Meteorologists predicted that the seas in Boston Harbor could rise to above 15 feet, breaking the record set on Jan. 4.
"Take this storm seriously! This is a LIFE & DEATH situation for those living on the coast," the National Weather Service's Boston office tweeted Thursday.
On the island of Nantucket, streets flooded, the Atlantic Ocean breached berms, and boats blew ashore hours before high tide Friday.
In the seaside towns of Duxbury and Scituate, officials urged residents to evacuate and canceled school. Fire departments prepared dive teams and high-water vehicles for rescues.
In New York state, parts of Long Island were also experiencing flooding Friday morning, and some upstate areas south of Buffalo had already received more than a foot and a half of snow.
Ahead of the storm Cuomo activated New York's State Emergency Operations Center and deployed senior officials across the state to assist with emergency management. Stockpiled generators, pumps, sand bags and ready-to-eat meals were on hand for distribution, and utility crews were ready to tackle power outages.
In New York City, it was business as usual for the most part, with commuters heading to work, schools and courts open, and even the occasional pedestrian walking outside without an umbrella.
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Subway service was operating normally, though the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey was providing alternate shuttle service to Newark-Liberty International Airport because winds were too strong for Airtrain to operate.
The Department of Sanitation tweeted that it had some 700 salt spreaders ready, and Mayor Bill de Blasio encouraged New Yorkers to follow updates from the city's emergency management office.
The storm was expected to hit its peak around noon Eastern time Friday and then continue moving east offshore, Chenard, the meteorologist, said. Rain and snow will subside by Friday night, but winds and coastal flooding will continue into late Saturday morning.
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