UK & World News
Hercules Storm Dumps Snow Across US Northeast
The first major winter storm of the year has hit the northeast United States bringing up to two feet of snow and blizzard-like conditions.
Thousands of flights have been delayed or cancelled, and people across the region have been urged to stay off the roads, with plans to close some major highways in New York State.
Schools have closed and homeless shelters are full to capacity as governors in New York and New Jersey declared states of emergency and urged people to stay at home.
The storm, named Hercules, had dumped 21 inches of snow on Boxford, just north of Boston, by Thursday night, according to the National Weather Service.
Parts of upstate New York had 18 inches and between four and eight inches was forecast for New York City.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said: "People should definitely consider staying in their homes if the storm continues as we expect.
"This is nothing to be trifled with. We have learned too well over the past few years the power of Mother Nature. We have seen the damage that has been done."
More than 3,000 flights were cancelled across the country, according to Flightstats.com and nearly 10,000 delayed. At Chicago O'Hare airport alone, 842 flights were cancelled.
On Thursday night, the Weather Channel was reporting that at least 100 million Americans - across a 1,200 mile area stretching from Southern Indiana to Eastern Maine - were under some kind of winter storm warning.
Coastal flooding is forecast along low-lying parts of New England, with the risk greatest at high tide, near midnight.
The storm poses the first major challenge to the administration of New York's new mayor Bill de Blasio.
Problems caused by winter storms have been a political headache for mayors of America's biggest city for decades.
Mr de Blasio said: "We have to get it right. There is no question.
"Before I even think of politics or anything else, this is our job."
Before making its way to the northeast, the storm slammed the midwest, forcing the cancellation of hundreds of flights.
The severe weather has already proved fatal. In Philadelphia, a massive pile of salt used to clear icy roads fell on a worker, crushing and killing him.
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