Some parts of the Northeast were bracing for a powerful winter storm that could dump heavy sleet and unleash strong winds that could make travel difficult and leave hundreds of thousands without power.
The National Weather Service says the storm could begin late Monday and continue into Wednesday. Areas in its path could include parts of New England, northern New York state, northeastern Pennsylvania and northern New Jersey, with snowfall totals ranging from a few inches to several feet depending on the area.
“It could be deadly,” New York Gov. Cathy Hatchul warned at a storm briefing in Albany. “Let me repeat: This is going to be a dangerous storm. Please stay off the roads for your own safety.”
Higher elevations in New York’s mid-Hudson region and the Albany area could see up to 3 feet (91 centimeters) of snow.
Hachul, who has been declaring a state of emergency since 8 p.m. Monday, said snowplow crews from Long Island and utility crews as far away as Canada are being dispatched to the region. She also said 100 members of the National Guard have been called in to assist in the emergency.
Snowfall in western Massachusetts could exceed 18 inches (45 centimeters), but along the coast totals could be 3 to 4 inches (7.5 to 10 centimeters), Bill Simpson, a spokesman for the National Weather Service in Norton, Mass. , said.
“I’m not entirely sure of the exact path,” Simpson said. “It makes all the difference in the world.”
A winter storm warning was set to go into effect Monday night and last through Wednesday morning for parts of upstate New York, northeastern Pennsylvania, northern New Jersey, southern Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont, as well as western Massachusetts and parts of Connecticut and Rhode Island.
Some schools in the region canceled classes for Tuesday ahead of the storm, and Maine Gov. Janet Mills ordered all state facilities closed Tuesday.
Connecticut’s largest electricity provider, Eversource, was bringing in extra crews from out of state as it prepared for 130,000 power outages.
“This combination of heavy sleet, sustained sustained winds and gusts will almost certainly result in downed tree limbs and entire trees,” said Steve Sullivan, president of Connecticut’s Eversource Electric Division. “It will damage the electrical system.”
In New Hampshire, the storm will hit on the day of the election of city officials. Dozens of communities have postponed voting, while others have reminded voters that they can vote by absentee ballot on Monday.
Similar election day storms in 2017 and 2018 caused widespread confusion about who could postpone the election.
Lawmakers have since changed the law to allow city moderators to postpone elections when the National Weather Service issues a storm warning. As of Tuesday, such warnings were issued for at least part of seven of the state’s 10 counties.
In Massachusetts, Gov. Maura Healy ordered all non-emergency state employees who work in the executive branch to stay away from their jobs on Tuesday and instead work from home if possible.
The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority suspended all ferry service on Tuesday.
Boston Mayor Michelle Wu said city officials are closely monitoring the storm, which is expected to bring mostly rain to the east coast of Massachusetts on Tuesday.
“Weather forecasts are still changing,” Wu said. “Our public works and emergency management departments and Boston Public Schools are really focused on tracking this minute by minute.”
Wu said the city has been in contact with companies that may be working with cranes or large construction sites to make sure they are providing supplies ahead of the predicted high winds.