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Homeweather and natural disasters'A real mess': Blizzard-like conditions coming across the Northeast

‘A real mess’: Blizzard-like conditions coming across the Northeast

Some of the U.S.'s biggest cities braced for what's expected to be another mammoth snowfall in the Midwest and the Northeast — with as much as a foot and a half forecast through Friday.

Winter storm warnings stretched from Chicago through the New York tri-state region into New England — affecting an area home to almost 40 million people.

(Read more: Let it snow: Determined shoppers will 'find a way')

The National Weather Service issued a blizzard warning for Nassau and Suffolk counties on Long Island in New York beginning at 6 p.m. ET Thursday, predicting inch-an-hour snow with 45-mph winds during the worst of it Thursday night.

"It's going to be a pretty significant storm, which will cause major travel disruption for a lot of people early in the new year," said Dave Houtz, senior meteorologist for The Weather Channel. "Any untreated roads will be a real mess."

An ice crew member shovels snow Wednesday during the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Jan 1, 2014.Noah Graham | National Hockey League| Getty Images

In New York City, which was warned to expect 5 to 8 inches of snow through Friday, the administration of newly minted Mayor Bill DeBlasio said it would do its best to keep outdoor subway, Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North trains moving, calling out the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's ice-busting equipment.

Bus riders might not be so lucky: If roads become impassable, bus service will be suspended, the MTA said.

In Boston, Mayor Tom Menino — in his last official act in office — pre-emptively declared a snow emergency for Thursday and closed the city's schools Friday as weather models pointed to up to 18 inches of new snow.

"What a New Year's gift, to receive one last snowstorm as mayor," Menino said Wednesday.

(Read more: Retail's wild weather ride)

Buffalo was also predicted to get a 12- to 18-inch wallop, and accumulations of 8 to 12 inches were expected in areas of Maine and Vermont farther north.

What changed the forecast so drastically from Tuesday, when meteorologists said the storm wouldn't be a big deal, was the expected convergence of three separate low pressure systems roaring in from the south and the east.

They're hauling warm, wet air on a course straight for the frigid Northeast, said Greg Postrel, a forecaster for The Weather Channel.


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