Blizzard, sub-zero wind chills and foot of snow ready to hit Northeast

Posted at 7:20 AM, Jan 02, 2014
and last updated 2014-01-02 07:20:40-05

By Greg Botelho and Holly Yan

(CNN) — If you live in the Northeast, get ready to get pummeled.

A complicated storm system “will raise havoc” this week, dumping a foot of snow and spreading sub-zero wind chills across parts of the region, the National Weather Service said.

On top of the bone-chilling cold, much of Long Island, New York, will be under a blizzard warning from Thursday night to Friday afternoon.

“Falling and blowing snow with strong winds and poor visibilities are likely,” the Weather Service said. “This will lead to whiteout conditions making travel extremely dangerous. Do not travel.”

Across the country, nasty winter weather means many can’t travel even if they wanted to. More than 900 flights have been canceled for Thursday, according to, which tracks cancellations due to weather and mechanical problems.

Here’s a breakdown on what to expect where:

New York and Long Island

As of Wednesday night, New York City was under a winter storm warning, just like many other densely populated areas in seven other states.

The city of 8 million people could get 9 inches of snow, sub-zero wind chills and turbulent winds, forecasters said.

The Long Island counties of Nassau and Suffolk will be under a blizzard warning from 6 p.m. Thursday until 1 p.m. Friday, thanks to a forecast including 8 to 10 inches of snow, wind chills as low as 10-below zero and sustained winds of at least 35 mph.

Farther upstate, the capital city of Albany could get buried under 14 inches of snow, with frigid wind chills of 15 to 25 below zero, the National Weather Service said.


By Friday night, Boston should be covered by 5 to 11 inches of snow — with freezing temperatures as low as 3 degrees below zero.

Citing likely “near blizzard” conditions Thursday night into late Friday morning, the state’s emergency management agency warned that 1 to 2 feet of fluffy, drifting snow could accumulate in some parts and that there could be moderate coastal flooding.

The forecast was so bad for Beantown that the city canceled school for Friday two days in advance.

The combination extreme cold, snow and strong winds has homeless shelters at the ready, knowing there may be more people needing their help.

“Our main emphasis is getting people inside where it is safer and warmer,” said Jennifer Harris, a spokeswoman for the Pine Street Inn shelter system in Boston, where a snow emergency has been declared. “… Pine Street Inn is making sure to have extra staff and food and water. We are geared up to provide to a greater number of people.”

Extreme football weather

Parts of the Midwest should get even colder as the week rolls along.

In Wisconsin, the Green Bay Packers will welcome the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday, but low temperatures could bottom out at minus 17.

It will be relatively balmy Sunday in Cincinnati, Ohio, but potentially a lot wetter with snow and rain possible when the city’s Bengals host the San Diego Chargers in another NFL playoff match-up.

Of course, while the players might not have a choice, fans don’t have to brave the cold for either game. The big worries are for those who travel in the coming days. Authorities in New York, for example, say they may shut down the Long Island Expressway if whiteout conditions make driving along the east-west highway too perilous.

Kevin Willims isn’t taking any chances, nor is he predicting a world-ending storm. The New Yorker said that he plans to sit tight and let Mother Nature do her thing.

“There’s not much you can do,” Willims said. “When it’s snowing and these streets lock up, there’s really no where you can go, so it’s best to just stay in.”

CNN’s Lorenzo Ferrigno and Dave Alsup contributed to this report.

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