings and watches.
"When this thing hits, it's going to hit hard and it's going
to put a ton of snow on the ground in a hurry," Massachusetts
Governor Charlie Baker told reporters on Monday. He urged people
to consider working from home if they could.
"It's going to snow hard and fast for a long period of time.
It will create whiteout conditions," Baker said.
Airlines preemptively canceled more than 4,000 flights ahead
of the storm, according to tracking service FlightAware.com. The
airports with the most cancellations were Newark International
Airport in New Jersey and Boston Logan International Airport.
American Airlines canceled all flights into New
York's three metropolitan area airports, Newark, LaGuardia
Airport and John F. Kennedy International Airport, and JetBlue
Airways reported extensive cancellations.
Delta Air Lines canceled 800 flights for Tuesday for
New York, Boston and other northeast airports, and United
Airlines said it would have no operations at Newark or
"We’re keeping a close eye on things and depending on how
things go, will plan to ramp back up Wednesday morning," United
said in a statement.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo declared a state of
emergency, and New York City, Boston and Providence, Rhode
Island, canceled public school sessions for Tuesday in
anticipation of the storm.
GERMAN LEADER POSTPONES VISIT
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who was due to meet
President Donald Trump in Washington on Tuesday, postponed her
trip until Friday, the White House said.
The storm comes near the end of an unusually mild winter
along much of the East Coast, with below-normal snowfalls in
cities such as New York City and Washington, D.C.
Boston was braced for up to a foot (30 cm) of snow, which
forecasters warned would fall quickly during the storm's
expected peak on Tuesday, making travel dangerous.
"During its height we could see snowfall rates of 1 to 3
inches (2.5-7.6 cm), even up to 4 inches (10 cm) per hour," said
Alan Dunham, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service
in Taunton, Massachusetts.
Winds were forecast to gust up to 60 mph (100 kph) in
places, with the potential to cause power outages and coastal
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey readied
hundreds of pieces of snow equipment at the three major New York
area airports. Thousands of tons of salt and sand were prepared
for airport roads, parking lots, bridges and tunnels.
The United Nations headquarters said it would close on
Tuesday, but the New York Stock Exchange vowed to remain open
for the tiny fraction of trades that still take place on the
trading room floor on Wall Street.
The storm's wrath was expected to be felt as far south as
Virginia, where Governor Terry McAuliffe declared a state of
emergency ahead of its arrival.
Washington, which often bogs down with even low levels of
snow, was expecting 5 inches (13 cm) and twice that in outlying
(Additional reporting by Laila Kearney, Peter Szekely, Michelle
Nichols and Alana Wise in New York, Nate Raymond in Boston and
Timothy Mclaughlin in Chicago; Writing by Scott Malone and Dan
Whitcomb; Editing by Toni Reinhold and Cynthia Osterman)