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December 15, 2013

Fast-moving snowstorm goes Northeast

HARRISBURG, Pa. — A fast-moving storm expected to drop a foot of snow or more in the Northeast over the weekend moved into the region Saturday as road crews went on high alert and airlines began canceling flights.

Utilities braced for power outages, airports prepared for delays and local officials readied for slick roads while shoppers headed out to stores to tackle gift lists during a shorter-than-normal holiday shopping season.

The National Weather Service has said 6 to 12 inches of snow was expected in New England, with as much as 14 inches possible along the Maine coast. Areas north and west of New York City and central Pennsylvania could get 8 inches or more. About half a foot was forecast in parts of Ohio, where snow began falling overnight.

Hours before kickoff Saturday at the Army-Navy football game in Philadelphia, accountant Kathy Porter hovered under layers of clothing in the stands, trying to keep warm amid low temperatures she doesn’t get much of back home in Charlotte, N.C.

“We’re just hoping for snow and not rain — I think we can handle the snow,” Porter said. “I think we’ll be OK. A little frozen but OK.”

Airlines have canceled about 940 flights because of the storm, mostly in the Northeast and Midwest. Almost 350 flights into and out of Newark, N.J., have been canceled, and 172 at Chicago’s O’Hare airport have been called off. ExpressJet and United have canceled the most flights so far.

“It’s a pretty bad day for Newark,” said Mark Duell, a spokesman for FlightAware, a website that tracks commercial airlines. About 40 percent of Newark’s 900 flights have been cut, he said.

If the weather gets much worse, American Airlines and Delta may be forced to cancel more flights in New York and Chicago, Duell said. Chicago was forecast to get 3 to 6 inches of snow by late Saturday afternoon, while several towns in central Illinois had already received 8 inches.

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