Latest updates: Homicides of Shanann Watts, daughters
Christopher Watts charged with murder, unlawful termination of a pregnancy in deaths of wife, daughters

Bomb cyclone slams Northeast: ‘Expect the unexpected,’ forecasters warn

NEW YORK — Millions of people are getting walloped by a bomb cyclone that’s bringing hurricane-force winds, blinding snow and “high astronomical tide” in eastern Massachusetts.

More than 13 million people are under blizzard warnings, from Virginia to Maine.

“The situation has continued to deteriorate,” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Thursday, as snow predictions in his state grew more dire.

The bomb cyclone, which developed overnight, occurs when a low-pressure system has a significant, rapid drop in atmospheric pressure.

That spells wind gusts as strong as 80 mph along the coast, meteorologist Dave Hennen said. It’s basically like enduring a Category 1 hurricane — except getting blasted by snow instead of rain.

Chunks of ocean ice could fly inland, thanks to mammoth 13- to 18-foot waves, Hennen said.

In Quincy, Massachusetts, one street turned into an icy river Thursday.

“Stay away from the coasts,” the National Weather Service in Boston tweeted, warning of a “high astronomical tide.”

Now, millions of Americans are paralyzed by the storm — with thousands of flights grounded, hundreds of schools closed and grocery store shelves emptied.

The projected snowfall for New York increased Thursday, with up to 10 inches expected in New York City and up to 12 inches on Long Island, Cuomo said.

Forecasters predict more than a foot of snow in Boston; up to 8 inches in New York City; and up to 6 inches in Philadelphia.

At least 16 people have died this week because of severe weather, officials said.

Six deaths were reported in Wisconsin, four in Texas, three in North Carolina, and one each in Michigan, Missouri and North Dakota.

More than 3,100 US flights have been canceled for Thursday, according to Flightaware.com. All flights from New York’s LaGuardia and JFK International airports were suspended Thursday. And American Airlines has suspended all departures from Boston.

More than 40,000 customers in Virginia and North Carolina had no power Thursday, according to Dominion Energy.

And a day after the storm struck the Southeast, more than 8,000 customers were also without power in Florida, according to Duke Energy.

At least 11 major school districts in the Northeast closed Thursday, including those in New York City, Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Providence, Rhode Island.

AlertMe