Powerful nor’easter slams East Coast bringing heavy snow and strong winds to millions

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(NEW YORK) — Tens of millions of Americans across more than a dozen states are under winter weather alerts Saturday morning from South Carolina to Maine.

Snowfall rates upwards of 2 inches per hour are hitting Atlantic City, New Jersey, and other parts of the Jersey Shore at times, while eastern Connecticut is seeing a rate as fast as 3 inches per hour.

A plow clears a walkway in the snow during a Nor’easter storm in New York, Jan. 29, 2022.

In addition to the snowfall, strong wind gusts of 50 to 70 mph are expected along parts of the Northeast coastline.

Some states have declared emergencies as they brace for the worst of this storm system coming Saturday afternoon.

Whipping winds, treacherous travel, potential power outages and frigid temperatures are all concerns associated with the winter nor’easter. Nearly 120,000 customers are without power in Massachusetts, and over 3,550 flights have been canceled within, into, and out of the United States Saturday, according to Flightaware.

In Connecticut, airports are “down at this point,” Gov. Ned Lamont said during a briefing midday Saturday. Metro-North is running on limited hourly service, and Amtrak is not operating, officials said.

Snow totals, treacherous conditions

Parts of Connecticut to Maine may see up to 18 to 24 inches of snow, with the possibility of up to 30 inches near Boston Metro — a potential recordbreaker. For the city of Boston, the most snowfall in one day in January on record is 22.1 inches on Jan. 27, 2015, and the most snow fall in one day on record overall is 23.6 inches on Feb. 17, 2003.

There are extremely hazardous travel conditions for coastal New Jersey; Suffolk County, New York; Rhode Island and coastal Massachusetts where the heaviest snow totals and whiteout conditions with gusty winds will persist.

The I-95 corridor north of New York City toward Boston and Portland, Maine, are under major impacts, with whipping winds gusting 45 mph to 70 mph near the Boston Metro.

Below-zero wind chills

Parts of the Great Lakes and New England will experience bitterly cold temperatures with wind chills near 25 below zero.

The Northeast will feel frigid Saturday night as wind chills plunge to 2 and 5 below zero in New York City and Boston, respectively.

Cold weather is even heading south to Florida with temperatures in the 30s.

Coastal concerns

There are coastal concerns about storm surge and tidal influence especially along the coastal towns in Suffolk County, New York, which could see 4- to 8-feet waves during high tide Saturday night into Sunday morning.

Boston may also get battered with largest wave swells at 15 to 20 feet.

A worker clears snow in Times Square during a Nor’easter storm in New York, Jan. 29, 2022.

However, there is one silver lining to this winter storm: The storm system remained easterly, meaning less heavy snow and weather-related snarls for states west of Interstate 95.

The storm system is expected to move out of New York City by the afternoon and from Boston by the evening.

ABC News’ Victoria Arancio, Daniel Peck, Hilda Estevez and Ahmad Hemingway contributed to this report.

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