Snowstorm Niko sweeps through Times Square in New York City

The Northeast is getting a snowy punch Thursday, with some areas expecting a foot or more of the white stuff, according to forecasters.

"The potential exists for heavy snow and risky travel conditions including the major Interstate 95 cities from Philadelphia to New York City and Boston", the National Weather Service said in a statement. In New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) urged residents to "take extra precaution and avoid unnecessary travel" as more than a foot of snow is expected in parts of the state.

Major cities impacted by the storm include Philadelphia, New York and Boston.

State offices in New Jersey were closed, as were the courts in MA. Most airlines will call or email you to notify if you have a flight canceled, but you can also check out flight status online at the airport's website.

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-Many in the Northeast were caught off guard today as Wednesday's balmy spring-like temperatures suddenly gave way to blizzard conditions.

The snow will continue all day long, only exiting the state between 7 and 9 p.m.

"It could go from heavy rain to, possibly, heavy sleet to heavy snow in a matter of minutes, which could cause problems", said Glenn.

Public transportation service was being reduced and the morning and evening commutes were expected to be severely affected before the storm was forecast to taper off by Thursday evening.

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The storm packed strong winds with whiteout conditions at times, CNN meteorologist Dave Hennen said.

Forecasters predicted parts of the Boston area and eastern ME will get 12-18 inches of snow. Snow from "Winter Storm Niko" was falling at about one inch per hour, according to the Weather Channel. Roughly 10 inches were reported in areas closer to Boston. Airport officials in Washington also said high winds in the capital region could impact travel. The agency issued blizzard warnings for Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket. She said her daughter had the day off from school, and Jones had been looking forward to playing in the snow. About 1 million students attend the city's 1,800 public schools, making it the largest school district in the United States.

To keep people at home, many government operations were put on hold, including Maine's state legislature and government offices in MA and CT, where only emergency workers were expected to come to work.

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