The northeastern United States prepared for snow, high winds and frigid temperatures, as a gust of wintry weather bore down on New England and surrounding states, cancelling flights.
Temperatures in New York were expected to drop to 10 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 12 degrees Celsius) with a wind chill factor of minus nine degrees Fahrenheit, according to national weather forecasts.
Tracking system FlightAware said that about 2,000 flights entering, leaving or inside the United States had been canceled.
The National Weather Service issued winter storm warnings and winter weather advisories for a huge area spanning states from Chicago trough New York, New England and the US capital Washington.
Heavy winter weather was hitting the country’s midwest, dropping a blanket of snow and cancelling flights at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport.
The northeastern winter warning was in effect in New York from Thursday evening through midday Friday, with forecasters predicting six to 10 inches (15 to 25 centimeters) of snow and winds that could reach up to 45 miles (72 kilometers) per hour.
The National Weather Service issued a blizzard warning for New York’s Long Island.
The storm in the Big Apple, where forecasters expect three to seven inches of snow, will pose a first test for the city’s new Mayor Bill de Blasio, who assumed his post Wednesday.
De Blasio said the city had “laser” focus as it prepared. “We are ready,” he said.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo activated the State Emergency Operations Center and urged people to use public transportation, warning of possible highway closures due to inclement weather.
Officials also warned about the risk of freezing or hypothermia due to the frigid temperatures.
In Boston, temperatures had already dropped to 25 degrees Fahrenheit early Thursday. The state was under a winter storm warning, with strong snowfall expected until Friday.