BOSTON - The bitter cold that has gripped the Northeast for the past week is expected to give way, briefly at least, to a monster snowstorm with screaming winds that could drop more than a foot (0.3 meters) of snow in some areas on Thursday.
The National Weather Service has issued a blizzard warning that extends from Block Island, Rhode Island, north to coastal Maine. Most of the rest of southern New England as well as the eastern end of Long Island, in suburban New York, are under a winter storm warning.
Some people spent Wednesday preparing for the storm, which also is expected to bring damaging winds, power outages, coastal flooding and disruption to air and road travel.
“It's going to happen so you have to be prepared for it,” said David Ethier, of Glocester, Rhode Island, who went to two Home Depot stores before finding a portable generator at the third one he visited in Johnston, Rhode Island.
He was told it was the store's last one.
He said he expects to lose power Thursday, as past storms have caused outages lasting two to three days. He uses a generator to power a pellet stove, a fridge, a few lights and a coffee pot.
Eastern Massachusetts was expected to bear the brunt of the storm, with Boston getting ready for 11 inches (28 centimeters) of snow and the possibility of up to 14 inches (36 centimeters). Some areas south of the city could be in for 15 or 16 inches (about 40 centimeters). Snow could fall as fast as 3 inches (8 centimeters) per hour at the height of the storm.
Providence, Rhode Island, is expected to get about 8 inches (20 centimeters), while Hartford, Connecticut, is poised for about 5 inches (13 centimeters).
High winds that could gust up to 70 mph (113 kph) are expected to cause power outages.
After the snow moves out, single-digit temperatures are moving back in Friday.