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The Northeast is getting the brunt of the storm. Forecasters issued a blizzard warning for New York City for Sunday and Monday, with a forecast of 11 to 16 inches of snow and strong winds that will reduce visibility to near zero at times. A blizzard warning was also in effect for Rhode Island and most of eastern Massachusetts including Boston, with forecasters predicting 15 to 20 inches of snow. A blizzard warning is issued when snow is accompanied by sustained winds or gusts over 35 mph.

As much as 18 inches could fall on the New Jersey shore with wind gusts over 40 mph.

Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter declared a snow emergency and urged residents to stay off the roads.

The NFL moved the Philadelphia Eagles‘ game against the Minnesota Vikings from Sunday night to Tuesday because of the blizzard. Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, who does football commentaries after Eagles games, was not amused.

“This is football; football’s played in bad weather,” Rendell told KYW-TV. “I, for one, was looking forward to sitting in the stands throughout the snow and seeing an old-time football game.”

In Boston, Mayor Thomas Menino declared a snow emergency that bans parking on all major streets, and the New England Aquarium bubble-wrapped its four 5-foot-tall penguin ice sculptures to protect them from the wind and snow.

More than 2,400 sanitation workers were working in 12-hour shifts to clear New York City’s 6,000 miles of streets. Not that Mayor Michael Bloomberg wanted people to use them.

“I understand that a lot of families need to get home after a weekend away, but please don’t get on the roads unless you absolutely have to,” Bloomberg said.

In Rhode Island, emergency officials encouraged businesses to let employees report to work late Monday, saying road conditions for the early morning commute Monday would be treacherous.

The snow was easier to take for people who just stayed home.

“The weather outside is frightful, but the fire is so delightful, and since we’ve no place to go, I’m gonna uncork a Bordeaux,” Paul White said on Twitter from his home in Point Lookout, N.Y. In a phone interview, the lawyer — who was indeed sipping a glass of red wine — said the snow gave his family a chance to be together and cozy another day.

The weather deterred some people from hitting day-after-Christmas sales, but that appeared to be a relatively light blow for retailers coming off a strong shopping season.

“People will just wait a day to do exchanges and use their gift cards. It’s no big deal,” said Greg Maloney, CEO of the retail practice of Jones Lang LaSalle, which manages malls across the country.

There were more snow plows than shoppers at Jackson Premium Outlets in Jackson, N.J., but the weather didn’t keep Shoba Dorai from making the trip from Edison with a girlfriend and her friend’s two toddlers. Several stores closed by 3 p.m.

It was not that bad when we left this morning around 10:30,” Dorai said. “I guess it was not a great idea, though.”

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