(Reuters) – A heavy winter storm that could dump up to a foot of snow bore down on the East Coast on Wednesday, prompting a state of emergency in New Jersey and the closure of some schools.
Areas from the lower Great Lakes eastward through central New England should see ample snowfall before the system moves out to sea by Wednesday evening, said Rich Thompson, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.
A day after the storm pounded the nation’s mid-section, there was a mix of snow, sleet and freezing rain hitting a swath north of Washington, D.C. through New York City, with building snowfall in Boston and parts of New England, Thompson said.
“It’s going to be a mess,” Thompson said. “The heavy snow is going to be up toward Boston and inland from the Coast.”
Residents and state officials were taking precautions, with officials postponing legislative work and closing schools.
Schools in Providence, Rhode Island, were ordered closed Wednesday due to the approaching storm.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie declared a state of emergency and ordered state offices closed on Wednesday for all non-essential workers.
“I encourage all New Jerseyans to drive carefully and remain off the roads if possible so that our first responders and public safety officials can safely respond to any emergency situations,” Christie said in a written statement.
More than 2,000 U.S. flights were canceled early on Wednesday morning, with more than 250 delayed, according to Flightaware.com, a website that tracks air traffic.
A second patch of snowfall that was approaching Cleveland and Detroit would likely move across to the New York and New England areas later in the day, Thompson said.
New York issued a hazardous travel advisory for Wednesday and Mayor Bill de Blasio told residents to prepare for a difficult commute.
The storm set up Monday night over southwestern Kansas and was peaking over Kansas City on Tuesday. More than 7 inches of snow had fallen in the Kansas City area by the early evening.
(Reporting by Eric M. Johnson; Editing by Rosalind Russell)