East Coast hunkers down as nor'easter hits

Nor'easter Expected to Pummel Cape and Islands With Heavy Rain and High Winds

Winter Storm Riley Causes Airlines to Waive Change Fees; Residents Along Massachusetts Coast Told to Evacuate

Nearly 1.7 million homes and businesses were without power in the northeast and midwest as the storm smashed the East Coast from Virginia to Maine. The term essentially means that the barometric pressure is dropping quickly.

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker activated 200 National Guard members to help deal with the storm.

"If you live in an area that is told to evacuate, we strongly encourage you do so first thing Friday AM", Baker tweeted Thursday night.

"People in these homes need to plan for a prolonged outage", Kurt Schwartz, director of the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency, said Friday night.

"Those high winds are going to continue to cause a flooding concern" even after people think the storm is over, Bellone said. Woodman's of Essex, which saw serious flooding when storm surge overtook the Causeway in the January, is closed today to prepare for Friday and Saturday, when it also will be closed.

The snow and rain were predicted to taper off by late Friday or Saturday morning as the storm system drifted farther out into the Atlantic Ocean, the Weather Service said.

By Saturday evening, power outages on the East Coast had dipped by about 500,000 from a peak of 2 million earlier in the day.

In New York, the East Coast's primary transportation hub, many travelers were left stranded, with more than 1,000 flights already canceled at Newark, LaGuardia and John F. Kennedy airports.

American, Delta, United and Southwest airlines - the four biggest carriers in the country - have flexible change policies for travel to the Northeast because of the storm.

One flight landing at Washington's Dulles International Airport came in through turbulence so rough that most passengers became sick and the pilots were on the verge of becoming ill, the Federal Aviation Administration said. Officials with Amtrak also announced that service would be temporarily suspended until clearance has been given to resume.

People across the region skipped work Friday to hunker down.

In the federal capital Washington and surrounding suburbs, public schools were closed because of the storm, which some dubbed online as "Windmaggedon". Shaffer lost her appliances in the last storm and expected another pounding. The high tide there will be around 8 a.m. and close to 8 p.m.

More than 700,000 homes and businesses were without power across the region, with the largest number of outages in NY, utilities said.

The storm, which could last the weekend, will likely bring a record mix of rain, snow, storm surge, and wind gusts up to 50 miles per hour - causing some to dub it "windmageddon". Almost half of all scheduled flights at New York City's LaGuardia Airport were cancelled on Saturday, the airport said.

"If you don't have to drive don't", she said at a news conference. MA emergency officials said tides "will be astronomically high" in the next few days.

The Jan. 4 storm gained much attention in part because some meteorologists described it as a "bomb cyclone".

A deadly storm that hammered the Northeast with relentless rain, snow and powerful winds slowly moved away Saturday - but its effects will linger for days. Parts of eastern Long Island and eastern MA could get up to 5 inches of rain through Saturday.

I'm expecting 1 to 3 inches of rain with some areas seeing up to 4 inches.

Heavy rain, intermittent snow and high winds with gusts exceeding 50 miles per hour are expected as the storm moves up the Eastern seaboard, beginning in NY and CT on Thursday evening.

The rain, heavy at times, will continue in Southern California through this afternoon.

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