First 2015 snowstorm hits northeastern region of United States
(CNN) — The first major snowstorm of 2015 has hit the Northeastern United States.
The National Weather Service describes the storm as a “crippling and potentially historic blizzard” that could bring up to 3 feet of snow, heavy winds, widespread power outages and epic travel difficulties.
Airlines canceled thousands of flights, and government officials across the Northeast urged residents to take heed of the weather warnings and prepare for the storm.
States of emergency are in place in seven states across the region — Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and New Hampshire.
Here’s what’s going on across the region:
New York officials has shut down all public transportation and put a travel ban on roads in 13 counties.
“This is a serious situation. If you violate this state order, it’s a possible misdemeanor; it’s fines up to $300,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.
At the governor’s request, the New York National Guard put 260 soldiers and airmen on duty to assist in the storm’s response.
New York City Public Schools will be closed Tuesday.
“The good news is the sun will come out again, we just don’t know when,” said Cuomo.
‘Don’t underestimate this storm,’ mayor says
Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy has declared a state of emergency and signed an order banning travel.
“People need to take this storm seriously,” he told reporters.
As many as 120,000 households could lose power and in all likelihood could be without power for several days, Malloy said.
All state colleges are expected to be closed Tuesday.
The heaviest snow will likely fall by early Tuesday evening.
During that time, winds will gust to 50-plus mph, perhaps 70-plus along the Cape.
Massachusetts officials declared a statewide travel ban.
Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker called the situation “an historic, top-five storm” and activated 500 National Guard troops.
Boston public schools will be closed Tuesday.
Power could be out to thousands for days, officials say.
Philadelphia public schools dismissed students. The state Department of Transportation urged motorists to postpone travel where possible.
“If you don’t have to drive, don’t drive,” said Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf . “Safety is first. Do what you have to do to make sure you’re safe.”
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie declared a state of emergency.
He said crews are standing by to staff 3,700 trucks to salt New Jersey roads and highways.
The state implemented a statewide travel ban.
“If you do not have to drive, please stay home and stay off the roads,” Christie said.
New Hampshire also declared a state of emergency and closed government offices for non-essential employees. Governor Maggie Hassan asked residents to stay at home for one to two days, and check on neighbors.
The southern part of the state could receive 14 to 20 inches of snow by Tuesday night.
Rhode Island is under a state of emergency as well. Gov. Gina Raimondo signed the executive order for it. Non-essential state offices and agencies are closed and the state emergency operations center has been activated. Snow accumulations of 15 to 25 inches are forecast.