US braces for 'historic' snowstorm

WASHINGTON. February 9. KAZINFORM Heavy snow is falling in the US north-east, where a "potentially historic" winter storm could bring up to 3ft (91cm) of snow in some areas.

Flights to and from New York have been cancelled and power cuts are expected as blizzards from the Great Lakes descend on parts of New England.

People have been warned to stay off the roads, and stock up on food and other supplies.

Winds of up to 75mph (120km/h) were expected to create deep drifts.

The National Weather Service said the combination of two weather systems from the polar and sub-tropical jet streams would produce a "potentially historic" storm.

Blizzard warnings are in effect for parts of New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut, and extend into New Hampshire and Maine.

In Canada, meanwhile, up to 25cm of snow as well as strong wind gusts are expected in the southern part of Ontario province, with flurries also forecast in Quebec, Kazinform cites BBC News.

Ontario has already seen 200 vehicle accidents, the CBC reported. At least three people have been killed.

'Stay home'

Snow was also blamed for a 19-car pile-up in Maine on Friday.

Massachusetts and Connecticut have banned all normal traffic from the roads in those states on Friday evening.

At least 4,200 flights have been cancelled in the US in anticipation of the storm, according to airline tracking website FlightAware.

Amtrak suspended its train service from New York to Boston on Friday afternoon.

In Boston, where schools were preemptively closed on Friday, Mayor Thomas Menino urged businesses to consider allowing staff to stay home to reduce the risk of commuters getting stranded.

"We are hardy New Englanders, let me tell you, and used to these types of storms," said Mr Menino.

"But I also want to remind everyone to use common sense and stay off the streets of our city. Basically, stay home."

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick ordered all non-essential state employees to stay indoors, and suggested that private businesses do the same.

Boston is forecast to get 3ft of snow, which would far exceed the city's record snowfall of 27.6in (70cm) in 2003.

Fuel shortages are being reported from Connecticut to New York City as motorists queue at petrol stations to fill up their vehicles, as well as generators and snow blowers.

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