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'Historic' blizzard strikes US northeast

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New York (AFP) - A winter storm pounded the northeastern United States on Monday hitting tens of millions of people and forcing the rare cancelation of Broadway shows in an "historic" New York blizzard.

Winter Storm Juno is expected to dump up to three feet (around a meter) of snow in parts of the northeast, with the worst affected areas likely to be New England, particularly Connecticut and Massachusetts.

More than 6,560 flights on Monday and Tuesday were cancelled, the New York city transit system was to shut at 11pm and road travel made a criminal offense in 13 counties of New York state.

Residents across the region rushed to supermarkets to stockpile food and essential items, as commuters rushed home to hunker down.

"It could be a matter of life and death, and that's not being overly dramatic, so caution is required," New York state Governor Andrew Cuomo warned.

States of emergency were declared in New York and New Jersey and a travel ban imposed in Connecticut.

New York's famed Broadway and top music venues -- including Carnegie Hall and the Metropolitan Opera -- shelved performances. NBA games were also postponed.

Heavy snow buffeted the region but Juno was expected to escalate into a major storm with poor visibility and dangerous winds overnight that will paralyze swaths of the East Coast.

As well as blizzard warnings, flood warnings are also in effect, with officials warning against power outages and falling trees.

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