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'Crushed With Snow': 'Historic' Blizzard to Bomb Northeast

The New York City area was placed under a 35-hour blizzard warning beginning Monday afternoon, with more than 2 feet of snow expected to create "paralyzing, crippling" conditions, forecasters said Sunday. It's part of a storm system that's expected to pummel the Northeast from Philadelphia all the way to northern New England with potentially "historic" snow accumulations well into Tuesday night.

The National Weather Service estimated that 29 million people will come under the blizzard warning, and more than 3,100 flights scheduled for Monday and Tuesday were canceled in advance. The worst of it will be late Monday through Tuesday night, with blizzard conditions, damaging wind gusts to possibly hurricane strength and coastal flooding, the National Weather Service said. The nation's largest city was put under an extraordinarily long blizzard warning stretching from 1 p.m. Monday to midnight Tuesday.

The forecast means New York City could smash its one-day snowfall record — 26.9 inches, recorded in Central Park in February 2006.

"Very highly populated areas of the Northeast are going to get crushed with snow," said Tom Moore, coordinating meteorologist for The Weather Channel. "Everywhere ... you're going to get hit very hard by this storm."

"This could be the biggest snowstorm in the history of this city," Mayor Bill de Blasio told reporters Sunday. "My message for New Yorkers is prepare for something worse than we have ever seen before."

Confidence is increasing on a historic winter storm across parts of the Northeast Monday night thru Tuesday night, tapering off Wednesday morning. Blizzard warnings have been issued along the Eastern Seaboard from central New Jersey north through the New York City metro area and northeast across Connecticut, Rhode Island, eastern Massachusetts, and coastal New Hampshire and Maine. Snowfall rates of 2-4 inches per hour are expected, resulting with snowfall totals of 18 to 30 inches, with locally higher amounts. In addition very heavy snow, strong winds in the Blizzard Warning area are expected to gust to 35 to 50 mph, with gusts as high as 65 mph possible across eastern Long Island and Cape Cod. The heavy snow and blowing and drifting snow will reduce visibilities to near zero, making travel extremely dangerous. Snow drifts may exceed 3-4 feet across the blizzard warning area.

The strong northeast winds will create a storm surge along the coast. Moderate coastal flooding, especially during high tides is possible along the coast from Delaware Bay north all the way to the Maine coast. Major coastal flooding is possible along east facing sections of the Massachusetts coast. The strong winds will also create high waves that will likely result in significant beach erosion, as well as splash-over that could result in damage to waterfront structures and closures of shoreline roads.

Some uncertainty remains regarding how far west the heavy snowfall will get. That is why there is an area of Winter Storm Watches from Delmarva north across eastern Pennsylvania to the western Catskills and north into northern Vermont. Forecast confidence across this area is less than the area of Winter Storm Warnings further east.

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