CHATHAM (AP) - An early spring storm with heavy snow and bruising winds is expected to wallop portions of Massachusetts and eastern Maine as it moved up the Atlantic coast.
Just days after the official end of one of the snowiest winters on record, the storm began heading up the Interstate 95 corridor on Tuesday, dropping snowflakes onto Washington, D.C.'s budding cherry trees and dusting government buildings in northern Virginia. It blanketed parts of southern New Jersey, dropping 6½ inches of snow in Cape May, 5½ inches in Middle Township and 4 inches at Atlantic City International Airport.
The biggest impact was expected Wednesday when 5 to 10 inches of snow was forecast for Cape Cod, Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts. On Maine's eastern tip, Hancock and Washington counties could get 8 to 16 inches of snow. Gov. Paul LePage ordered state offices in both counties closed Wednesday as flurries started falling early in the morning.
Blizzard warnings were in effect in both states. The National Weather Service also warned of coastal flooding and significant beach erosion along the Massachusetts coast and wind gusts causing scattered power outages in eastern Maine.
Taunton, Mass-based meteorologist Matt Doody was unfazed by the prospect of more snow during a seemingly relentless season. "Here in New England, we're generally used to dealing with weather like this," he said early Wednesday.
Although spring began a week ago, it's not unusual to have storms so late in the year, said weather service spokesman Bill Simpson. The Boston area got more than 2 inches of snow in an April storm last year and was blanketed with almost 2 feet the same month in 1997.
"I can't wait for it to warm up," said 20-year-old Dajuan Davis, of Boston, a massage school student bundled up in a heavy jacket. "I'm from North Carolina. I'm not used to this cold weather."
Where the snow falls and how much will depend on the storm's track. But wind and temperatures of 20 to 25 degrees below normal were expected to cover the Mid-Atlantic states and New England as the storm traveled from southern Virginia to Maine.
Coastal Rhode Island, Connecticut and eastern Long Island in New York are expected to get 2 to 5 inches, while New York City is expected to get less than an inch. Portions of New Jersey and Pennsylvania could get 2 to 4 inches of snow.