Flights slashed, speed limits lowered as winter storm wallops Northeast

(CNN) -- A blustery snowstorm sweeping the Northeast wreaked havoc on highways across the region and disrupted air traffic throughout the country before beginning to make a quick exit to the northeast Sunday.

The storm is expected to spare major metropolitan areas like Boston and New York on Sunday, but some areas in Maine and along the U.S.-Canada border could see as much as 14 inches of snow, the National Weather Service said.

The good news for New Englanders and New Yorkers was that the storm was quickly moving out of the Northeast. Conditions were already improving across the region Sunday morning.

But a winter storm warning touches parts of four states. Many areas in New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine, as well as some in New York around the Great Lakes, could see 1 to 3 inches of snow on Sunday, the weather service predicted.

By early Sunday, 300 flights into, out of, or within the United States were canceled, according to flightaware.com.

Highway traffic may be treacherous, with the problem compounded by high winds. CNN affiliate WCVB-TV reported that Massachusetts expects to use 10,000 tons of salt and 2,000 vehicles during the storm.

Frank DePaola of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation told CNN that speed limits on major roads had been lowered to 45 mph.

Those snowed in might watch the New England Patriots on TV -- they're in sunny Miami, facing the Dolphins on Sunday.

The eastward-moving storm dropped snow earlier across the Midwest and western Pennsylvania, with 9 inches reported in Urbana, Illinois.

Millions of people are experiencing the big chill as the system dropped snow along a swath more than 1,000 miles long.

FedEx said winter weather and high winds caused major disruptions at the company's Memphis, Tennessee, hub that could delay shipments across the United States.

Chicago has already been hit hard. The snow that fell Saturday afternoon was wet, making it heavy and difficult to shovel.

CNN's Adam Shivers contributed to this report.

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