Weather and Natural Disasters

School, Trump-Merkel meeting, thousands of flights canceled as blizzard hits the Northeast

Storm pounds East Coast with heavy dense snow
Storm pounds East Coast with heavy dense snow

New York City and the swathes of north-eastern America are hunkering down for a late-winter blizzard with transit officials putting into action preparations for what could be the season's worst snowstorm.

On Monday morning, the National Weather Service issued a blizzard warning for New York City, forecasting 12 to 20 inches of snow and winds between 25 and 35 mph through until Tuesday evening.

On Tuesday, public schools were closed in New York City and Boston.

The above-ground subway service in New York was also closed. In New Jersey, all bus services have been suspended while the rail service is scheduled to run on a weekend schedule.

Virginia Gov. Terence McAuliffe declared a state of emergency in the commonwealth. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said a state of emergency would go into effect at midnight.

"As everybody has heard, mother nature plans on visiting us later tonight and the expectation is that she's going to bring a wintry fury with her, which we are taking quite seriously," Cuomo said in a Monday conference call.

Meanwhile, in Washington, D.C., officials said Federal offices would be open three hours late Tuesday.

@USOPM: 03/14: Fed. agencies in the #DC area have an 3-hr delay. Option for unsched. leave/telework

Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy activated a statewide travel ban beginning 5 a.m. Tuesday.

@JimCantore: Exhaust condensation freezing on contact this morning here in #Boston with low teens and wind chills around 0F. #stella

The inclement weather snarled White House plans for a meeting between President Donald Trump and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Their meeting has been postponed until March 17.

Flights within, into or out of the United States on Monday saw 2,891 delays and another 1,552 cancellations as of 6 p.m., ET, according to FlightAware's live tracking tool. Another 4,917 flights originally scheduled for Tuesday were canceled.

American Airlines, United Airlines and Delta Air Lines issued travel alerts and began waiving re-booking fees for flights within affected regions.

Photos shared on Twitter appeared to showed long lines at security in the Newark International Airport in New Jersey.

@NickAmadorTV: Passengers all trying to beat the storm at @EWRairport -- this is line right now for TSA. @NBCNewYork @StormTeam4NY #BracingForStella

Amtrak said it would operate on a modified schedule in the Northeast on Tuesday.

A flood watch is expected to go into effect Tuesday for coastal regions in New York.

@NWSNewYorkNY: A Coastal Flood Watch will go into effect on Tuesday. Tidal departures 2-3 feet above astronomical tides.

Cuomo directed state agencies to begin preparing for the storm and called on residents to limit unnecessary travel on Tuesday. The region anticipates "substantial MTA service changes," which would affect subways, buses, the Metro-North and the Long Island Rail Road.

The New York governor said during a call that above-ground MTA service will be suspended at 4 a.m. Tuesday. The MTA will make a final decision on operations for Metro-North and LIRR service at 4:30 a.m. Tuesday.

The expected snowfall and high winds may take down trees and power lines, said John Latka, vice president of electric and gas operations at PSE&G, in a statement.

"We take every storm with the potential for outages seriously, and have additional personnel scheduled and on standby, with auxiliary equipment at the ready," Latka said.

@AMHQ: Snow from Winter Storm #Stella dipped as far south as North Carolina. #Charlotte saw just over an inch of snow!