Snow storm heads toward the Northeast

By Meg Wagner, Melissa Macaya, Mike Hayes and Judson Jones, CNN

Updated 9:51 p.m. ET, December 16, 2020
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7:37 p.m. ET, December 16, 2020

More than 1,300 flights canceled ahead of storm

At least 1,344 US flights have been canceled on Wednesday and Thursday ahead of a winter storm bearing down on the Northeast, according to flightaware.com.

There were 768 flights canceled on Wednesday, with an additional 576 canceled Thursday.  

6:43 p.m. ET, December 16, 2020

Storm impacts public transportation in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut

From CNN's Julian Cummings

Transportation systems across New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut have been impacted by the winter storm currently hitting the Tri-state area, according to tweets by the city of New York.

These are some of the services impacted by the storm:

  • The NY/NJ Port Authority bus terminal in New York City planned to close at 6:30 p.m.
  • The NJ Transit rail service will be suspended at 7:30 p.m.
  • The Metro-North rail service will be implementing an early shutdown of service on all lines in and out of Connecticut and New York.

Additionally, all New York City Ferry routes were suspended at 6 p.m., according to the city.

 

5:54 p.m. ET, December 16, 2020

Boston declares a snow emergency

From CNN's Julian Cummings

The city of Boston has declared a snow emergency, which will go into effect at 6 p.m. Wednesday.

Boston could see accumulations ranging from 9 to 13 inches with a potential for 15 inches in some areas. Wind gusts up to 45 mph are also expected.

"Dry weather paired with colder temperatures and wind chill are anticipated on Thursday and Friday following the storm," the city said in an advisory.

The city urged residents to "take caution" and "remove cars parked on posted snow emergency arteries by 6 p.m."

Some Covid-19 testing sites, the city said, will be closed Thursday.

5:53 p.m. ET, December 16, 2020

New York City will most likely see 14 inches of snow by Thursday night

From CNN's Rob Frehse

Snow begins to fall in New York City on Wednesday.
Snow begins to fall in New York City on Wednesday. STRF/STAR MAX/IPx 2020/AP

New York City will most likely see 14 inches of snow by 7 p.m. Thursday, according to the latest forecast from the National Weather Service.

Parts of southern New York could see as much as 16 inches of snow, while the weather service is also predicting 16 inches of snow in Danbury, Connecticut, and 15 inches of snow in Bridgeport.

Much of the metro-New York area, including Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts, is expected to see one to two inches of snowfall each hour this evening and overnight through 3 a.m., according to the weather service.

Coastal flood advisories and warnings are also in effect for New York, New Jersey and Connecticut tonight through Thursday morning. 

Eastern Long Island could see winds gusting up near 55 mph, according to the forecast, with New York City seeing 25 to 30 mph winds, with gusts up to 45 mph. 

3:43 p.m. ET, December 16, 2020

Snow is starting to move into New York City

Snow has arrived in the New York Metro area. It may take a few hours for the snow to accumulate on the ground due to how dry it has been. 

By this evening, it will pick up in intensity and by Thursday, the snow depth is forecast to be a foot or more in and around the city. 

"Radar is showing an expansive coverage of precipitation racing towards the region," tweeted the New York National Weather Service office. "Significant impacts to the evening commute will occur as the snow increases in intensity through the evening hours."

Watch the first flakes fly live

3:21 p.m. ET, December 16, 2020

NYC mayor cancels in-person learning for public schools Thursday due to storm

From CNN's Rob Frehse

New York City public schools will be closed to in-person learning Thursday due to the powerful winter storm coming to the area, Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted Wednesday afternoon.

The school district will move to full remote learning for the day, de Blasio added in the tweet. 

“With a powerful winter storm on the way, we’re going to CANCEL in-person learning for @NYCSchools on Thursday, December 17," de Blasio tweeted. “I know we all grew up with the excitement of snow days, but this year is different. Tomorrow, will be a FULL REMOTE learning day for our students.”
2:44 p.m. ET, December 16, 2020

Snow isn't the only threat from this winter storm

From CNN's Jason Hanna and Christina Maxouris

A winter storm is impacting parts of the Northeast today, but snow isn't the only danger — a quarter-inch of ice could accumulate in parts of North Carolina, West Virginia, Virginia and Maryland, CNN meteorologist Chad Myers said.

Impacts in some areas could be extreme: with travel disruptions, widespread power outages and damage to homes from falling trees all possible across the Mid-Atlantic, southeastern New York state, and southern New England.

Strong winds -- perhaps with gusts of 40-60 mph -- could lead to near-blizzard conditions and knock down power lines in Northeastern coastal areas, Myers said. And heavy rainfall could cause flooding in parts of the Mid-Atlantic, the weather service said.

By Thursday morning, the storm will be tracking into the Atlantic, while some snowfall may linger in parts of New England.

1:19 p.m. ET, December 16, 2020

New Jersey governor declares state of emergency ahead of storm

From CNN’s Mirna Alsharif

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy signed an executive order declaring a state of emergency beginning at 2 p.m. ET today ahead of the "significant winter storm" expected to hit the east coast.

The executive order also calls for all state offices to close at 1 p.m. ET, except for weather-essential employees offices.

"This will be a statewide weather event and every county is currently under either a watch or warning of some sort," said Murphy at a press conference on Wednesday, urging residents not to go out if they didn't need to.

There's a winter storm warning for the north of the state, a winter storm advisory for the entire southwest quadrant and either coastal flood warnings, storm warnings or high wind warnings for areas closer to the shore, said Murphy. The storm can potentially bring a foot to 18 inches of snow across the north, a mix of snow and sleet in central New Jersey and a wintry mix or just rain in the south, he added.

Strong winds, about 30 to 40 miles per hour, can be expected throughout the evening and overnight making travel difficult, said Murphy. Residents may experience power outages, he added.

Murphy also announced a commercial vehicle restriction including tractor trailers, weighted trucks, passenger vehicles, towing trailers, motorcycles and recreational vehicles along interstate highways.

The Department of Transportation is coordinating with regional partners to make sure that neighboring states are on the same page, he added.

2:43 p.m. ET, December 16, 2020

Officials ask people to stay home as Massachusetts braces for powerful winter storm

From CNN's Nakia McNabb

A dump truck in Chelsea, Massachusetts, waits for a front-end loader to pour road salt into it on Wednesday. The salt would be delivered to area municipal depots.
A dump truck in Chelsea, Massachusetts, waits for a front-end loader to pour road salt into it on Wednesday. The salt would be delivered to area municipal depots. Elise Amendola/AP

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker is warning people about dangerous conditions as the state braces to get between 8 to 12 inches of snow beginning tomorrow at 9 p.m. Baker says the potential for a flash freeze in eastern Massachusetts will make driving conditions dangerous and asked people to stay off the roads.

"We're obviously asking people to stay off the roads and especially tomorrow if you can stay home that would be the preferred option and if you need to travel, you should really try and get whatever you need to get done earlier tonight or put it off until sometime late tomorrow afternoon" Baker said.

The heaviest parts of the storm will occur tonight, but it is going to be snowing at a brisk rate in many parts of Massachusetts throughout the commute tomorrow, according to the National Weather Service.

Baker says the Department of Transportation will deploy approximately 3,800 pieces of snow fighting equipment to perform ice and snow operations on more than 15,000 miles of roadway throughout the state.

"Even as the snow moves out tomorrow, we obviously expect cold temperatures to be with us throughout the week, which means it will continue to be icy in the days ahead" added Baker.