(CNN) — A potentially historic winter storm was closing in on New England on Friday with tens of millions of people in its sights. The storm has canceled thousands of flights and could bring 2 feet of snow to cities like Boston.
The icy rage will commence Friday afternoon, the National Weather Service predicts, and will last into Saturday.
Snow could lock some residents indoors over the weekend.
In addition, it will produce high winds and stir up trouble at sea, pushing ocean waves onto land and flooding New England coastlines.
“It’s going to be one of the strongest winter storms we’ve seen in a very long time,” CNN meteorologist Pedram Javaheri said.
But by early next week, much of the Northeast will probably re-emerge from underneath the white blanket, Javaheri said, as temperatures in many places are expected to go above 40 degrees.
The gathering snowstorm is driving droves of New Englanders into shops to gather supplies, then dash home to stock their cupboards, batten down the hatches and brace for possible record-breaking snow.
When Reading, Massachusetts, resident Elizabeth Frazier stocked up on supplies late Thursday, shoppers were buying up the store. She grabbed the last bottles of water in sight.
“It’s a zoo in there,” she said. “There’s nothing left on the shelves,” she told CNN affiliate WHDH .
Motorists lined up to fill their tanks at gas stations in New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts.