* Authorities warn of power outages, travel delays
* Region could see 12-18 inches of snow
(Adds quote from New York City mayor, details on flight
By Daniel Trotta and Scott Malone
NEW YORK/BOSTON, March 13 A fast-moving winter
storm was expected to hit the U.S. Northeast United States,
forecasters warned on Monday, threatening to snarl travel and
knock out power while prompting some city officials to order
schools to close on Tuesday.
The National Weather Service issued blizzard warnings for
parts of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York and Connecticut,
with forecasts calling for up to 2 feet (60 cm) of snow in
places by early Wednesday, with temperatures 15 to 30 degrees
below normal for this time of year.
Some 50 million people along the Eastern Seaboard were under
storm or blizzard warnings and watches.
"This should be a very serious blizzard, one that everyone
should take seriously," New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio told
reporters. "The next day or two are going to be very
The storm comes near the end of an unusually mild winter
along much of the East Coast, with below-normal snowfalls in
cities such as New York City and Washington.
Boston was braced for up to a foot (30 cm) of snow, which
forecasters warned would fall quickly during the storm's
expected peak on Tuesday, making travel dangerous.
"During its height we could see snowfall rates of 1 to 3
inches (2.5-7.6 cm), even up to 4 inches (10 cm) per hour," said
Alan Dunham, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service
in Taunton, Massachusetts.
Winds were forecast to gust up to 60 miles per hour (100 km
per hour) in spots, potentially causing power outages and
The looming storm even had an impact on international
diplomacy. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who was due to meet
President Donald Trump in Washington, postponed her trip to
Friday, the White House said.
New York City and Providence, Rhode Island, canceled public
school sessions in anticipation of the storm.
Closing arguments in the trial of a former principal of a
Massachusetts pharmacy at the heart of a deadly 2012 meningitis
outbreak, which had been expected on Tuesday, were postponed by
at least a day due to the forecast storm.
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey prepared
hundreds of pieces of snow equipment at the three major New York
area airports. Thousands of tons of salt and sand were prepared
for airport roads, parking lots, bridges and tunnels.
Airlines had pre-emptively canceled some 3,850 flights ahead
of the storm, according to tracking service FlightAware.com. The
worst-hit airports were Newark International Airport in New
Jersey and Boston Logan International Airport.
American Airlines canceled all flights into and out of New
York's three metropolitan area airports and JetBlue Airways also
reported extensive cancellations.
But the New York Stock Exchange vowed to remain open for the
tiny fraction of trades that still take place on the trading
room floor on Wall Street.
"We haven't closed due to inclement weather since 1996. We
have a range of contingencies, and as of this moment it will be
business as usual," spokeswoman Kristen Kaus said.
Washington, which often bogs down with even low levels of
snow, was expecting 5 inches (13 cm) and twice that in outlying
(Additional reporting by Laila Kearney and Alana Wise in New
York, Nate Raymond in Boston and Timothy Mclaughlin in Chicago;
Editing by Bill Trott and Jonathan Oatis)