Up to 30 inches of snow. That's how much some predicted could be dumped on Boston by the time this blizzard was done - which would amount to a new all-time snowfall record for the Massachusetts city, one hardly unfamiliar with winter storms.
These kind of forecasts, throughout the Northeast, were matched by frequent calls by officials to hunker down. The governors of Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut ordered cars off the roads. In Boston, that translated to largely empty streets - spare a few plows - on what would have been Friday rush hour.
That meant fewer people out to experience the elements - in the form of small, icy snowflakes blowing in winds that, in some places, gusted up to 60 mph. That intensity of snow, and wind, was expected to continue - if not get even stronger - into Saturday morning.
[Updated at 6:17 p.m.]Β The storm has taken a toll on flights to and from the Northeast.
U.S. airlines have cancelled more than 4,700 flights that were to take off from Thursday to Sunday.
Editor's Note:Β Superstorm Sandy smashed ashore last night, triggering floods, fires and devastation. At least 33 people are known to have died in the United States and one in Canada, adding to the stormβs earlier toll of 67. Millions are without power. Floods have hit homes and the New York subway system. Here is theΒ full story and below is the latest news as we learn it.
Are you there? Send your stories and photos to CNN iReport but stay safe.
[Update 11:02 p.m.]Β Superstorm Sandy continues to weaken over Pennsylvania. It is some 50 miles east-northeast of Pittsburgh, according to an 11 p.m. advisory from the National Hurricane Center. The storm is expected to move northward into Canada on Wednesday.
CNN meteorologist Dave Hennen has gathered the data, crunched the figures and come up with this staggering list of factoids about the massive storm that is Hurricane Sandy:
- Strongest ever: Based on pressure, Sandy is likely to be the strongest storm ever to make landfall north of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, for as long as records have been kept. The benchmark storm, the 1938 Long Island Express Hurricane, contained a low pressure reading of 946 millibars. Sandy currently has a minimum pressure of 943 millibars. Generally speaking, the lower the pressure, the stronger the storm.Β Stormsurf.com explains.
Millions of people in the Caribbean are being warned to get ready for a hurricane that's expected to strike tomorrow, bringing destructive waves and life-threatening mudslides.
Tropical Storm Isaac formed in the Atlantic Ocean and churned toward the Caribbean Sea on Tuesday afternoon, and it could become a Β Category 1 hurricane by Thursday, forecasters at the National Hurricane Center said.
Late Tuesday afternoon, Isaac was 500 miles east of Guadeloupe in the Leeward Islands and moving west at 17 mph. Maximum sustained winds were 40 mph, just beyond the threshold for a tropical storm. It would become a hurricane if winds reach 74 mph.
Tropical storm watches and warnings cover much of the Leeward Islands as well as Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
Conditions are favorable for strengthening as the storm enters the northern Caribbean Sea, forecasters said.
It could become a Category 2 hurricane, with maximum sustained winds above 95 mph, as it approaches Cuba on Saturday.
Forecasters caution that the forecast track is uncertain and the storm could be anywhere from the Bahamas to the north and the Cayman Islands to the south on Saturday.
It is still too early to tell what, if any, effects the storm will have on the U.S. mainland, but there are several computer models that bring the storm into the Gulf of Mexico, while others move the storm further east.
With roughly 50,000 people headed for Tampa, Florida, for the Republican National Convention August 27-30, there is heightened interest in the future path of the storm.