Looming blizzard could rank near top 10 to hit Eastern U.S.

(AP Photo/Steve Ruark)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The National Weather Service says the blizzard about to hit the Eastern United States could rank near the top 10 ever to hit the region.

Meteorologist Paul Kocin with the service’s Weather Prediction Center says snowfall as heavy as 1 to 3 inches an hour could continue for 24 hours or more in the area. That puts estimates at more than 2 feet for Washington, a foot to 18 inches for Philadelphia and 8 inches to a foot in New York.

Five states and the District of Columbia have declared states of emergency ahead of the slow-moving system. The federal government announced Thursday night that its offices would close at noon Friday.

Weather service director Louis Uccellini says resident should expect brutally high winds, dangerous inland flooding, white-out conditions and even the possibility of thunder snow.

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