Nor'easter pounds the Atlantic coast

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Freezing rain, sleet, snow, and unsafe winds are battering the East Coast right now, causing flight delays and cancelations to and from cities all along the eastern seaboard.

Over 2.2 million customers are without power from MA to Virginia.

Coastal communities in the Northeast experienced damaging high tide flooding and the lingering effects of powerful, gusting winds Saturday even as residents tried to shake off a nor'easter that had already inundated roads and basements, snapped trees and knocked out power.

"Take this storm seriously!"

The National Weather Service (NWS) in Boston warned the weather event was a "life and death" situation for people living along the coast.

Like the nor'easter in January, this storm could undergo bombogenesis - or become a "bomb cyclone" - by dropping at least 24 millibars of atmospheric pressure in 24 hours.

Amtrak canceled service to and from Boston, the District of Columbia and NY on Friday for what the company on Twitter called "hazardous conditions".

The National Weather Service reported that, "widespread snow, rain and strong winds developed overnight", due to the slow-moving storm.

The commuter system Metro-North said service in parts of CT and Long Island, New York, remain suspended Saturday due to fallen utility poles and trees.

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Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker declared a state of emergency Saturday, joining Maryland and Virginia governors who made the declarations Friday.

The Boston branch of the National Weather Service warned of major coastal flooding and beach erosion Friday night.

"I encourage all residents to be mindful of the storm and encourage employers to take the weather into consideration, which will mostly impact the coastal areas of our city", Walsh said. Boston Harbor, which has only seen tides above 15 feet twice - in 1978 and in January, during the bomb cyclone - is expected to see the tide at that level three times during this storm, CNN meteorologist Judson Jones said.

MA is taking the brunt of the storm, which hit Friday and is not expected to ease up until midday Saturday. Also, heavy snow fell in OH and upstate NY as the storm spun eastward.

At least five people were killed Friday by falling trees or branches, The Associated Press and CNN reported.

New York, the most populous United States city and home to 8.5 million people, was expected to avoid heavy snow but was forecast to receive two to three inches (six centimeters) of rain and wet snow, with gusts of up to 60 miles per hour (96 kilometers per hour).

Snow will mix with the rain Friday afternoon and evening, but no accumulation is expected. The biggest threats there are hurricane-force wind gusts and flooding, Jones said. Numerous customers without power are on the South Shore and elsewhere in Eastern Massachusetts.

The Port Authority of NY and New Jersey said it was securing cranes at a LaGuardia Airport construction project and it is making plans to use buses if airport trains at JFK or Newark airports are stopped because of the wind.

Officials feared the high tide before midnight on Friday could set an all-time record, but it wasn't quite as bad as predicted.

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The heavy winds are expected to batter the coasts and inland mountain regions, knocking down trees and power lines.

In Boston, high wind warnings are in effect through Saturday morning, when winds could whip up to 65 miles per hour.

The nor'easter's reach extended from ME to North Carolina, where the state's Outer Banks received storm and flood warnings.

Travelers with plans to fly to or from the worst-hit areas of New York, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and the Washington, D.C. area between Friday, March 2 and Saturday, March 3 can likely change, cancel, or postpone their flights.

Most of those cancellations were spread across airports in the Northeast, where wind gusts up to 70 miles per hour were possible.

"We've been here a long time and we've never seen it as bad as this", said Alex Barmashi, who lives in the hard-hit village of Sagamore Beach in MA.

"As the saying goes, March is coming in like a lion, and we are preparing for heavy snow, rain, and flooding across NY this weekend", he said.

In New Jersey, officials activated a state emergency operations center and urged residents to avoid unnecessary travel.

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