The Latest: Storm forces NYC officials to close schools

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The Latest on an early-spring storm hitting the Northeast (all times local):

6 p.m.

The fourth nor’easter in three weeks is forcing New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio to close public schools.

The Democratic mayor made the call in a tweet early Tuesday evening.

The metro area is expected to get a dose of heavy wet snow starting Tuesday night and throughout Wednesday.

The National Weather Service predicts a total of more than six inches of snow, with a potential for up to between 12 and 16 inches possible.

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5:10 p.m.

Airlines have already canceled more than 1,600 flights ahead of an approaching spring storm that threatens the Northeast with more than a foot of snow.

Cancellations for Wednesday flights mounted at airports from Washington to Boston. There were more than 500 on Tuesday alone.

On the ground, Amtrak is scaling back service along the Northeast corridor Wednesday, while Pennsylvania is banning certain kinds of commercial vehicles from major highways beginning Tuesday night. Kids in Philadelphia will get a day off from school.

The region’s fourth nor’easter in three weeks is expected to bring high winds, heavy snow and coastal flooding.

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1:20 p.m.

Landscapers are swapping their rakes and leaf blowers for snow plows as yet another storm bears down on the Northeast, just in time for spring.

Snow has started falling in Philadelphia and elsewhere.

The bulk of the snow and sleet is expected to wallop New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware and parts of eastern Pennsylvania on Wednesday before heading off to Nantucket early Thursday. The fourth nor’easter to slam the region in three weeks could dump more than a foot of snow in places.

Along the New Jersey coast, landscaping crews tended to shrubs and plants at oceanfront homes Tuesday morning, then packed up their garden tools as they shifted into plowing mode.

Pennsylvania is banning certain types of trucks from major highways due to the approaching storm.

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9:15 a.m.

The first days of spring in parts of the Northeast will look a lot like the last weeks of winter.

The National Weather Service says a powerful storm packing heavy, wet snow and strong winds could dump up to 18 inches (about a half-meter) of snow in some locations on Wednesday, the fourth nor’easter to smack the region in the last three weeks.

The bulk of the dangerous, wind-driven snow and sleet is expected to wallop New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware and parts of eastern Pennsylvania before heading off to Nantucket early Thursday. A foot (0.3 meters) to 16 inches (0.4 meters) of snow is expected in New York City; Philadelphia could get slightly more. Coastal flood warnings are posted for shore communities.

Sleet and freezing rain are expected by Tuesday afternoon, the first day of spring. The mixed precipitation should turn to all snow by late Tuesday and continue through most of Wednesday.

Widespread power outages are possible, especially Wednesday, with gusts blowing up to 35 mph (56 kph).

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