Massachusetts' governor banned cars from state highways for the first time in 35 years Friday as the Northeast blizzard bore down on New England. Forecasters said Boston's all-time snowfall record may be broken.
From New Jersey to Maine, shoppers crowded into supermarkets and hardware stores to buy food, snow shovels and flashlights as well as generators. Across much of New England, schools closed before the first snowflakes.
At Rosie's Liquors in Abington, Mass., customers were lined up eight to 10 deep Friday, snapping up rum, wine and 30-packs of beer.
"A lot of people are saying, 'I'm going to be stuck with my family all weekend. I need something to do,' " manager Kristen Brown said.
The National Weather Service said Boston could get close to 3 feet of snow by this evening -- breaking its record of 27.6 inches, set in 2003 -- while most of Rhode Island could receive more than 2 feet. Connecticut braced for 2 feet.
The Boston Archdiocese urged parishioners to be prudent about attending Sunday Mass.
The storm came almost 35 years to the day after the Blizzard of '78, a ferocious storm that dropped 27 inches of snow, packed hurricane-force winds and claimed dozens of lives.
Interstate 95 in Rhode Island was closed to all but essential traffic. Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick enacted a statewide driving ban for the first time since the Blizzard of '78.