The storm was powered by a rapid plunge in barometric pressure that some weatherforecasters were referring to as bombogenesis or a "bomb cyclone" and which brought fast, heavy snowfall and high winds.
The wintry weather has been blamed for at least 14 deaths in the past few days, including three in North Carolina traffic accidents and three in Texas because of the cold.
A woman walks down snow-covered Maverick Street in the East Boston neighborhood of Boston, Thursday, Jan. 4, 2018, as a huge winter storm roared up the East Coast with hurricane-force winds, heavy snow and coastal flooding.
"If you're in the area or due to travel, you should monitor local media, follow the advice of the local authorities and check with your airline or transport provider before travelling to your point of departure". Schools in Boston and Baltimore cancelled classes while Newark, New Jersey schools were opening two hours later than usual on Friday. Sporadic delays were reported on transit systems, including NY state's Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North commuter lines, as well as the Boston area's Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) system.
As the storm moved north, Blizzard warnings were issued for more than 8 million residents along the Eastern Seaboard, and almost 44,000 were without power. In fact, the powerful nature of this storm caused snow to fall in Tallahassee, Florida for the first time in 30 years.
Forecasters predict that record-breaking cold air and strong winds will set people's teeth chattering like castanets from the mid-Atlantic to New England on Friday and that the frigid weather will hang around through the weekend.
Major cities that could experience these conditions include Boston, Portland, Maine, and Providence, Rhode Island, though they could receive slightly less snowfall than the northernmost part of New England and parts of Canada.
Dogs play in the snow on Boston Common following winter snow storm Grayson in Boston Massachusetts U.S. Jan. 5 2018
Gov. Charlie Baker says utility workers are already deployed across the state, spending the night in hotels so they are ready to deal with power outages, NPR's Tovia Smith reports from Boston.
Much of the eastern United States is in the grip of a sustained cold spell that has frozen part of Niagara Falls, played havoc with public works and impeded firefighting in places where temperatures barely broke 20F (-6C).
Wind gusts were forecast to come in between 50 to 60 miles per hour from DE to the Jersey Shore, but some areas, such as Norfolk, Virginia, saw gusts above 70 miles per hour. (Credit: Aaron Lynett/Reuters) Pedestrians stop to photograph the frozen Josephine Shaw Lowell Memorial Fountain in NY.
Bomb cyclones occur when dry air in the stratosphere, the second-closest atmospheric layer to the Earth's surface, flows to an area of low pressure to try and equalise the differences in pressure.
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