HARRISBURG, Pa. — A fast-moving storm expected to drop a foot of snow or more in the Northeast over the weekend moved into the region Saturday as road crews went on high alert and airlines began canceling flights.
Utilities braced for outages, airports prepared for delays and local officials readied for slick roads while shoppers headed out to stores to tackle gift lists during a shorter-than-normal holiday shopping season.
The National Weather Service said 6 to 12 inches of snow was expected in New England, with as much as 14 inches possible along the Maine coast. Areas north and west of New York City and central Pennsylvania could get eight inches or more. About half a foot was forecast in parts of Ohio, where snow began falling overnight.
Hours before kickoff Saturday at the Army-Navy football game in Philadelphia, accountant Kathy Porter hovered under layers of clothing in the stands, trying to keep warm amid low temperatures she does not get much of back home in Charlotte. “We’re just hoping for snow and not rain — I think we can handle the snow,” Porter said. “I think we’ll be okay. A little frozen but okay.”
Airlines had canceled about 940 flights because of the storm, mostly in the Northeast and Midwest. Almost 350 flights into and out of Newark had been canceled, and 172 at Chicago’s O’Hare airport had been called off. ExpressJet and United had canceled the most flights.
“It’s a pretty bad day for Newark,” said Mark Duell, a spokesman for FlightAware, a Web site that tracks commercial airlines. About 40 percent of Newark’s 900 flights had been cut, he said.
But some areas, including resorts and ski towns in northern New England, welcomed the snow and were eager to see the winter season get started.
“We have been watching [the forecast] since people first started talking about it on Monday or Tuesday,” said Ethan Austin, spokesman for the Sugarloaf ski resort in Carrabassett Valley, Maine. “Right now it’s setting up pretty well for us, so we’re pretty psyched.”
Christopher S. Rugaber in Washington and Lisa Rathke in Vermont contributed to this report.