December 26, 2010 in Nation/World

Major storm hits East Coast

Carolinas see first snow on Christmas in decades
Kristin M. Hall Associated Press
Associated Press photo

Meg Orthner, left, watches as her brother Luke bounces off a neighbor’s trampoline near their Chattanooga, Tenn., home on Saturday while their dogs run circles around them in the snow.
(Full-size photo)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A winter storm that brought a rare white Christmas to parts of the South barreled up the East Coast on Saturday night, with forecasters predicting 6 to 10 inches of snow today for Washington and blizzard conditions for New York City and the New Jersey shore.

Virginia and North Carolina declared states of emergency as crews tried to clear snowy and icy highways. Authorities in Mid-Atlantic states spent Christmas Day preparing for up to a foot of snowfall. And airlines began canceling flights in the Northeast corridor before the intensifying storm descended on the region.

The storm was already scrambling the plans of holiday travelers along the Eastern Seaboard. Motorists will be facing treacherous road conditions in many states today with blowing snow and low visibility, and the snow is likely to strand many air travelers.

Continental Airlines canceled 250 departures from Newark Liberty International Airport outside New York City. United Airlines announced late Saturday that it had canceled 61 departures today from Newark, Philadelphia, New York’s LaGuardia and JFK, Boston, Bradley International in Connecticut, Providence, Albany International and Manchester Boston Regional Airport.

As of late Saturday evening, the National Weather Service had issued winter weather warnings from north Georgia to southern New England. Winter weather watches were in effect for eastern Tennessee and Kentucky up to West Virginia.

A blizzard warning was issued for New York City for today and Monday, with a forecast of 11 to 16 inches of snow and strong winds that will reduce visibility to near zero at times. As much as 18 inches could fall on the New Jersey shore. Heavy snow was also predicted for Philadelphia and Boston.

United Airlines said weather conditions would likely force delays and cancellations at United’s hub at Washington Dulles International Airport and at other northeastern airports between Saturday and Monday.

The Carolinas got their first white Christmas in decades as snow began falling Saturday morning in Asheville, N.C., spread to Raleigh by noon and was forecast to stretch to the coast later in the day.

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