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The Long Island Rail Road partially suspended service on its Montauk branch.
The blizzard left about 10,000 customers along the East Coast without power, and some 3,500 flights were canceled.
“We’re seeing heavier snow overspread the region from south to north,” said Lance Franck, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Taunton, Massachusetts, outside Boston. “As the snow picks up in intensity, we’re expecting it to fall at a rate of upwards of two to three inches per hour.”
Early Friday evening, officials warned that the storm was just ramping up to full strength, and that heavy snow and high winds would continue through midday on Saturday. The governors of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York and Maine declared states of emergency and urged people to stay indoors.
In many cases, authorities ordered non-essential government workers to stay home, urged private employers to do the same, told people to prepare for power outages and encouraged them to check on elderly or disabled neighbors.
People appeared to take the warnings seriously. Traffic on streets and ridership on public transportation was significantly lighter than usual on Friday.
“This is a very large and powerful storm, however we are encouraged by the numbers of people who stayed home today,” Boston Mayor Thomas Menino told reporters.
In New York City, Mayor Michael Bloomberg suggested the storm created an opportunity to relax and catch up on sleep.
Even so, the storm caused a few accidents, including a 19-vehicle pile-up outside Portland, Maine, that sent one person to the hospital.
LOOKING FOR SASQUATCH
The storm wasn’t bad news for everyone.