6-Heavy snow, dangerous cold snarl travel in northeastern US

6-Heavy snow, dangerous cold snarl travel in northeastern US
Visitors enjoy the snow on Times Square in New York. Forecasters are predicting up to seven inches of snow in New York.

NEW YORK - The governors of New York and New Jersey declared a state of emergency and pleaded with residents to stay indoors on Thursday as a major snowstorm bore down on the northeastern United States, delaying or canceling thousands of flights.

The first major winter storm of 2014 brought bone-chilling temperatures and high winds from the lower Mississippi Valley to the Atlantic coast, with parts of New England, including Boston, bracing for up to 14 inches (36 cm) of snow by Friday morning. "As this winter storm unfolds, bringing heavy snow and high winds to many parts of the state, I strongly urge all New Yorkers to exercise caution, avoid travel and stay indoors," New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said.

Amid flight cancellations that hit just as many travelers were returning from holiday breaks, officials at Boston's Logan International Airport said that up to a quarter of its scheduled flights had been cancelled on Thursday afternoon and evening.

But Ed Freni, aviation director of Massport, the state agency that operates Logan, said that two runways remained open and that he expected the airport to continue operating as long as it was safe to do so.

Cuomo and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie both ordered state offices closed on Friday for non-essential employees, saying they expected the worst to hit between late Thursday and early Friday morning. The state of New Jersey said public schools would be closed in Hoboken and Jersey City on Friday.

"The real action is going to get cranked up this evening and during the overnight hours. We'll have heavy snow, windy conditions, reduced visibilities," said Kim Buttrick, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Taunton, Massachusetts.

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