Blizzard headed toward mid-Atlantic region

Residents in the mid-Atlantic states have rushed to stores for shovels, ice-melting chemicals and other emergency supplies ahead of a storm that is expected to wallop the region with as much as 24 inches of snow Friday.

A blizzard is expected to hit New Jersey and Delaware starting Friday afternoon, while near-blizzard conditions are expected to hit Washington and Baltimore, Maryland, the National Weather Service said.

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Baltimore-area residents rushed for supplies late Thursday, CNN affiliate WUSA reported.

Shannon Whitehead of College Park said her hardware store had sold out of snow shovels.

Whitehead had little time to find supplies, the weather service predicted.

A storm warning was issued for Baltimore and Washington from 10 a.m. Friday till 10 p.m. Saturday. The storm will make travel very hazardous or nearly impossible Friday night, the agency said.

A blizzard warning was issued for parts of New Jersey and Delaware from 4 p.m. Friday till 7 p.m. Saturday.

“Snowfall totals of 12 to 18 inches are expected near the Delaware and central New Jersey coast, with up to 24 inches expected expected over southern New Jersey,” the weather service said.

The blizzard will make travel extremely dangerous in New Jersey, the agency said. Snow, strong winds and poor visibility are likely, leading to whiteout conditions.

Southwest Airlines canceled most flights to Baltimore, Philadelphia and Washington for Friday afternoon and evening. And the storm could affect more flights Saturday and Sunday, the airline said.

Amtrak has canceled most Friday service from Washington southward, it said in a statement.

Baltimore, Washington and northern Virginia could receive 16 to 24 inches of snow. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, could get 8 to 12 inches.

Storm warnings also covered parts of Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, Indiana, Ohio and South Carolina.

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