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New England and upstate New York brace for a winter storm

Parts of the Northeast were bracing for a powerful winter storm that could dump heavy, wet snow and unleash strong winds, making travel difficult and knocking out power to hundreds of thousands of people.

The National Weather Service says the storm could begin late Monday and last into Wednesday. Areas in its path could include parts of New England, upstate New York, northeastern Pennsylvania, and northern New Jersey, with snowfall totals expected to range from a few inches to a few feet, depending on the area.

"This could be deadly," New York Gov. Kathy Hochul warned at a storm briefing in Albany. "Let me repeat: This will be a dangerous storm. Please stay off the roads for your own safety."

Higher elevations in New York's mid-Hudson region and the Albany area could receive 3 feet of snow.

Hochul, who will issue a state of emergency starting at 8 p.m. Monday, said snow plow crews from Long Island and utility crews as far away as Canada were being sent to the region. She also said 100 National Guard members were brought in to assist with emergency response.

Snow in the western part of Massachusetts could exceed 18 inches, but along the coast, the totals could be 3 or 4 inches, Bill Simpson, a spokesman for the National Weather Service in Norton, Massachusetts, said.

"I'm not quite sure of the exact track," Simpson said. "That makes all the difference in the world."

A winter storm warning was due to take effect Monday evening and last through Wednesday morning for parts of upstate New York, northeastern Pennsylvania, northern New Jersey, southern sections of Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont as well as western Massachusetts and parts of Connecticut and Rhode Island.

Some schools in the region canceled classes for Tuesday ahead of the storm, and Maine Gov. Janet Mills directed that all state offices be closed Tuesday.

Connecticut's largest electricity provider, Eversource, was bringing in extra crews from other states as it prepared for up to 130,000 power outages.

"That combination of heavy wet snow, long duration of sustained winds, long duration of gusts will almost certainly bring down tree limbs and entire trees," said Steve Sullivan, president of Connecticut electric operations for Eversource. "Those will damage the electric system."

The storm will arrive during elections in New Hampshire

In New Hampshire, the storm will hit on Election Day for town officeholders. Dozens of communities postponed voting, while others reminded voters that they could vote by absentee ballot on Monday instead.

Similar back-to-back Election Day storms in 2017 and 2018 sparked widespread confusion about who could reschedule elections.

Lawmakers have since changed the law to allow town moderators to postpone elections if the National Weather Service issues a storm warning. For Tuesday, such warnings have been issued for at least parts of seven of the state's 10 counties.

In Massachusetts, Gov. Maura Healey directed all non-emergency state employees working in executive branch agencies not to report to their workplaces Tuesday, and instead work from home if possible.

The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority suspended all ferry service Tuesday.

Boston Mayor Michelle Wu said city officials were keeping a close eye on the storm, which was expected to start out as mostly rain Tuesday along the eastern coast of Massachusetts.

"The weather forecasts are still shifting around quite a bit," Wu said. "Our public works and emergency management and Boston Public Schools teams are really focused on tracking this minute by minute."

Wu said the city has been in touch with companies that might be running cranes or large construction sites make sure they secure materials ahead of predicted strong winds.

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The Associated Press
[Copyright 2024 NPR]
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