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The Northeast and the West Coast face potential flooding and travel-disrupting wind over the next couple of days, forecasters said early Wednesday.
But a major snowstorm that had been predicted in the East appeared unlikely to hit the big cities, while one of the strongest Western storms in five years will probably do little to make a dent in California's historic drought.
The East Coast system dumped heavy snow on parts of New England, with Killington Ski Resort getting 14 inches of the white stuff. Snow also fell overnight in northern New York state.
About 940 flights were canceled on Tuesday at airports across the U.S., according to FlightAware.
Overnight was relatively calm for the the major cities in the northeast, said Kevin Roth, lead meteorologist at The Weather Channel.
"In the business we call it a dry slot," he said. "Although Philadelphia did have a couple of showers overnight, Boston and New York City were dry and quiet."
The Dec. 9 record for rain was broken as three inches fell in New York as the Nor'easter crept up the mid-Atlantic coast Tuesday.
Heave rain was expected in coastal and southern New England south to New Jersey, possibly causing some flash floods later Wednesday, and strong wind gusts that could knock down power lines.
Meanwhile in California, residents were gearing up for possible floods, rock slides, mud slides and ground debris flows as an atmospheric system called the Pineapple Express slowly tracks south through the state. The National Weather Service said the storm could turn out to be "one of the strongest storms" since October 2009.
The heaviest rains will begin Wednesday night in Northern California, including the San Francisco Bay Area, where 2 to 5 inches is expected to cause localized flooding. The system will keep moving south, arriving early Friday in Southern California, where 1 to 2 inches of rain is expected, the National Weather Service said. "This isn't going to fix the drought," said Ari Sarsalari, a forecaster for The Weather Channel. "But it is going to help a bit."