BOSTON — Southern New England was preparing for a massive snowstorm that was expected to bring treacherous conditions to a huge swath of the Northeast, starting Monday afternoon in Connecticut and spreading across Massachusetts and Rhode Island by evening.
The National Weather Service issued blizzard warnings Sunday and said between 20 and 30 inches of snow could fall before the storm winds down after midnight Tuesday, with about half that on Cape Cod. Winds over 30 mph with gusts as high as 75 mph are expected in coastal areas, and up to 80 mph gusts on Cape Cod and nearby islands.
"One of the things that will be making this such a problem is the duration of the event," said Alan Dunham, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Taunton, Massachusetts. "Usually they are out in 18 hours, but you are looking at 24 hours plus for this storm."
He said major travel corridors are going to be "severely impacted," and power outages can be expected from wet, heavy snow combined with strong winds.
Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy urged residents to be prepared, and a spokesman for Connecticut's emergency agency also urged people to be aware of changing conditions.
"If warnings are issued by public safety officials, please heed those warnings," Scott DeVico said. The state said its snow removal fleet is ready to go.
Plow driver Al Laplant expected to be clearing roads in Simsbury, Connecticut, as he has for more than two decades. "We'll be out there until the storm's over and then at least three hours after cleaning up," he said as he attended a home show in Hartford. "We'll be out there through the whole storm."
Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo said residents should prepare for what could be "a very severe and dangerous weather event."
In Providence, Bernie Beaudreau was lining up volunteers for his Serve Rhode Island annual effort to shovel and plow snow for elderly and disabled residents. "We are looking to recruit able-bodied volunteers, either by themselves or with a friend," Beaudreau said Sunday.
Massachusetts state emergency management spokesman Peter Judge said people should not delay preparedness. "We want people to get their business done before the storm comes in some time later on Monday," he said.
Boston Mayor Martin Walsh said he is confident the city is ready and asked people to stay off the roads during the storm and look out for neighbors.
Wyatt Baars, manager of the Charlestown Ace Hardware in Boston, sold out of his bags of ice-melting pellets. But he said a New Hampshire distributor is helping him and delivering more.
"Everybody is preparing for the storm," he said. "When we have something this big on the horizon, everybody comes in for the ice melt, snow shovels, snow brooms."
Associated Press writers Pat Eaton-Robb in Hartford, Connecticut, and Verena Dobnik in New York contributed to this report.