A Supergirl billboard is seen in heavy snow on Times Square in New York City, theUnited States, on Feb. 9, 2017. A powerful winter storm brought heavy snow and strong winds to the northeastern U.S. on Thursday, creating treacherous road conditions and leaving schools and businesses closed. (Xinhua/Li Rui)
A powerful winter storm brought heavy snow and strong winds to the northeastern U.S. on Thursday, creating treacherous road conditions and leaving schools and businesses closed.
Forecasters said the fast-moving storm had the potential to be the most powerful one that some areas have seen in a mostly snow-free winter.
Area effected by the weather system stretches from Maine to northern Virginia, covering most large New England cities including Boston, New York City and Philadelphia.
Winter storm warnings were currently in effect for much of Washington, northern Idaho, western and northern Montana and western Wyoming, the National Weather Service said.
The National Weather Service predicted that the Boston area and eastern Maine could get 12 to 18 inches (20 to 30 cm) of snow before the day is out, and a blizzard warning has been issued for Long Island until 6 p.m. local time.
New York City urged residents to avoid unnecessary travel as it could be coated with 8 to 12 inches of snow.
Authorities said nearly 1,700 flights have been canceled at New York City's three major airports because of the storm, about half of their daily flights.
Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker said the storm "is hard hitting, quick-moving and it's going to dump a lot of snow on us in a short period of time so our goal will be to stay ahead of that."
In Boston, 18 inches of snow or more are expected by the end of the day.
According to weather broadcast, the quick-moving storm is expected to move back into the sea late Thursday.