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Winter Storm 'Hercules' Canceling Thousand of Flights; Severe Cold Extending Into Weekend

Winter Storm 'Hercules' Canceling Thousand of Flights; Severe Cold Extending Into Weekend

The winter storm "Hercules" has canceled thousands of flights in the U.S. over Thursday evening and Friday morning, with severe weather conditions expected to stretch into the weekend, the National Weather Service said.

"The upcoming period extending into the weekend will continue to feature wintry precipitation and much below normal temperatures. As of early this morning, widespread snow continues to fall across the coastal sections of the Mid-Atlantic and up into New England," NWS's announcement on Friday morning read.

"Accumulations should continue throughout the morning across coastal sections of New England before winding down as the strengthening surface low exits into the Canadian maritimes."

Fox News noted that more than 2,300 U.S. airlines flights were canceled on Thursday due to snow and low visibility, as well as another 1,600 by Friday morning. Major highways were shut down in New York and Pennsylvania, while the governors of New York and New Jersey declared a state of emergency in their respective states.

The Weather Channel added that because of the blowing snow and very low temperatures, road-clearing will be very difficult, with traditional methods like using salt and chemicals losing much of their effectiveness. Parts of northeast Massachusetts have found themselves under 20 inches of snow, with Boston recording more than a foot of snow and New York City over 5 inches.

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The large snow storm had threatened to affect close to 100 million people in the Northeast and Midwest regions, with blizzard and whiteout condition warnings issued on Thursday morning.

NWS said that severely cold temperatures have also followed the storm, with areas of New England expecting readings into the -10s and -20s.

"Some of the coldest air of the year should arrive by the weekend over the northern tier of the country. The polar vortex is expected to drop from Central Canada bringing dangerously cold temperatures to the Northern Plains/Upper Midwest by Saturday," NWS reported.

"Forecast offices over this region suggest lows into the -20s across North Dakota/Minnesota with breezy conditions lowering wind chills to dangerously low levels. Current guidance indicates wind chill temperatures may approach -50F on Saturday night."

Newly sworn-in New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio repeated warnings on Friday that "Hercules" remains a dangerous storm.

"The best things people can do are to stay off the roads so we can clear them as fast as possible, and to check in on elderly and vulnerable neighbors who might need help this morning," he advised.

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