Northeast bracing for heavy rains, snow, wind

Major Winter Storm Ahead

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - The Northeast is bracing for a strong, slow-moving storm expected to bring heavy rains and high winds to a wide swath of the coast and a half-foot or more of snow to some inland areas.

The messy system moving into the region threatens to bring 2 or more inches of rain to southern New England on Tuesday, the National Weather Service said. Wet, heavy snow and gusty winds farther inland could take down tree limbs and cut power.

Flood watches are in effect in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island beginning Tuesday morning and stretching into the evening, with significant flooding possible in urban areas and areas with poor drainage.

Some coastal areas are also bracing for high winds. The weather service is predicting winds of 15 to 25 mph with gusts of 50 mph possible.

"It's a significant coastal storm that's going to be approaching southern New England from the south" on Monday night, said Kim Buttrick, a National Weather Service meteorologist based in Taunton, Massachusetts. "We do have multiple hazards with this storm. ... There's a lot going on."

Minimal snowfall is expected along the heavily traveled Interstate 95 corridor from Philadelphia to Boston, but winter weather advisories have been issued for parts of Pennsylvania, New York, Massachusetts and New Hampshire that are farther inland.

In Massachusetts, the storm is expected to bring mostly rain and strong winds to the eastern part of the state, but some parts of western Massachusetts could see 6 or more inches of snow on Tuesday.

Some higher elevations, including New York's Catskills and Adirondacks, could get up to 2 feet of snow through Thursday before the plodding storm takes its leave.

The heavy, wet snow and gusty winds could combine to bring down tree limbs and power lines, causing outages.

In New Hampshire, which is expecting a mix of rain, snow and sleet, power companies were making preparations for the storm, which comes less than two weeks after nasty Thanksgiving weather knocked out electricity to more than 200,000 people.

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Northeast bracing for heavy rains, snow, wind
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WINDHAM, ME - NOVEMBER 26: Laurie Perham is dressed for the winter in her heavy coat as she cleans the freshly fallen snow from her car after work in Windham in preparation for the ride home to Naples as the snow storm intensifies in Windham areas. (Photo by Gordon Chibroski/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images)
Airline passengers at Dulles International Airport outside Washington, DC, in Virginia, arrive to snow showers on the busiest travel day of the year November 26, 2014. Hundreds of flights were cancelled or delayed Wednesday in the US northeast as a winter storm delivered freezing rain and snow ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday, one of the year's biggest travel weekends. A wintry mix was falling in Boston, Philadelphia, New York and Washington, according to the National Weather Service, which forecast 'havoc' for travelers along the east coast from the Carolinas up through New England. AFP Photo/Paul J. Richards (Photo credit should read PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)

NOOA satellite loop taken on November 26, 2014 of a nor'easter moving up the East Coast of the U.S. Forecasters expect the storm to bring rain and snow to a large swathe of the Eastern Seaboard, disrupting holiday travel on one of the busiest travel days of the year.

Airline passengers at Dulles International Airport outside Washington, DC, in Virginia, arrive to snow showers on the busiest travel day of the year November 26, 2014. Hundreds of flights were cancelled or delayed Wednesday in the US northeast as a winter storm delivered freezing rain and snow ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday, one of the year's biggest travel weekends. A wintry mix was falling in Boston, Philadelphia, New York and Washington, according to the National Weather Service, which forecast 'havoc' for travelers along the east coast from the Carolinas up through New England. AFP Photo/Paul J. Richards (Photo credit should read PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)
BUFFALO, NY, UNITED STATES - NOVEMBER 21: Roadside Snow view from a car on November 21, 2014 in Buffalo, New York as the death toll attributed to Buffalo snow rises to 13. A brutal blast of Arctic air triggered a lake-effect storm and snow in the states of New York, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. (Photo by Patrick McPartland/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - NOVEMBER 19: In this handout provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) from the GOES-East satellite, infrared image shows icy cold Canadian air settles over the eastern two-thirds of the U.S. bringing snow and bitter cold pictured at 12:30 UTC on November 19, 2014. The deep low pressure system is pushing polar air over the Eastern U.S. is centered over southeastern Canada. The storm has already dumped 5 feet of snow outside Buffalo, New York with more on the way. (Photo by NOAA/NASA GOES Project via Getty Images)
BUFFALO, NY, UNITED STATES - NOVEMBER 22: A high loader works to clear snow along an avenue on November 22, 2014 in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Patrick McPartland/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
BUFFALO, NY, UNITED STATES - NOVEMBER 22: A high loader works to clear snow along an avenue on November 22, 2014 in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Patrick McPartland/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
BUFFALO SNOW MELT: Officials rush to prevent flooding as temperatures climb. 'READ' more: http://t.co/DIUkXovJSi http://t.co/I52SGwNZt6
As #snow melts, #snowvember damage totals sure to rise http://t.co/qb2mMGMMmg via @BfloBizJimFink http://t.co/TQPo7HhE8J
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Snow drifted above many people's heads in Cheektowaga, New York, a southern suburb of Buffalo. (Anthony Quintano)
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BUFFALO, NY, UNITED STATES - NOVEMBER 21: A residents work to remove snow from the roof on November 21, 2014 in Buffalo, New York as the death toll attributed to Buffalo snow rises to 13. A brutal blast of Arctic air triggered a lake-effect storm and snow in the states of New York, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. (Photo by Patrick McPartland/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
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