New York - Predictions for a blizzard to hit New England widened on Thursday to include New York, threatening commuter disruptions and power outages in America's most densely populated region.

The National Weather Service predicted a “major winter storm” for Friday into Saturday and said New York City was in the mix for blizzard conditions, which combine sustained strong winds and snowfall.

The storm was expected to pound Boston particularly hard, but forecasters said the system should blow through later on Saturday, with milder temperatures to follow.

“The storm should reach its peak intensity early Saturday morning just east of Cape Cod,” the weather service said, forecasting between 30cm and 60cm of snow across the region.

Strong winds of 40km/h to 55km/h were expected.

According to the commercial AccuWeather service, Boston is expected to be in the thick of it.

The Friday commute and air travel were expected to see snarl-ups, while wet, freezing snow on power lines was likely to knock out electricity in some areas, although the weekend should give repair crews time to swing into action.

“Many people could be caught offguard Friday evening,” AccuWeather said. “A person travelling northeastward from New York City to Boston Friday evening along I-95 would encounter increasingly challenging and potentially dangerous weather conditions.”

“Strong winds will not only cause whiteout conditions and massive drifts, but also coastal flooding and power outages. Gusts can approach hurricane force in coastal areas,” AccuWeather predicted. - Sapa-AFP