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26 injured as snow sparks crashes on I-95 in Connecticut

Another round of howling winds and blowing snow punished parts of New England, with at least 26 people hurt in collisions that forced the closure of busy Interstate 95 on Sunday.

More than a dozen collisions damaged 30 cars along a two-exit stretch of I-95 near West Haven, Conn., NBCConnecticut.com reported. Police closed both sides of the East Coast's primary north-south route for two hours.

As the storm system pushed north, it left a stretch along the northern border from upstate New York to the east coast of Maine bracing for bitterly cold wind chills and more snow, according to the National Weather Service. Eastern Maine faced a blizzard warning until 4 p.m. ET Monday.

Winds were predicted to gust up to 50 mph, causing wind chills approaching 30 degrees below zero. Blowing snow was likely to create white-out conditions and produce drifts up to several feet high, the weather service said

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The second blizzard in as many weeks is hitting the Northeast. NBC's Lester Holt reports.

In addition to Maine, parts of New York, Vermont and New Hampshire were under similar advisories, with wind chills of nearly 30 below possible in higher elevations.

Weather.com predicted that the wind would be a much bigger problem than snow, with only an additional inch or two expected. Such snows are "not particularly heavy by New England standards," weather.com said, but poor visibility and bitterly cold air presented real dangers.

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No widespread flight cancellations were reported by 6 a.m. ET Monday, according to FlightAware.com. However, the weather system on Sunday contributed to more than 200 U.S. and Canadian flight cancellations. Particularly hard hit was Charlotte-Douglas International Airport in North Carolina, where 84 flights were canceled. The storm dropped flurries as far south as Charleston, N.C.

Elsewhere, the Northern Plains was experiencing the nation's harshest winter weather.

The weather service issued blizzard warnings for parts of North Dakota and Minnesota, with wind gusts up to 45 mph and snowfall of up to 10 inches expected through Monday evening. The nearly 3 million inhabitants of Minneapolis-St. Paul were forecast to just miss the worst of the weather. 

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