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Snow, rain threaten to flood Northeast

PHILADELPHIA — A slow-moving winter storm packing heavy, wet snow and potentially flooding rain spread over the Northeast on Thursday, disrupting air traffic and closing schools. Utility companies braced for possible widespread power outages overnight due to high winds and toppled trees.

The strongest wind and heaviest snow was forecast for late Thursday and early today, with a foot or more of snow and high winds expected from southeastern Pennsylvania into New Jersey and New York and up to parts of New England.

Parts of western Maine received nearly a foot of snow, while Philadelphia received a dusting. About 4 inches of snow fell in New York City, where a man was killed by a falling snow-laden tree branch in Central Park — one of at least three deaths being blamed on the storm.

In parts of southern and mid-coastal Maine more than 3 inches of rain had fallen and forecasters said some areas could get more than 7 inches. The Presumpscot River in Westbrook was expected to crest at 9 feet over flood stage by this afternoon. The river in the flood-prone New Hampshire town of Goffstown was nearing flood stage and residents were told to prepare for possible evacuation.

Hundreds of flights were canceled at major East Coast airports.

The latest blast of winter was expected to linger more than 24 hours, meaning more headaches today. More snow is predicted for much of the region Saturday, too.

The National Weather Service warned that winds could blow steadily between 20 and 30 mph in some areas, with gusts of 55 mph or higher in coastal and mountainous areas.

Even coastal New England, which was seeing rain but nothing like the 18 inches of snow expected in some parts of northern New Jersey and upstate New York, was under coastal flood watches.

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