US East Coast battens down the hatches ahead of blizzard

BOSTON (AP) — Residents and officials along the U.S. East Coast are bracing for a powerful winter storm that is expected produce blizzard conditions and coastal flooding.

Last-minute shoppers cleared grocery shelves and raided snowblower dealers Friday ahead of the storm. Snow could fall as fast as 5 inches per hour in some spots.

Forecasters say heavy snow and strong winds will begin Friday evening in parts of the Carolinas and Appalachia.

The system will then intensify as a nor’easter and bring snow up through New England.