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Midwestern storm is heading northeast with heavy snowfall and flood threat

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By Alex Johnson

The winter storm that paralyzed trips in the Midwest headed east on Monday, dropping heavy rains in regions prone to floods already soaked by previous rains.

And that is just the beginning.

The National Weather Service said the rain would turn into snow, often heavy, in parts of New England on Monday night when the storm crashed into a low-pressure system along the northeast coast.

Accumulations of snow could exceed one foot from northern New York State to northern Maine, where warnings of winter storms and other winter warnings were in effect.

Further south, including New York City and Philadelphia, flood warnings and warnings were in effect, and up to 1½ inches more rain is expected until early Tuesday, forecasters said.

"We expect moderate to heavy rains that can cause slippery conditions during tonight's predicament," said Joseph Esposito, commissioner of emergency management for the City of New York. "Take it slowly during the trip back home at night and allow additional travel time."

On its back, the storm will also produce lake-effect snow 10 inches or more around Erie and Ontario lakes until mid-week, the weather service said. Strong winds in both regions will hit the snow to create dangerous travel conditions, he said.

"We urge drivers to delay unnecessary trips in the winter weather, and if you have to travel, slow down and give plow operators a lot of space," said Pennsylvania Transportation Secretary Leslie Richards.

It was expected that northern New England was especially hit, with a maximum of 1½ feet of snow. School officials were nervously watching conditions on Monday in Rumford, Maine, where a foot of snow was expected and where a lot of snow days could cause problems when those days should recover later in the school year.

Deb Alden, superintendent of Unit 10 of the Regional School, told NBC affiliate WCSH of Portland that accumulating snow days before Christmas "is not normal."

Rumford said he is likely to cancel classes on Tuesday, just the second snowy day of the year so far. But she acknowledged: "It's not a perfect science."

The storm covered much of the Midwest over the weekend, clogging flights, closing roads and closing schools in several states.

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