A massive winter storm will continue its onslaught on much of the Northeast today, bringing heavy snow, howling winds and bitterly cold temperatures.
The worst weather is likely along coastal New England and on Long Island, where blizzard warnings are in effect until late today because of winds forecast to gust to 45 mph.
Up to 14 inches of snow is forecast for the Boston area. Boston Mayor Thomas Menino announced a parking ban and said schools would be closed today in Boston.
The storm is expected to move off the coast by late today.
As of late Thursday, the Weather Channel was reporting that at least 100 million Americans were under some level of winter storm warning, watch or advisory; the area stretched from southern Indiana to eastern Maine, a distance of almost 1,200 miles.
Snow fell throughout the day Thursday across the Great Lakes, Northeast and New England. The heaviest snow fell in northern Illinois, where more than a foot of snow was reported late Thursday, according to the National Weather Service.
Winter storm warnings are in effect today in most of New York state, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine and eastern Pennsylvania.
This includes the entire New York City area, where 4 to 8 inches of snow was predicted. Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency across all of New York state Thursday. Three downstate highways were slated to close at midnight.
"This is nothing to be trifled with," Cuomo said. "We have learned too well over the past few years the power of Mother Nature."
Some schools in New England and New York closed pre-emptively Thursday, while cities issued parking bans and homeless shelters were expected to fill beyond capacity.
In Toms River, N.J., Jonas Caldwell said he was prepared for whatever the storm might bring.
"Santa brought me a snow blower, and I've got rock salt for the ice, so now I'm just waiting for the storm," he said while grabbing a coffee at a convenience store.
Much colder air will reach the East today, the weather service reported, with many areas seeing temperatures 20-30 degrees below normal. Some record lows are possible.
"This is likely to be the coldest weather for much of the Northeast since January 2009," according to AccuWeather meteorologist Bernie Rayno.
Lows in cities such as Philadelphia, New York and Baltimore will drop into the single digits tonight while temperatures will drop below zero in Hartford, Conn.; Albany, N.Y.; Providence; Portland, Maine; and Boston.
Contributing: Greg Toppo, Bart Jansen, USA TODAY; Jon Campbell, Gannett Albany Bureau; Associated Press
Original headline: Blizzard to wallop Northeast
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