A fierce winter storm continued to pound the northeastern United States early Tuesday, causing thousands of flight cancellations, school closures and public transportation delays.
As the storm system barreled up the East Coast, an estimated 50 million people were under storm or blizzard warnings and watches. The wild weather cut power to almost 100,000 customers in the mid-Atlantic and Northeast, The Associated Press reported.
The National Weather Service issued blizzard warnings for parts of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine. Winter storm warnings were also in effect for some sections of the mid-Atlantic and the Northeast. Temperatures across the region could be 15-30 degrees below normal.
The powerful Nor’easter was forecast to dump a total of 1-2 feet in the tri-state area, and wind gusts were expected to be as high as 50 mph Tuesday. Snow could fall 2-4 inches per hour and mix with sleet throughout the day, causing treacherous travel conditions.
By 8:30 a.m., the weather service lifted blizzard warnings for New York City, Long Island, coastal Connecticut and portions of New Jersey. The forecast was downgraded to 4-6 inches of snowfall in New York City. Earlier predictions estimated 12-18 inches would fall.
“Mother nature is an unpredictable lady this morning,” New York Governor Andrew Cuomo told “CBS This Morning” on Tuesday. “The storm actually has shifted. It shifted West. There’s less snowfall in New York City … There’s actually more in the Hudson Valley and western part of the state.”
Cuomo added that John F. Kennedy International Airport and LaGuardia Airport were “basically closed” and announced that Metro-North rail service would be suspended starting at noon.
Governors declared states of emergency in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Virginia. Thousands of schools closed across the affected region Tuesday, including all public schools in New York City, Boston and Philadelphia.
More than 5,500 flights were canceled and over 1,500 more were delayed Tuesday, reported airline-tracking website FlightAware. New York City’s subway continued to operate underground, while above-ground service was suspended at 4 a.m. Tuesday. The MTA expects more train and bus cancellations as conditions worsen.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio asked residents to stay off the roads Tuesday, encouraging people to use mass transit if travel is absolutely necessary.
“There’s no reason to be on the roads,” Cuomo tweeted. “It’s dangerous.”
New York’s Putnam County, about 60 miles north of New York City, had the largest most accumulation so far in the tri-state area of 8 inches by 8 a.m, according to unofficial measurements the NWS had collected through social media.
By 6 a.m., more than 8-9 inches of snow had fallen in parts of Pennsylvania and 4-5 inches in northern New Jersey, reported weather forecasting outlet Accuweather.
Roughly 1-3 inches of snow covered Washington, D.C., by early Tuesday, the Weather Channel reported. Local government offices opened two hours late, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bower tweeted.
D.C. Metro trains are running less frequently, but are expected to continue running throughout normal hours of operation.
President Donald Trump met with Washington, D.C., public officials Monday night to discuss preparations for the impending storm.
Nina Golgowski contributed reporting.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.
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