More than 35 million people along the Philadelphia-to-Boston corridor rushed to get home and settle in today as a fearsome storm swirled in with the potential for hurricane-force winds and 1 to 3 feet of snow that could paralyze the Northeast for days. Snow was blowing sideways with ever-increasing intensity in New York City by midafternoon as flurries began in Boston. Forecasters said the storm would build into a blizzard, and the brunt of it would hit late today and into tomorrow. As the snow got heavier, much of the region rushed to shut down. More than 6,500 flights in and out of the Northeast were canceled, and many of them may not take off again until Wednesday. Schools and businesses let out early. Government offices closed.
"It's going to be ridiculous out there, frightening," says postal deliveryman Peter Hovey in White Plains, NY. All too aware that big snowstorms can make or break politicians, governors and mayors moved quickly to declare emergencies and order the shutdown of streets and highways to prevent travelers from getting stranded and to enable plows and emergency vehicles to get through. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo says a storm-related travel ban will go into effect on all New York City-area roads at 11pm, along with a shutdown of the city's subway system and commuter rails, the AP reports. Amtrak has called off service tomorrow between New York and Boston, NBC News reports, and the Weather Channel is predicting up to 30 inches of snow in Montauk, New York, and Plymouth, Mass. (Read more storm stories.)