Snow, strong winds, and freezing temperatures have hit the northeastern United States, with many states and big cities affected by the wintry weather. Some national highways have been closed, and many flights cancelled.
Winter storm warnings and advisories were issued by the National Weather Service for a large area spanning from Chicago through to New York (pictured), New England and the capital, Washington DC, on Friday.
Snow of up to 60 centimeters (two feet) was reported across parts of the country affected by the bad weather early Friday morning.
Weather forecasts for New York predict the temperature could drop to minus 13 degrees Celsius (nine degrees Fahrenheit).
The aeroplane tracking system FlightAware said more than 2,200 flights within, into or out of the US had been cancelled due to the inclement weather. While some national highways were ordered to shut down.
Some schools across New York and New England were closed ahead of the snow fall, while several cities mobilized snow ploughs and salt spreaders. Workers at state offices were sent home early on Thursday.
The storm cell began passing through on Thursday, just one day after New York Mayor Bill de Blasio was sworn in to lead the country's largest city and several days before Boston Mayor Thomas Menino ends his 20 years in office.
De Blasio said the city had "laser" focus as it braced for what was to come.
"We are ready," he said, urging residents to "stay indoors and use public transportation if you must get around." Delays, he added, "were to be expected."
Boston's Menino ordered schools closed on Friday, where up to 36 centimeters of snow was forecast to fall.
"What a New Year's gift, to received one last snowstorm as mayor," Menino said.
The National Weather Service has issues blizzard warnings for Cape Cod, coastal areas north and south of Boston, and parts of Maine and New York's Long Island. Up to 25 centimeters of show is expected to fall, while forecasters predict wind gusts of up to 72 kilometers per hour (45 miles per hour) across the region.
"Bitter cold will move into the Midwest and East following the storm," it warned.
Meanwhile, a worker at a suburban Philadelphia salt storage facility was killed on Thursday when a 30-meter-high pile of salt fell on and crushed him.
jlw/tj (AP, AFP)