Snow has started to fall as a late-season winter storm cripples the northeast US. Thousands of flights have been canceled and a state of emergency has been declared across the east coast.
Though much of the winter was mild and dry, a late season winter storm is bringing up to two feet (0.61 meters) of snow and 60 miles per hour (97 kilometers per hour) winds across the northeast US, shutting down travel and schools for millions of Americans.
It's the same storm that forced German Chancellor Angela Merkel to delay her meeting with US President Donald Trump until Friday.
"We're expecting it to be the worst snow of the season," National Weather Service (NWS) meteorologist Melissa Di Spigna told news agency AFP.
Blizzard warnings and other winter storm warnings were in effect from Maine to Virginia, affecting some 50 million people. In New York City, the US' most populous city, mayor Bill de Blasio declared a state of emergency in the city starting at midnight Tuesday local time (0400 UTC).
"High end could be as much as 24 inches which would therefore put this in the category of one of the biggest snowstorms in recent memory," said de Blasio.
The UN headquarters in New York announced it would close before the storm hit, and much of Wall Street was expected to work from home Tuesday due to the weather.
Other leaders in the northeast warned their residents in preparation for the storm. Connecticut governor Dannel Malloy issued a statewide travel ban in what could become whiteout conditions. Massachusetts governor Charlie Baker urged his residents to work from home if possible.
"It's going to snow hard and fast for a long period of time. It will create whiteout conditions," said Baker.
Nearly 7,000 flights were canceled on Monday and Tuesday across the northeast in anticipation of the weather, according to flight tracker FlightAware. American Airlines canceled all of their flights into New York's main airports, and United announced they would not operate at Newark or LaGuardia airports.
"We're keeping a close eye on things and depending on how things go, will plan to ramp back up Wednesday morning," said United in a statement.
kbd/bw (AFP, Reuters)