By Mark Guarino
(Reuters) - A winter storm spread freezing rain and snow and snarled traffic from the Middle Atlantic states into New England on Saturday, and forecasters said they expected a second system to lash the region early next week.
Winter storm warnings were in place for much of Massachusetts, Maine and New Hampshire. Up to 8 inches of snow were expected in the area by Saturday night as the storm system headed east, said National Weather Service (NWS) meteorologist Brian Hurley in College Park, Maryland.
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With temperatures mostly around the freezing mark, "it is a wet snow. Drifting is not an issue at this point," he said.
Winds from the storm could reach up to 55 miles per hour on Cape Cod in Massachusetts on Saturday night, the NWS forecast.
In New Jersey, where snow totals reached up to 9 inches in some areas, state police reported 126 crashes by mid-morning on Saturday, but no major injuries, a spokesman said.
The New York City Department of Sanitation rolled out 2,100 snow plows, salt spreaders and other equipment to de-ice roads and sidewalks, a spokeswoman said. It also issued a call for laborers to help remove snow and ice.
A Massachusetts State Police spokeswoman said several accidents and spinouts had forced some state highway lanes to close temporarily. In Arlington, two people were injured in a crash late on Friday and officers were investigating it as possibly weather related, she said.
The website Flightaware.com reported about 1,650 flights delayed or canceled. It said the airports affected the most included LaGuardia in New York City and Liberty International in Newark, New Jersey.
The eastern United States could get a second swipe of winter weather, with a cold front moving out of Canada forecast to reach the upper Midwest by late on Saturday, Hurley said.
The weather service forecast the system to spread up to 8 inches of snow across Ohio and Indiana as it raced east.
When the cold front reaches moister air near the Atlantic Ocean, "it will be a significant event for New England as we get into Monday night and especially Tuesday," Hurley said.
Benjamin Sipprell, an NWS meteorologist in Taunton, Massachusetts, said the storm carried the potential for blizzard conditions in eastern New England.
(Reporting by Mark Guarino, Victoria Cavaliere in Seattle and Ian Simpson in Washington; Editing by Frances Kerry, Crispian Balmer and David Gregorio)