By Scott Malone
BOSTON (Reuters) - Snow began falling across the Northeast on Sunday ahead of a major winter storm that forecasters said could dump more than a foot (30 cm) of snow in some areas, disrupt travel and bring blizzard conditions to Maine.
The worst of the storm was expected to hit later on Sunday night and into Monday morning, said Michael Schichtel, a lead forecaster at the National Weather Service's Weather Prediction Center, urging residents to take precautions.
"All through the storm you have to be very careful, you don't want to go out in conditions like this," Schichtel said.
"Places that look very much under gun for later tonight into tomorrow include interior Connecticut, Massachusetts, south-central New Hampshire, Vermont and especially Maine," he said.
A low-pressure system tracking eastward across the Ohio Valley and Mid-Atlantic region was due for "rapid intensification" on Sunday night and Monday morning after it passes through the New England coast.
Storm warnings were issued across the Northeast with blizzard warnings for the coastal areas of Maine.
Coastal New England could experience flooding, and widespread windy conditions with potential gusts greater than 50 mph (80 kph) expected as far west as the central Appalachians and Mid-Atlantic region, the weather service said.
"At this time, the corridor expected to be in the bulls-eye of heaviest snow will be portions of central and eastern Maine, including Bangor and Bar Harbor," AccuWeather said.
The weather stands to disrupt travel, likely to result in major airline delays and cancellations, and slow economic activity in much of New England, AccuWeather.com reported.
"Even away from the storm, airline disruptions can occur as flight crews are displaced," AccuWeather said.
More than 1,300 flights had been canceled and nearly 6,000 delayed as of Sunday evening, according to flight tracking website flightaware.com.
The Northeast is coming off the fiercest snowstorm of the winter, which dumped more than a foot (30 cm) of snow in some areas on Thursday, causing thousands of flights to be canceled and schools to be closed.
(Additional reporting by Daniel Trotta in New York and Dan Whitcomb in Los Angeles; Editing by Andrea Ricci)