Epic Snowstorm Bears Down on Northeast

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The blizzard hitting the Northeast is so bad, Massachusetts' governor has banned non-essential traffic for the first time since the epic snowstorm of 1978.

With as much as 3 feet of snow expected and winds up to 75 miles per hour, some believe this could be among the top 10 snowstorms to ever hit the region.

"I have now signed an executive order banning vehicle traffic effective at four o'clock today," Gov. Deval Patrick, surrounded by emergency response officials, told reporters at an afternoon news conference.

Violators could get up to a year in jail or a $500 fine.

Meanwhile, panicked shoppers have filled up area stores, emptying their shelves.

Those near the sea are nailing up and hunkering down because if the worst of this storm hits at the height of the tides, it could cause a whole new round of coastal floods just months after Superstorm Sandy.

"We are trying to batten down the hatches here," said Michael Bailey, who's been prepping his Atlantic City home as the storm approaches. "The last one ruined us totally."

"This is a pretty dangerous storm," Lt. Paul Taber, with the Marshfield, Mass., Police Department, stated. "We're concerned along the coast with high tidal surges, particularly Saturday morning, it's going to be a tough surge."

Others, like new mother Dayle Lapenta of Scituate, Mass., are filling up their gas tanks and high-tailing it away from the coast.

"You don't want to take a chance losing power," she said. "And it gets quite windy here. You can't really sleep at night."

Airlines, not wanting to get people and planes stranded, have already cancelled some 3,700 flights.

"It's incumbent on the public to contact your individual carrier and find out about the status of your specific flight before you come to the airport," Laguardia Airport General Manager Thomas Bosco said.

Even if the jets were to brave the high winds and low visibility, many of the mass transit systems and ways to get passengers in and out of the region's airports will be down anyway.

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Paul  Strand

Paul Strand

CBN News Washington Sr. Correspondent

As senior correspondent in CBN's Washington, D.C., bureau, Paul Strand has covered a variety of political and social issues, with an emphasis on defense, justice, and Congress.  Follow Paul on Twitter @PaulStrandCBN and "like" him at Facebook.com/PaulStrandCBN.