Major storm barreling toward New York City, 20 inches could fall on midtown

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(Reuters) - New York, Boston and other cities in the northeast could be blanketed with nearly two feet (60.96 cm) of snow on Monday, as a “long duration” major winter storm headed toward the U.S. coast, the National Weather Service said.

Snow is expected to begin late Sunday night across a wide swath of the northeast, with “in excess of 20 inches of snow in parts of eastern Pennsylvania, northern New Jersey, southern New York, and into southern New England,” the NWS said in bulletin.

The storm could paralyze New York City, which as of Sunday night was forecast to be at the center of the Nor’easter’s bluster, said meteorologist Brian Hurley, of the National Weather Service in College Park, Maryland.

“It’s a widespread area with 10 to 20 inches of snow coming,” Hurley said. “The sweet spot looks like it will be right around New York City.”

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said during a Sunday press conference that schools would be closed on Monday and that officials are rescheduling appointments for coronavirus vaccinations.

“There’s going to be tremendous danger and difficulty getting around on Monday,” de Blasio said. “The last thing we want to do is urge our seniors to come out in the middle of a storm like this.”

The NWS advised that “treacherous” travel conditions are expected throughout the northeast for a few days, as wind gusts of up to 50 miles per hour are forecast for Monday, creating blinding, blowing snow.

The storm will slowly move into northern New England Tuesday night and only dissipate on Wednesday, Hurley said.

Snow hit the Washington D.C. metropolitan area, with over 2 inches reported in several areas.

Reporting by Brad Brooks in Lubbock, Texas; editing by Diane Craft