New York (CNN) -- Two ferocious storm systems are expected to converge across the Northeast on Friday and create what could be a historic blizzard and spawn travel nightmares for a large swath of the country. A wintry blast churning across the nation and a cold front barreling up the East Coast will unite and could dump as much as a foot of snow in New York and up to 3 feet in Boston. Nearly 3,000 flights were canceled in anticipation of the storm as emergency crews geared up for inclement weather, most of which was expected late Friday into Saturday. Amtrak canceled many trips in the Northeast corridor. The rail transit company said on its website that northbound service from New York's Penn Station would be suspended after 1 p.m Friday. Boston could see snowfall of 2 to 3 inches per hour, as frigid gusts swirl across the region. The system has already drawn comparisons to the "Great Blizzard" of 1978, when thousands were stranded as fast-moving snow drifts blanketed highways and left several people dead.