NY gov imposes travel ban on Metro area roads, to shut commuter trains

A major winter storm affecting the U.S. East Coast is seen in this visible image from NOAA's GOES-East satellite at 1:30pm ET (18:30 GMT) January 22, 2016.
NASA | Reuters
A major winter storm affecting the U.S. East Coast is seen in this visible image from NOAA's GOES-East satellite at 1:30pm ET (18:30 GMT) January 22, 2016.

A paralyzing blizzard, the winter's first, is hammering the Atlantic Coast, with local governments and businesses working overtime to blunt its impact.

Compensating for mild weather that began the season, places like Washington, New York and Philadelphia are now grappling with snow totals that could either approach or surpass two feet once all is said and done.

In an afternoon news conference, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo called for a widespread travel ban that would ban travel on city roads by 230 pm ET, and would stop inbound commuter rail travel by 4 pm.

Forecasts were calling for as much as 30 inches of snowfall in some areas, and thousands of flights had already been cancelled.

Stay up to date with CNBC's live coverage of what's been deemed by forecasters to be a "potentially historic" blizzard: