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Heavy snow and strong winds hit the east coast of the United States in the Northeast

(Reuters) – The first winter storm of the season has hit the U.S. East Coast this week, forecasters said, with up to two feet (60 centimeters) of snow, high winds and freezing rain expected to make travel dangerous and cause U.S. Power outages on the East Coast. Tuesday.

A pedestrian walks through falling snow on December 5, 2020 in Somerville, Massachusetts. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

About 50 million people living from western North Carolina to Pennsylvania to New England were issued winter storm warnings ahead of the northeasterly winds, the National Weather Service said in a statement Tuesday.

New York City officials said they planned to issue a hazardous travel advisory warning people to stay off the roads until 8-12 inches (20-30 centimeters) of snow is expected.

“This is a serious storm, and people need to take it seriously. You need to be prepared for a devastating storm and adjust immediately,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said, noting that First major snowstorm in years.

Many schools in the region are continuing with the distance learning programs implemented during the pandemic. In New York City, schools will open Wednesday to students opting for in-person instruction, but officials may change Thursday to a remote learning day for all students.

“As a kid myself, I was kind of sad that the snow days that we all knew could go away,” de Blasio said.

Snowfall could significantly reduce visibility and could impede travel in some places, while winds of up to 50 mph (80 km/h) could knock down trees and power lines, causing power outages, the weather service said.

“For much of the coast, we’re going to have rain, snow, maybe sleet and freezing rain,” said Sarah Johnson, a meteorologist for the New Jersey Weather Service. Saw more snow.”

Freezing rain was expected to begin Wednesday morning in North Carolina and southwestern Virginia, with a quarter-inch of ice expected to accumulate on roads, the department said.

By Wednesday afternoon, Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia will be greeted with cold, rainy and snowy conditions, while New Jersey and New York will start to snow.

Western Maryland and south-central Pennsylvania are expected to see the heaviest snowfall, with up to two feet possible.

“Get your snow shovels ready & check with neighbors if they need help!” tweeted the city of Boston, along with a photo of the salt delivery.

Reporting by Brendan O’Brien in Chicago; Editing by Howard Goller and Sonya Hepinstall

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