New York and surrounding states were gearing up for a second winter storm within a week on Wednesday, with less wind but more snow predicted this time around as thousands remain without power from the last nor'easter.
Between 6 and 12 inches of snow are forecast for New York City and the surrounding suburbs in New Jersey and Connecticut through to Thursday morning, with wind gusts creating "near-white out conditions" for commuters, the National Weather Service said on Wednesday.
All schools were closed in Philadelphia while schools across the region canceled classes or shortened the school day ahead of the storm on Wednesday, local media reported.
The storm will spread west into Pennsylvania and up past Boston into New England where some locations may get as much as 2 feet of snow. Snowfall may turn to wintry rain in some areas, depending on how much of the storm stays out at sea.
This week's storm is not forecast to have the hurricane-strength winds whipped up at times by the storm last week, but forecasters say strong gusts of 60 miles per hour and accumulated snow will still be sufficient to knock down more power lines.
Some 250,000 homes and businesses in the region were still without power on Tuesday after the previous nor'easter.
The governors of New Jersey and Pennsylvania declared states of emergency, which gives them access to support from the U.S. government if needed. New Jersey's Department of Health warned of treacherous driving conditions.
NYC Emergency Management said the city had 234,000 tons of rock salt on hand and was deploying 693 salt spreaders. City officials advised residents to avoid roads and stick to mass transit instead.
Amtrak canceled some of its Wednesday trains between Washington and Boston as well as some services in Pennsylvania, New York state and other areas of the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic United States.
While New York's MTA buses and subways and the Long Island Rail Road were not experiencing any weather-related issues as of 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, its Metro-North is running on a reduced weekday schedule, which means some trains are combined or canceled during morning and evening peak hours, while hourly service will begin after 8 p.m.
"Customers should anticipate delays due to the effects of the winter storm throughout our service territory. Please travel only if necessary," the agency urged.
Philly's SEPTA service also urged riders to avoid unnecessary travel, though the Broad Street and Market Frankford Lines will operate all day and night Wednesday for “passenger convenience,” it said. Regional Rail, however, will run on a “Severe Storm Schedule,” a Saturday timetable with some adjustments, and buses on tight or hilly routes that have seen snowy issues in the past will be detoured.
New Jersey Transit rail service is operating on a limited weekday rail schedule, while bus and light service will run on its regular schedule as weather conditions permit, it said. But the agency warned that “there is the potential for all North and Central NJ Transit bus service, including that to and from Port Authority to be suspended before the afternoon rush hour."
In Boston, the MBTA’s Red, Orange, Blue and Green lines are currently operating as normal, but bus shuttles for the Mattapan Trolley will run throughout the inclement weather starting at 11 a.m. Wednesday. Some buses may run on their designated snow routes, the agency said.
East Coast air travelers are already facing cancellations of more than 2,100 flights due to the weather Wednesday, while about 200 have been canceled for Thursday, USA Today reported.
Metro staff reporter Nikki M. Mascali contributed to this report.