Airlines cancel thousands of flights ahead of winter storm

In New York City for example temperatures are expected to reach as high as 60 degrees. That's just one degree differences from the record set in 1965

NY and Boston will close their public schools Thursday, and airlines have scrubbed thousands of flights as the Northeast braces for a major storm that could dump more than a foot of snow in some areas.

The National Weather Service estimated that 8 to 12 inches of snow in NY and 12 to 15 inches of snow in Boston were possible before the storm was over.

On Wednesday night, Flightaware.com reported that airlines had canceled more than 2,600 flights within, into, or out of the United States on Thursday in preparation for the storm.

Wednesday saw temperatures of almost 60 degrees in New York City, and Thursday will be a little, er, different.

Authorities said almost 1,700 flights have been canceled at New York City's three major airports because of the storm, about half of their daily flights.

"There definitely is a sharp transition right now between the northern part of the state and the New Jersey Turnpike region", said Chad Shafer, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service's regional forecast office in Mount Holly.

A blizzard warning is in effect for all of Long Island until 6 p.m. Thursday.

In addition to whiteout blizzard conditions dropping up to four inches an hour, some areas experienced violent pockets of "thundersnow" - a thunderstorm with heavy snow replacing the typical rain.

A winter storm warning is in place until 1 p.m., according to the National Weather Service.

The storm was expected to dump up to 18 inches in Boston, as much as a foot in New York City and up to 8 inches in the Philadelphia area.

New York City, Philadelphia and Boston were all hit with multiple inches of snow since late Tuesday. Roughly 10 inches were reported in areas closer to Boston.

Blizzard conditions occurred in Providence, Rhode Island, as well as in Boston and Cape Cod, where 8 inches of snow fell, the weather service said. Travel conditions will be poor throughout the day.

High winds moving in on the storm's heels could bring gusts of up to 50 miles per hour, leading to power outages. In anticipation of the snowstorm, city schools were closed across the city's five boroughs.

Officials encouraged people to stay inside as much as possible, and keep off the slippery roads. "Visibility in many areas is down to a quarter-mile", Gov. Charlie Baker said earlier this afternoon from the bunker of the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency in Framingham."This is a large, but fairly typical annual event", Baker said.

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