WASHINGTON (AP) -- A blizzard menacing the Eastern United States started dumping snow in Virginia, Tennessee and other parts of the South on Friday as millions of people in the storm's path prepared for icy roads, possible power outages and other treacherous conditions.

Snowfall as heavy as 1 to 3 inches an hour could last for 24 hours or more in some areas, said meteorologist Paul Kocin with the National Weather Service. That puts estimates at more than 2 feet for Washington, a foot to 18 inches for Philadelphia and 8 inches to a foot in New York.

Kocin compared the storm to "Snowmageddon," the first of two storms that "wiped out" Washington in 2010 and dumped up to 30 inches of snow in places, but he said the weekend timing and days of warning could help limit deaths and damage.