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Powerful storm pummels US East Coast

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Blinding snow whipped up by powerful winds pummelled the eastern United States on Saturday, as one of the strongest winter storms in years triggered severe weather alerts, transport chaos and power outages across a region of some 70 million people.

With multiple blizzard warnings in effect, cities like New York and Boston bore the brunt of the storm, which the National Weather Service (NWS) confirmed Saturday had intensified into a “bomb cyclone” — characterized by the explosive power of rapid drops in atmospheric pressure. Coastal areas were expected to receive more than one foot of snow by the end of the day, and as much as three feet in parts of Massachusetts, where more than 119,000 homes were reported without power.

Cold weather alerts were raised as far south as Florida, where the NWS warned of “scattered to isolated falling iguanas from trees” as plunging temperatures temporarily paralyzed the large lizards, which can weigh up to 20 pounds (nine kilograms). Residents in towns and cities across the eastern seaboard were urged to avoid all unnecessary travel in the whiteout conditions. In Long Island, officials said a woman had been found dead in her car by a snowplow operator.

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