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A powerful nor’easter kicked up blinding blizzard conditions with high winds causing widespread power outages early Saturday.

People from New York City to Maine awakened to half a foot of snow, while parts of Massachusetts including Boston were expected to experience up to 24 inches, the National Weather Service said in a bulletin.

“Expect whiteout conditions and nearly impossible travel at times,” the bulletin said, adding that snow rates of up to 2 to 4 inches per hour are expected in the Mid-Atlantic and New England coast.

In New York’s Nassau County, executive Bruce Blakeman told NBC New York that a snow plow operator found an elderly woman dead in her car overnight. Although her official cause of death had not been confirmed, he said she likely suffered a heart attack or another sudden health event.

“It’s a sad situation, but it illustrates how dangerous it is, people should not be out unless it’s absolutely necessary,” he added.

People protect themselves from blowing wind and snow during white-out conditions as Winter Storm Kenan bears down on Jan. 29, 2022 in Boston, Mass.Scott Eisen / Getty Images

Over 80,000 households in Massachusetts appeared to be without power early Saturday morning, according to the online tracker PowerOutage.us. Scattered power outages are also expected across the coast.

Massachusetts has declared a state of emergency, along with Maryland, New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island and residents have been warned to stay off the roads.

“This is serious… The best way to handle this storm is to stay home tomorrow,” Dan McKee, the governor of Rhode Island told a news conference Friday.

In Virginia, where a blizzard this month stranded hundreds of motorists for hours on Interstate 95, authorities did not hesitate to get resources at the ready, while in Maryland, Gov. Larry Hogan mobilized the National Guard.

Airlines canceled more than 4,500 flights at some of the nation’s busiest airports, according to FlightAware, while Amtrak suspended or limited service on the Boston-to-Washington corridor.

In West Hartford, Connecticut, a tractor-trailer jackknifed on snow-slicked Interstate 84, closing several westbound lanes.

The blizzard is predicted to be one of the worst snow storms to hit the region in four years.

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The snow is expected to move off the Maine coast by Sunday, but the National Weather Service warned “very cold weather” followed by “dangerous chills” will follow the storms.

Over 68 million people have been placed under winter weather alerts of varying degrees early Saturday morning. Around 10 million were placed under blizzard warnings.

Shoppers were seen stocking up on food supplies and power generators on Friday, according to The Associated Press.

Source: This post first appeared on NBC News

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