Massive winter storm system bringing snow, cold – and rain?

Massive winter storm system bringing snow, cold – and rain?

HARTFORD — A fierce winter storm moving through the northeastern U.S. could dump up to 45 centimetres of snow along with 30 millimetres of rain on Canada’s east coast.

Tracking service says more than 1,700 flights have been cancelled Thursday. Both Air Canada and WestJet have issued weather advisories for the storm systems, advising passengers that flights in and out of these airports may be impacted by winter weather conditions and subsequent Air Traffic Control restrictions.

The storm has prompted a series of winter storm warnings and watches for Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, PEI and parts of Newfoundland and Labrador.

It could also bring wind gusts of up to 170 kilometres an hour.

Halifax Stanfield International Airport is warning that flights will be affected, while Marine Atlantic has cancelled sailings between Nova Scotia and Newfoundland.

Meanwhile a massive winter storm is sweeping from the Carolinas to Maine in the U.S., dumping snow along the coast and bringing strong winds that will usher in possible record-breaking cold.

Up to 18 inches of snow was expected in eastern New England. Blizzard warnings and states of emergency were in effect, schools and government offices closed for the day and motorists were warned to be careful as conditions worsened.

Ankle deep snow and wind gusts approaching 80 kph covered Maryland’s Ocean City Boardwalk, which was under a blizzard warning Thursday.

Eastern Massachusetts and most of Rhode Island were bracing for as much as 18 inches of snow, with snow falling at a rate of three inches per hour possible.

Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said more than 100 warming centres have been opened in 34 towns across the state. Connecticut has 634 state plow trucks and 250 contractors working to clear the highways.

The massive storm began two days ago in the Gulf of Mexico, first hitting the Florida Panhandle. It has prompted thousands of cancelled flights, shuttered schools and businesses and sparked fears of coastal flooding and power outages.

Wind gusts of 50 mph to 60 mph, strong enough to cause downed trees and power lines, are predicted in places where the National Weather Service has issued blizzard warnings. They include the Delmarva Peninsula, which includes parts of Delaware, Virginia and Maryland; coastal New Jersey; eastern Long Island, New York; and coastal eastern New England. The snowstorm also shut down much of eastern Virginia.

The storm has resulted in thousands of cancelled flights at major airports such as Boston’s Logan International Airport and New York’s LaGuardia Airport and disrupted the schedules at regional airports.

Amtrak planned to operate a modified schedule between New York and Boston on Thursday. Northeast Regional Service between Washington, D.C., and Newport News/Norfolk, Virginia, was cancelled for Thursday.

With files from The Associated Press

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