Updated 11:30 p.m. ET
The Associated Press reports: "The National Weather Service said 21 inches of snow had fallen in Boxford, just north of Boston, by Thursday night, while other parts of the state had 17 or 18 inches. It said parts of upstate New York had 18 inches."
The New York Times reports:
"The storm, a huge whitish smudge on meteorologists' radar screens that stretched more than 700 miles from Indiana to Long Island, promised to be the first test of New York City's new mayor, Bill de Blasio. In his last job, as the city's public advocate, Mr. de Blasio was critical of the response under his predecessor, Michael R. Bloomberg, when plows were slow to reach some neighborhoods, particularly in the boroughs outside Manhattan, after a storm in late 2010."
The AP also reported that more than 2,300 flights had been canceled nationwide.
(Original post below)
From the upper Midwest, through parts of the Mid-Atlantic and on up through New England, the first big winter storm of the year is expected to affect up to 100 million people over the next 24 hours or so, The Weather Channel says.
A stretch of very heavily populated parts of the nation is expected to get the worst of the weather.
The National Weather Service warns that in the Northeast:
"Heavy snow, strong winds, frigid temperatures and dangerous wind chills are in forecast for much of the region. Some areas, particularly southern New England, could pick up over 12 inches of snow by Friday morning."
Boston and much of Massachusetts are bracing, according to our colleagues at WBUR:
"A number of communities across Massachusetts, including Boston, have cancelled school and issued snow emergency parking bans as the region prepares for its first winter storm of 2014, which is expected to drop up to 14 inches of snow on parts of the state."
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is warning that "with two winter storms descending" on the state, one heading for New York City and another toward Western New York and other parts of the upstate area, "the onslaught could stretch thin the state's ability to respond," says Albany's Times Union.
Brian Mann from North Country Public Radio in Canton, N.Y., tells our Newscast Desk that "forecasters say wind-chill effect temperatures in the Adirondack Mountains could reach 40 degrees below zero."
In Maine, the storm "is expected to start during the morning commute Thursday and last into Friday, bringing gusting winds, extremely high tides and some of the coldest temperatures in the past several years," writes the Portland Press Herald. There are fears of more power outages, just days after the lights were turned back on for the 10,000 or so customers in the state who lost electricity after an ice storm that hit last week.
Around Philadelphia, "two low pressure systems are expected to combine today to produce steady snow by nightfall, with an Arctic cold front sweeping in behind," the Inquirer says.
It's safe to say there will be travel delays due to the storm. As always, if you're flying into or out of areas affected by the storm, check with your airline before heading to the airport.
Update at 4:00 p.m. ET. NY Gov.: Consider Staying Indoors Tomorrow:
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who has declared an emergency in the state, tells reporters in a conference call that for much of the state, "people should seriously consider staying indoors if the storm proceeds as expected."
He said Long Island, which is expecting up to 10 inches of snow, high winds and frigid temperatures, will likely bear the brunt of the storm as far as his state is concerned.
The storm, he says, "is nothing to be trifled with."
His remarks came as a the National Weather Service extended a blizzard warning to coastal New Hampshire and Maine, excluding Boston and the North Shore of Massachusetts.
Blizzard warnings are in effect for Long Island, Cape Cod and the South Shore of Massachusetts.
NPR's Northeast Bureau Chief, Andrea de Leon, says:
"The coast will see an extra high 'king tide' late Thursday and again on Friday. The high tide and winds could bring flooding to many communities. Temperatures are already frigid and much of the area will experience even more extreme cold as the snow moves out."
Update at 11:10 a.m. ET. Flight Delays, Cancellations Start To Accumulate:
As of this moment there have been 2,233 flight delays "into or out of the United States today," according to FlightAware.com. And 1,391 flights into or out of the U.S. have been canceled.