Snow and bone-chilling temperatures are greeting morning commuters across New York on the first work day of 2014, with some upstate areas expected to get more than a foot of snow by the weekend.
The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning until 6 a.m. Friday for Ontario, Monroe and Wayne counties, among others. A wind chill advisory is in effect from 4 p.m. today until noon Friday.
According to the weather service, hazards include heavy and blowing snow and bitter wind chills, which pose a risk for frostbite and hypothermia for anyone who is outside for even short periods of time. Wind chill values could fall to as low as 20 degrees below.
There could be accumulations of 4 to 8 inches today, 3 to 5 inches tonight and up to 2 inches Friday, according to the weather service. Travel will be difficult at times with snow-covered roads and poor visibility, which could be as low as a half-mile or less.
Forecasters said that on Friday, there will be snow showers mainly before 1 p.m. in Canandaigua, with a high temperature near 6 degrees.
Snow began falling overnight in parts of New England and New York, but the real brunt of the storm isn't expected to hit until later Thursday. As much as a foot of snow or more was forecast for some areas overnight Thursday into Friday, and temperatures are expected to plummet, with some areas seeing highs just above zero, according to the weather service.
"There will be travel problems," said Hugh Johnson, a weather service meteorologist in Albany. "It will be very cold."
Sections of interior southern New England and New York could get up to a foot of snow by the time the storm moves out, with forecasts generally calling for 6 to 12 inches.
Forecasters say Thursday's high temperatures aren't likely to hit double digits in many areas, while the highs across the North Country will remain below zero throughout the day. Windy conditions and lows well below zero will make it feel like minus-30 in some parts of the Adirondacks Thursday night and Friday morning.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday that he will activate a state emergency operations center this morning to monitor the storm. He also encouraged drivers to use mass transit today.
"Blowing, drifting snow can make travel difficult and dangerous, so I urge citizens to exercise caution if they have to leave their homes," he said. "We recommend that everyone in potentially affected areas utilize mass transit and take steps to safeguard against frigid temperatures. Keep a close eye on the weather, follow any instructions issued by local emergency officials and check on your neighbors and family members."
— Includes reporting by the Associated Press