Published: Sun, February 12, 2017
National | By Traci Kelley

Schools closed, flights canceled as winter storm hits Northeast

Schools closed, flights canceled as winter storm hits Northeast

The National Weather Service says heavy snow and scattered thunderstorms, with rates of almost 2-3 inches per hour, may be seen in these areas.

Parks officials were concerned about high winds and heavy snowfall. Several inches of snow will fall an hour in some areas.

White flakes already are falling in parts of New Jersey. This won't be a record-breaking snowstorm, but will bring a healthy dose of snow to Maine's largest cities and towns including Greater Portland.

"Those venturing outdoors may become lost or disoriented", the National Weather Service said in an advisory.

Some areas had "thunder snow", violent bursts of weather featuring both snow and lightning, which could drop as much as 4 inches (10 cm) of snow per hour.

The flight board at Armstrong International is showing a handful of delays and crenelations of flights to a from New York, Boston and Washington DC.

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New Jersey is also closing all state offices Thursday for non-essential employees. Long Island, where residents could experience whiteout conditions for at least three straight hours, is expected to get the worst of it.

At a news briefing Thursday morning, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said his county anticipated upwards of 18 inches by the time the storm moves out. Meteorologist Jay Engle said just over a quarter of an inch fell by 3 p.m.; fog continued to linger in the area until about 5 p.m.

Authorities are pleading with people to stay off the roads and warned of worsening conditions.

Boston Mayor Martin Walsh said a snow emergency went into effect at 10am local time on Thursday and remain through the storm.

"New Yorkers should be prepared for snowfall and slippery roads and plan to take mass transit where possible", Emergency Management Commissioner Joseph Esposito said.

According to flight-tracking website FlightAware.com, more than 2,900 flights within, into or out of the US scheduled for Thursday have been canceled as of 9:30 a.m. ET, with a majority of those cancellations coming at major airports across the Northeast and New England.

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