The monster snowstorm bearing down on the Northeast sent people scrambling Monday to gas up their cars, stock their refrigerators and charge their phones. Travelers rushed to get to their destinations before airports closed, rail service was suspended and roads were declared off-limits.
Here are some of their stories:
Thanks to the impending blizzard, Monday was slow at the Children's Rehabilitation Center in White Plains, New York. Just four kids showed up for therapy — there are usually as many as 30 — and the clinic closed early as snow intensified. Staffers then called to cancel all of Tuesday's appointments, leaving Dr. Jaishree Capoor, a physiatrist, with an unexpected day off.
But Capoor, 43, apparently is not the type to take advantage of a free day by binge-watching TV.
"You know, I have a lot of paperwork to catch up on," she said as she waited for a train home to Manhattan. "And I have to study for my sports medicine recertification. And you know, I have so much more to learn about meditation. I can do that."
The dedicated doctor said she was didn't think the clinic was overreacting to the forecast.
"After Hurricane Sandy, you take these warnings more seriously," she said.
Capoor said she's not likely to emerge anytime Wednesday from her 12th-floor apartment.
"Snow scares me," she said. "Two years ago I fell and broke my jaw. I couldn't eat solids for a month."
Gwynne Sigel, retrieving her daughter at about noon Monday at Albert M. Greenfield School in Philadelphia, wondered if the storm will be as bad as advertised. Still, she understands the need for caution.
"It's always eleventh hour with the early dismissals. But, with the snow, it's tricky," Sigel said. "They carry on a lot here in Philly, the weathermen. They always think it's going to be terrible and then you have to wait and see."
Her 13-year-old daughter, Zamira Sigel-Kulick, planned to sleep in Tuesday if schools are closed. But she can't laze around all day.
"My teachers gave us a lot of homework to do tomorrow," Zamira said.
Jeff Regis found himself stuck at Boston's Logan International Airport on Monday night after his connecting flight from Reykjavík, Iceland, to Montreal was canceled.
"It's pretty frustrating," said the 25-year-old, who recently finished a master's program in computer games technology at Abertay University in Dundee, Scotland. "Apparently the airport's closed tomorrow so my next available flight is in two days, so I'm going to have to pay two nights at a hotel out of my own pocket."
Despite the frustration, Regis — who's hoping to land a job in Montreal — said he's used to the snow, having grown up in Ontario.
While New Yorkers were rushing home Monday as the snowflakes fell faster and thicker on Times Square, Christy Vell, a visitor from Orlando, Florida, was in no hurry.
She had traded the Florida sunshine for a blizzard.
"But this is great!" she said, standing in the middle of the square blanketed in white.
She was headed to a deli and planned to go to a show in the evening. Broadway shows were later canceled.
Just getting that kind of information was a challenge on Monday.
"I keep calling and it's always busy," she said.
The rest of a few more days in New York may not be much fun.
She can't fly out from paralyzed airports. "So I'll probably end up sitting in my hotel room if the snow is as bad as they say," she said.
Tony Richards of East Hartford, Connecticut, was worried about being able to drive home from his second job at a Home Depot, where he was scheduled to work 9 p.m. Monday to 1 a.m. Tuesday unpacking the usual beginning-of-the-week deliveries.
"It's a big blizzard. Anything can happen," Richards, 50, said while getting gas in Hartford on Monday morning. "If it gets bad, they might let us out early."
Richards said he was among a throng of people at grocery store near his home making last-minute preparations for the storm on Sunday, when he bought milk, bread and other items.
"This is a little bit crazy," he said.
While many New Jersey businesses were shortening their hours and allowing employees to leave early in advance of the storm's onset later Monday, supermarkets and hardware stores were doing a brisk trade by late morning as light snow fell.
Nicole Coelho, 29, a nanny from Lyndhurst, was readying to pick up her charges early from school and stocking up on macaroni and cheese, frozen pizzas and milk at a Stop & Shop in Nutley. She also was preparing in case of a power outage.
"I'm going to make sure to charge up my cellphone, and I have a good book I haven't gotten around to reading yet," she said.
A few miles away in Clifton, cars nearly filled the parking lot at a Home Depot as people pushed shopping carts through the snow and muscled heavy bags of sand and rock salt into car trunks.
Bloomfield resident Rick Whipple, 57, a software developer, finished rolling a propane tank into the back of his car and said he planned to work from home Monday.
Was the propane for extra heat?
"It's so I can go home and barbecue," Whipple said, as if the answer was self-evident. "Seriously. I don't stop just because there's some snow."
Associated Press writers Jim Fitzgerald in White Plains, N.Y.; Michael Sisak in Philadelphia; Steve LeBlanc in Boston; Verena Dobnik in New York; Dave Collins in Hartford, Conn.; and David Porter in Lyndhurst, N.J., contributed to this report.