U.S. Northeast braced for arrival of sprawling winter storm

Dec 16 (Reuters) - A massive winter storm that spawned deadly tornadoes in the South and pummeled the Northern Plains with blizzard-like conditions earlier in the week was expected to arrive in the Northeast on Friday, bringing heavy snows and fierce winds.

Some spots across a band stretching from northern Pennsylvania into New England may see as much as one foot (30 cm) of heavy wet snow and gusty winds of up to 50 miles (80 km) per hour over the next two days, the National Weather Service said in its forecast.

The conditions will make driving "very difficult to impossible" as slushy snow covers roadways during the day and into the afternoon commute, the NSW warned.

"Avoid unnecessary travel, but stay alert for slow-moving snow plows if you're out on the roads," the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation said in a Tweet.

The weight of the wet snow could also bring down trees and power lines, causing widespread power outages, forecasters said.

Some 33,000 homes and businesses were without power in Pennsylvania and West Virginia as of Friday morning, Poweroutage.us reported.

Over the past week, the powerful storm rocked the deep South with a swarm of destructive tornados that killed three people, including a mother and her son in Louisiana. Dozens of people were also injured in the twisters that left a path of destruction across the region.

To the north, the storm buried communities in the Plains and Upper Midwest under feet of blowing snow, closing schools and roadways and knocking out power to tens of thousands of households and businesses.

Reporting by Brendan O'Brien in Chicago; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama

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