(Reuters) – A powerful, fast-moving winter storm was dumping heavy snow on the U.S. Northeast on Tuesday, creating a messy commute for millions of Americans, while forcing schools to close and wreaking havoc on air travel across the region.
More than 30 million people from West Virginia northeast into New England were under a winter storm warning as the Nor’easter pummeled parts of the area with as much as 6 inches (15 cm) of heavy, wet snow overnight, the National Weather Service said.
In New York City, the nation’s most populous city, rain turned to snow in the early morning hours. The city was expected to get as much of 7 inches of snow throughout the day, making for treacherous driving conditions.
Snowfall rates of up to 2 inches an hour were occurring across the Lower Hudson Valley, the New York City Emergency Management said on X.
“These bands will shift south over the next few hours through about noon, leading to quickly covered roads and hazardous driving conditions,” the agency said, urging drivers to exercise caution.
Other parts of the region could get as much as 12 inches of snow before the storm races east and out of the area later in the day. Boston could get 9 inches of snow, prompting the city’s mayor to declare a state of emergency.
School districts across the region canceled in-person classes for the day, including New York City, which was holding classes remotely for its 1 million students.
The storm brings a conclusive end to a “snow drought” in New York City that lasted almost two years. The snowless stretch, which exacerbated concerns over global warming, officially concluded in mid-January, when an Arctic blast dropped about 1.4 inches – little more than a dusting – in Manhattan’s Central Park.
Tuesday’s snow is expected to easily top that snowfall, creating conditions for sledding and snowball fights, albeit briefly.
More than 900 fights from and to New York’s LaGuardia, Boston Logan International and Newark Liberty International airports were either delayed or canceled, according to Flightaware.com.
Strong winds up to 40 miles per hour (64 kilometers per hour) and coastal flooding were also forecast along the New England coast, as well as the New Jersey shore areas and Long Island.
(Reporting by Brendan O’Brien in Chicago; Editing by Mark Porter)