In the United States, hundreds of airline flights were canceled Saturday and fleets of road plows were warmed up as a paralyzing snowstorm barreled out of the Midwest and spread across the Northeast with a potential for up to 20 inches of snow driven by 50 mph wind.
Storm warnings were posted from Wisconsin to New England, where the National Weather Service posted blizzard warnings in effect through Sunday. By afternoon, snow was falling across a region stretching from Wisconsin and Illinois to Virginia and the New England states.
With two feet or more of snow expected in some parts of Massachusetts, along with coastal flooding and near hurricane-strength winds bringing subzero wind chills, Gov. Mitt Romney on Saturday declared a state of emergency. Romney activated the National Guard in case coastal areas need to be evacuated.
One man died after falling through ice on a pond in Ohio, where two others died of apparent heart attacks while removing snow, authorities said.
Temperatures in Maine fell to 36 below zero at Masardis, and Bangor dropped to a record low of 29 below. Meteorologists predicted wind up to 50 mph would push wind chill readings to 8 below zero in New York and New Jersey.
In New York, residents were advised to keep their cars off the road for the weekend as snow removers tried to clear 6,300 miles of roadway. Nearly 7 inches of snow had fallen in Central Park by Saturday evening. Almost 9 inches were reported on the eastern tip of Long Island, the National Weather Service said.