Snowy ‘bomb cyclone’ hits Northeast, forcing more than 3,000 flight cancellations

Over the next 24 hours, New York City could see 6 to 8 inches of snow while some parts of Maine could get close to 18 inches. (Photo: ABC News)

(ABC News) — More than 3,000 U.S. flights have been canceled today as a powerful storm hits the Northeast, packing heavy snow, gusty winds and the coldest air of the season.

“A powerful Nor’easter will move north along the East Coast through Thursday,” the National Weather Service said in a statement. “Reinforcing Arctic air and gusty winds will sweep in behind the Nor’easter for the coldest wind chills of the season in many eastern locations.”

U.S. airlines canceled at least 3,043 flights within, into and out of the United States today and delayed 629 others, according to airline tracking firm FlightAware. Most of the cancellations were in New Jersey, Boston and New York, where some areas could get 1 to 3 inches of snow per hour starting this morning.

weather map 1 winter weather advisory abc jt 180104 25x14 992 Snowy bomb cyclone hits Northeast, forcing more than 3,000 flight cancellations
Blizzard warnings stretched from North Carolina to Maine on Jan. 4, 2018. (Photo: ABC News)
weather map 6 snowfall next 24 hours abc jt 180104 25x14 992 Snowy bomb cyclone hits Northeast, forcing more than 3,000 flight cancellations
Over the next 24 hours, New York City could see 6 to 8 inches of snow while some parts of Maine could get close to 18 inches. (Photo: ABC News)

Storm Team 8: Click here for the latest forecast

Major cities along the East Coast — from North Carolina to Maine — were under blizzard warnings, while others were placed under winter storm warnings.

Maine Gov. Paul LePage announced that all state offices will be closed today. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie also closed all state offices and declared a state of emergency in three coastal counties.

The storm has already brought record snowfall to cities like Tallahassee, Florida, where residents got the most snow since 2010, and Charleston, South Carolina, which received more than 5 inches of snow, breaking the record set in 1989.

Meanwhile, some areas between Georgia and Virginia were blanketed with up to half a foot of snow by this morning.

“This will be a rapidly strengthening storm that is expected to produce strong winds and minor to moderate coastal flooding,” the National Weather Service said Wednesday after warning that the storm could result in downed trees and power outages along the East Coast.

weather map 3 major storm thursday 12pm abc jt 180104 25x14 992 Snowy bomb cyclone hits Northeast, forcing more than 3,000 flight cancellations
Snow from the storm system will spread further into New England by the afternoon on Jan. 4, 2018. (Photo: ABC News)
weather map 4 major storm thursday 630pm abc jt 180104 25x14 992 Snowy bomb cyclone hits Northeast, forcing more than 3,000 flight cancellations
Snow will end for much of the Northeast by the evening on Jan. 4, 2018.
(Photo: ABC News)

Snowfall in Boston should let up this evening, while the areas surrounding New York City should get some relief by midnight, meteorologists said.

But winds are expected to increase as the storm picks up off the coast of New England and “bombs out,” meteorologists said, referring to the term bombogenesis, which occurs when a storm system undergoes a quick drop in atmospheric pressure and strengthens.

Related Content: Govenor Malloy provides storm update

Wind gusts are forecast to come in between 40 to 60 mph along most parts of the East Coast this afternoon, but some areas, including Atlantic City, New Jersey, could see gusts above 70 mph.

weather map 7 wind gusts thursday 2pm abc jt 180104 25x14 992 Snowy bomb cyclone hits Northeast, forcing more than 3,000 flight cancellations
Wind gusts will be 40 to 60 mph as the storm moves up the northeast coast on Jan. 4, 2018.
(Photo: ABC News)
weather map 9 wind chill friday 7am abc jt 180104 25x14 992 Snowy bomb cyclone hits Northeast, forcing more than 3,000 flight cancellations
The worst of the cold will hit the Northeast in the early morning on Jan. 5, 2018. (Photo: ABC News)

Separately, the coldest air of the season is forecast to spill from Canada into the eastern United States, bringing wind chills down to as low as 1 degree in some major cities, including Washington, D.C., and New York City today.

The worst of the cold will be in the Northeast Friday morning, when wind chills are forecast to hit the minus 40s in New England.

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