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Snow Paralyzes East Coast

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Forecasters predict 12 to 18 inches of snow in Philadelphia, and 6 to 10 inches in New York City and on Long Island on Saturday and Sunday. Mr. Petersen said it remained unclear how far north the snow would reach

Snow spread along the East Coast as a major winter storm delayed travel plans and cut power for thousands of people while threatening to dump 2 feet of snow on the nation’s capital.

Blizzard warnings were in effect from Virginia to New York, and forecasters said coastal flooding could occur along the Atlantic coasts of New Jersey, Delaware and Virginia.

“This storm’s got it all,” said Dan Petersen of the National Weather Service’s weather prediction center in College Park, Md. The storm could rank among the top three snowfalls ever in Washington and Baltimore, he said.

The Washington area is expected to bear the brunt of the storm, with 24 inches of snow projected in the corridor between the capital and Baltimore. Areas north and west of both cities could see 30 inches, and parts of the Blue Ridge Mountains could get 3 feet of snow, said meteorologist Kevin Witt of the weather service’s Sterling, Va., office.

Winds gusting to 55 miles an hour will cause snowdrifts and whiteout conditions, forecasters said. The high winds and weight of the snow could cause power outages, they said.

At least nine people were killed in traffic accidents related to the snowstorm in the eastern part of the U.S., according to the Associated Press. Five people died in North Carolina, including a 4-year-old boy who was a passenger in a pickup truck that spun out of control on Interstate 77 near Troutman. Two people were killed in Virginia, and one each in Kentucky and Tennessee.