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Massive Winter Storm Barrels North To NYC, Boston

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CBS New York CBS New York
NEW YORK CITY -

Residents across a huge swath of the U.S. were hunkered down as a massive winter storm packing snow, ice and high winds, followed by possible record-breaking cold, moved up the Eastern Seaboard. The worst conditions were expected from the Carolinas to Maine.

The massive storm began two days ago in the Gulf of Mexico, first hitting the Florida Panhandle. It has prompted thousands of canceled 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.

After the storm, a wave of bracing cold is forecast to hit much of the Northeast.

The storm dumped snow in Tallahassee, Florida, Wednesday -- that city's first snow in nearly three decades -- before slogging up the Atlantic coast and smacking Southern cities such as Savannah, Georgia and Charleston, South Carolina, with a rare blast of snow and ice. 

Snowfall will increase northward into portions of the Mid-Atlantic and northern New England early Thursday, according to the National Weather Service. Blizzard conditions are possible over eastern Long Island and portions of coastal New England, and also near the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay and Hampton Roads.  

CBS News has confirmed that nearly 35,000 people in the South are without power as a winter storm crosses the region.
How much snow New York City gets depends on the track of the storm. CBS New York forecaster Lonnie Quinn reported the North American Model expects the storm to track closer to the west, bringing 8.8 inches of accumulation.

But the European Model, which tracks the storm 54 miles farther east, anticipates only 2.9 inches of accumulation for New York City.

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