The weather forecast for the northeast region of the United States to ring in 2014 calls for “havoc,” according to the National Weather Service and reported by CNN.
A massive blizzard has its sights set on the region and could extend all the way into the midwest, potentially slamming 100 million people with dangerous winter conditions, NBC News is reporting. Areas from Boston as far west as Chicago could see up to a foot-and-a-half of snow going through Friday.
And that’s not all. High winds, icy conditions and frigid temperatures are expected to come along with the rapid snowfall, the NWS weather forecast warns.
Snow began falling in Boston at about 1:30 am on Thursday, January 2. The NWS has issued a blizzard warning for New York’s Long Island region beginning at 6 pm Thursday evening, local time. Residents are being advised to stay tuned to the weather forecast — and stay indoors.
“Falling and blowing snow with strong winds and poor visibilities are likely,” said the NWS warning. “This will lead to whiteout conditions making travel extremely dangerous. Do not travel.”
The warning applies to those who actually can travel. Thousands of people are already unable to do so. As of 10:30 am Eastern Time on January 2, the airline-monitoring web site Flight Aware had already recorded 1,451 flight cancellations for the day, as well as 3,703 flight delays.
The New England state of Connecticut heeded the alarming weather forecast and put a winter storm warning in effect until Friday, expecting up to 10 inches of snow and wind-chill temperatures plunging to zero. The town of Greenwich declared a snow emergency starting at 6 pm January 2, according to the local paper there.
“It’s going to be a long-duration event,” Michael Palmer, lead Weather Channel meteorologist told NBC. “The wind is going to whip around the snow and reduce the visibility, creating near-blizzard conditions in Boston, much of Connecticut and then down maybe as far south as New Jersey and even New York City.”
Outgoing Boston Mayor Tom Menino made it his last official act in office to declare a snow emergency, closing school through Friday as that city hunkered down, with a weather forecast predicting 18 inches of snow.
For incoming New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, the storm presents his first major challenge. A similar blizzard in 2010 paralyzed America’s largest city and then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg was lambasted for being unprepared to deal with the snowfall.
Officially sworn in just yesterday, de Blasio has pledged to use every effort to keep subway and train service running. The weather forecast currently calls for up to eight inches to fall on New York City.