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An early spring storm with heavy snow and bruising winds was expected to wallop portions of Massachusetts and eastern Maine as it moved up the Atlantic coast.

Just days after the official end of one of the snowiest winters on record, the storm began heading up the Interstate 95 corridor Tuesday, dropping snowflakes onto Washington, D.C.'s budding cherry trees and dusting government buildings in northern Virginia.

A woman walks past a cherry tree covered with snow in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday.JEWEL SAMAD / AFP - Getty Images

The biggest impact was expected Wednesday when 5 to 10 inches of snow was forecast for Cape Cod, Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts. On Maine's eastern tip, Hancock and Washington counties could get 8 to 16 inches of snow. Blizzard warnings were in effect in both states.

The National Weather Service also warned of coastal flooding and significant beach erosion along the Massachusetts coast and wind gusts causing scattered power outages in eastern Maine.

Although spring began a week ago, it's not unusual to have storms so late in the year, said weather service spokesman Bill Simpson. The Boston area got more than 2 inches of snow in an April storm last year and was blanketed with almost 2 feet the same month in 1997.

Meanwhile, New York looked set to be spared the worst of the wintry weather.

- The Associated Press