Massive Winter Storm Slams Northeast After Dropping Rare Snow On South

CBS News — Residents across a huge swath of the U.S. were hunkered down as a massive winter storm packing snow, ice and high winds, followed by possible record-breaking cold, moved up the Eastern Seaboard. The worst conditions were expected from the Carolinas to Maine.

The massive storm began two days ago in the Gulf of Mexico, first hitting the Florida Panhandle. It has prompted thousands of canceled flights, shuttered schools and businesses and sparked fears of coastal flooding and power outages.

Wind gusts of 50 mph to 60 mph, strong enough to cause downed trees and power lines, are predicted in places where the National Weather Service has issued blizzard warnings. They include the Delmarva Peninsula, which includes parts of Delaware, Virginia and Maryland; coastal New Jersey; eastern Long Island, New York; and coastal eastern New England.

After the storm, a wave of bracing cold is forecast to hit much of the Northeast.

The storm dumped snow in Tallahassee, Florida, Wednesday — that city’s first snow in nearly three decades — before slogging up the Atlantic coast and smacking Southern cities such as Savannah, Georgia, and Charleston, South Carolina, with a rare blast of snow and ice.

Follow along with updates below as the storm works its way up the coast. All times Eastern unless otherwise indicated.

Snow that could pile as high as 18 inches in some spots of New England has begun falling.

A light snow started falling in Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts and New Hampshire just before dawn Thursday.

Snow is expected to increase after sunrise and peak during the late morning through the afternoon. Rain over Cape Cod and the Islands is likely to change over to snow in the afternoon.

The storm is not just bringing snow but high winds with gusts as high as 75 mph in some spots, which could bring down power lines and cause power outages.

There also is a risk of coastal flooding.

Schools across the region are closed for the day, and governors are urging people to stay off the roads.

To read more and for live updates, click here.