Hundreds of flights were delayed or canceled and hundreds of schools shut their doors Tuesday as the latest in a series of massive storm systems pounded much of the nation with heavy snow.
Blizzard warnings were in effect for the Sierra Nevada range in California and Nevada. A winter storm warning covered parts of the Northeast, including Connecticut, New York, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Rhode Island. Parts of the Upper Midwest also were under siege.
“I strongly encourage everyone in Connecticut to stay off the roads ... unless absolutely necessary,” Gov. Ned Lamont said in a statement.
Tuesday's storm will be followed by an even larger system sweeping from the southern Plains to the Midwest, New England and possibly the mid-Atlantic states with snow from Thursday to Friday, AccuWeather meteorologists warned.
"Widespread travel disruptions will likely occur due to the storm's enormous reach," AccuWeather senior meteorologist Alex Sosnowski said.
►Winter weather advisories and warnings were issued for much of the Upper Midwest and Northeast.
►With 1.8 inches reported, New York City got the most snow the area has received all winter, the National Weather Service said.
►Parts of Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas continue to recover from severe weather that hit the area on Sunday and Monday. Dozens of injuries and at least one death were reported.
►Yet another severe weather outbreak was possible in the southern U.S. on Wednesday and especially Thursday, forecasters said.
Heavy snow hits Northeast
Schools across southern New England either closed or delayed opening as the most significant snowfall of what has been a mild winter hit overnight. Up to 8 inches of snow blanketed some communities.
The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority tweeted that its "Power and Signal Departments are working on a power issue that is impacting the signal system on multiple lines and is impacting some stations as well. Trains my be asked to stand by at stations."
The heaviest snowfall was predicted in east central New York, western and central Massachusetts, and southern New Hampshire, southern Vermont and western Maine, where a foot of snow was possible.
Most flight cancellations or delays were concentrated in the Northeast. About 500 commercial flight cancellations and more than 3,000 were delayed as of Tuesday afternoon, according to FlightAware.com.
New York City has 'biggest snowfall' of winter
All five boroughs of New York City saw a mix of snow and sleet Monday night and Tuesday morning. The city's official snowfall total at Central Park was 1.8 inches, the weather service tweeted. This makes the seasonal snowfall total for New York City 2.2 inches.
Other portions of Manhattan and Brooklyn saw no more than 2 inches – still the biggest snowfall for the city this winter. Parts of the Bronx got more than 5 inches.
The city's Sanitation Department said more than 2,000 employees worked overnight Monday into Tuesday, operating more than 700 salt spreaders, 2,000 plowable vehicles – and even 50 new bike lane plows.
"New Yorkers may have forgotten how to handle snow this winter, but #NewYorksStrongest haven't!" the department tweeted. "700 million pounds of salt. Yeah. We're ready."
'Life-threatening' blizzard conditions expected in California
Winter weather continued to hit the Golden State Tuesday. The most significant conditions were in the Sierra Nevada mountain range and the Lake Tahoe area near the Nevada border. The Greater Lake Tahoe Area and Mono County were under a blizzard warning through Tuesday. Total snow accumulations of 2 to 3 feet and wind gusts as high as 60 mph were possible.
"Blizzard conditions will continue in the Sierra today," the weather service warned. "Steady snowfall will continue ... with a heavier band expected to roll through during the evening commute. Avoid unnecessary travel!"
Los Angeles County and other nearby mountains also were expected to see moderate snow Tuesday, and other parts of Southern California will continue to have rain.
San Bernardino County blanketed in snow
Heavy snow in Southern California's San Bernardino Mountains trapped residents in their homes and stranded motorists as San Bernardino county declared a state of emergency. Community members have been unable to drive through the deep snow on the already-closed roads and some have resorted to traveling on foot to get groceries.
In the city of Crestline, California, Michael Johnstone said his family’s grocery store was running low on key inventory even though they stocked up before the storm. Authorities are escorting two full grocery trucks up to the mountain community, Johnstone said — just in time for the new storm to hit.
“We’re completely out of bread. Milk is getting really light. We’re almost completely out of produce,” Johnstone said.
Travel in northern Plains could be hazardous
A low-pressure system swinging from the Rockies to the Dakotas could bring heavy snow across the northern Plains. The heaviest amounts were forecast along the North Dakota-South Dakota border into Wednesday morning. Up to 9 inches was forecast; more was possible in isolated areas.
"Strong easterly winds will also result in blowing snow," the weather service in Bismarck tweeted Tuesday. "Travel will be hazardous."
Severe outbreak possible on Wednesday, Thursday
Looking ahead, a major severe weather outbreak was also forecast for portions of the southern Plains and Deep South on Wednesday and especially Thursday, meteorologists said.
There is a "threat of tornadoes, damaging winds, hail and flash flooding from Texas into the Southeast," said Weather.com meteorologist Jonathan Erdman. Cities at greatest risk for severe storms on Thursday include Dallas, Little Rock and Memphis, along with Shreveport, Louisiana, and Jackson, Mississippi.
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Follow Jordan Mendoza on Twitter: @jordan_mendoza5.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Winter storm forecast: Snow in Northeast, California; live updates