‘‘With tree branches laden with heavy, wet snow, the winds picking up and the temperatures plunging all at the same time, it’s a bad combination,’’ Gov. Lincoln Chafee said.
In Massachusetts, Gov. Deval Patrick enacted a statewide driving ban for the first time since the Blizzard of ‘78. Hours before the ban went into effect at 4 p.m., long lines formed at gas stations, some of which were almost out of fuel.
James Stone said he was saving the remaining regular gas at his station in Abington, south of Boston, for snowplow drivers.
‘‘It hasn’t snowed like this in two years,’’ Stone said. ‘‘Most people are caught way off-guard.’’
In New York, Fashion Week, a series of designer showings with some activities held under tents, went on mostly as scheduled, though organizers put on additional crews to deal with the snow and ice, turned up the heat and fortified the tents. The snow did require some wardrobe changes: Designer Michael Kors was forced to arrive at the Project Runway show in Uggs.
For Joe DeMartino, of Fairfield, Conn., being overprepared was impossible: His wife was expecting their first baby Sunday. He stocked up on gas and food, got firewood ready and was installing a baby seat in the car. The couple also packed for the hospital.
‘‘They say that things should clear up by Sunday. We’re hoping that they’re right,’’ he said.
Said his wife, Michelle: ‘‘It adds an element of excitement.’’
The snow was too much of a good thing in some places. In New Hampshire, the University of Connecticut’s Skiing Carnival was canceled because of the snowstorm. In Maine, the National Toboggan Championships in Camden were postponed from Saturday to Sunday, and the Camp Sunshine Polar Plunge was put off until March.
At Rosie’s Liquors in Abington, customers were lined up eight to 10 deep Friday, snapping up rum, wine and 30-packs of beer.
‘‘We've been absolutely slammed. It’s almost been like Christmas here,’’ manager Kristen Brown said. ‘‘A lot of people are saying, ‘I'm going to be stuck with my family all weekend. I need something to do.'’’
Associated Press writers Denise Lavoie in Whitman, Rodrique Ngowi in Watertown, John Christoffersen in Fairfield, Conn., and Bob Salsberg in Boston contributed to this report.