Powerful, fast-moving snowstorm pounding Northeast

By Thursday morning, 9 inches of snow had fallen at La Guardia Airport, while parts of New Jersey had up to 6.5 inches of snow.

Falling and blowing snow with strong winds and poor visibility are likely, with whiteout conditions, making travel extremely unsafe, the weather service said. Snow from "Winter Storm Niko" was falling at about one inch per hour, according to the Weather Channel.

Boston Mayor Martin Walsh said a snow emergency will go into effect at 10 a.m. local time Thursday and remain in effect through the severe weather. Area schools are closed, from Philly to NY all the way up to Beantown, and there are reports of more than 2,700 flight cancellations in the area. Minor flooding will be possible around and just after the time of high tide.

Scores of accidents were reported as drivers confronted windblown snow and slick highways, with southbound Interstate 95 at the Rhode Island-Connecticut line closed in the afternoon because several tractor-trailers got stuck on an incline.

I expect final flakes to exit the state by 4 p.m.at the latest.

The National Weather Service said up to 11 inches fell in New York's Hudson Valley by noon, while areas around New York City and Long Island received 6 to 9 inches.

A powerful, fast-moving storm swept into the Northeast on Thursday with the potential for more than a foot of snow along the heavily populated Philadelphia-to-Boston corridor, making for a slippery commute and giving millions of people weather whiplash a day after temperatures soared into the 50s and 60s. Nevertheless, it's happened right before our eyes and the city now officially resembles a snow globe.

Ahead of the storm, airlines moved to preemptively cancel flights to avoid keeping crews and planes snowed in by the storm. For those of us in the city of Philadelphia and points south and east, this will start as rain with temperatures likely still in the 40's as the precipitation arrives. Many flights at Boston's Logan Airport have also been canceled or delayed in anticipation of the inclement weather. As many as 14 inches was forecast for NY. In anticipation of the snowstorm, city schools were closed across the city's five boroughs.

Transit officials will monitor public transportation conditions throughout the day and more than 3,000 staffers are ready to shovel and plow. "This is a serious challenge when you talk about 8 to 14 inches" of snow, he said.

The storm is expected to hit eastern Pennsylvania and northern New Jersey with rain early Thursday morning, before changing over to snow in time for the morning commute.

Temperatures Wednesday set a new record high of 65 F at Kennedy airport, almost 30 degrees above average for early February.