"We are in the heart of the storm right now in downtown Boston", said AccuWeather senior meteorologist Dave Samhuel at 4 p.m. "Snow is falling 3-4 inches per hour as we're at the peak of the storm".
With wind gusts predicted to reach 35 miles per hour in some areas, and even higher speeds towards the Cape, Doody said power outages could be expected. Parts of central Pennsylvania had already picked up 8 inches early Thursday, with northern Jersey hit with up to five inches, The Weather Channel reported.
Winter Storm Niko, as the Weather Channel has dubbed the nor'easter, is now bearing down on New York City, Boston, and Philadelphia. The risky storm is intensifying as rush hour begins, bringing whiteout conditions and high wind.
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Winter storm Niko first crept into western MA at 5 a.m., and by 9 p.m. should be headed out to sea. Long Island, where residents could experience whiteout conditions for at least three straight hours, is expected to get the worst of it.
"The snow is becoming very powdery, causing snow to drift all over the place", said Samhuel.
The storm Thursday came a day after temperatures soared into the 50s and 60s, giving millions of people a taste of spring.
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The powerful, fast-moving storm blew into the MA area early Thursday, making the morning commute treacherous for thousands.
"We were waiting for a good one all year", said Morgan Crum, a manager at Katz Ace Hardware in Glastonbury, Connecticut, where more than 50 people stopped in to buy shovels, ice melt, gas cans and other storm provisions. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said earlier Thursday that the almost 700 cancellations there amounted to 60 percent of the airport's flights.
The National Weather Service predicts that the most intense snowfall will be over by the early afternoon. NBC 4 New York's live cam showed some courageous souls trying to hoof it through the Crossroads of the World as others, failing to heed the pleas of city officials, navigated the roads.
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The flight board at Armstrong International is showing a handful of delays and crenelations of flights to a from New York, Boston and Washington DC. Trenton's high of 65 degrees on Wednesday topped its daily record of 62 degrees.