Some areas of the Northeast have been enjoying a mostly snow-free winter, but that’s about to change.
Residents have been warned about an approaching powerful, fast-moving storm that could deliver more than a foot of snow in some areas.
The change in weather follows a spring-like day when much of the Northeast was enjoying 60 degree temperatures.
The National Weather Service predicts the Boston area and eastern Maine are likely to get 12 to 18 inches of snow, New York City could see 8 to 12 inches and the Philadelphia area 4 to 8 inches.
Thursday’s storm is expected to last six to 10 hours, Carl Erickson, a senior meteorologist with AccuWeather in State College, Pa., told The Associated Press.
Near whiteout conditions are predicted for some areas, and at the height of the storm, snow could fall at a rate of 2 to 4 inches per hour.
Expected high winds could cause power outages.
Many school districts already have canceled Thursday classes including New York City, Philadelphia and Boston.
Anticipating the bad weather, airlines canceled thousands of flights as a precaution.
The flight-tracking site FlightAware.com says more than 2,000 flights for Thursday have been canceled.
The storm is expected to start in many areas as rain and then change over to snow — making for difficult commutes.
Conditions are expected to improve for the weekend.