A crippling and potentially historic winter storm was approaching a large swath of the northeastern United States on Sunday, which officials and forecasters warned could dump up to three feet of snow, produce high winds and cause power outages and flight cancellations between Monday and Wednesday.
Blizzard warnings and watches went in effect on Sunday morning for more than 29 million people in areas along the coast from central New Jersey to the Canadian border.
The National Weather Service predicted the storm could be responsible for life-threatening conditions and extremely dangerous travel due to heavy snowfall and strong winds that could down power lines and tree limbs late Monday through Tuesday.
— NWS (@NWS) January 25, 2015
In New York City, officials warned the storm could potentially bury the metropolitan area in up to three feet of snow.
“Don’t underestimate this storm,” New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio at a press conference. “We are facing most likely one of the largest snow storms in the history of this city.”
The biggest one-day snowfall on record in New York City was 26.9 inches.
“My message for New Yorkers is prepare for something worse than we have ever seen before,” de Blasio said.
— National Guard (@USNationalGuard) January 25, 2015
Mayor de Blasio and other city officials urged people not to drive in New York City on Monday and to expect the roads to be unsafe by the evening.
The storm was also expected to snarl air traffic with flight cancellations and delays as major airports in New York, Philadelphia, Boston and other parts of New England expected to see disruptive snow totals.
Nearly 600 flights had already been canceled and thousands more delayed by Sunday evening, as major airlines, including American, Delta, JetBlue, Southwest and US Airways announced winter-weather waivers, which allow passengers to change their itinerary without paying a fee.