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Before it hits Atlantic Canada, a major storm is delivering lots of snow to large parts of the United States.

Chaos south of the border as winter storm sweeps in

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Tuesday, January 21, 2014, 8:51 PM - A major winter storm - which is roaring toward Atlantic Canada - is causing travel chaos south of the border.

Over 3,000 flights have been cancelled so far as the storm brings cold temperatures, strong gusts and lot's of snow to northern regions.

The storm stretches 1,600 kilometres, between Kentucky and Massachusetts but has hit especially hard in the northeast, bringing cities such as Boston, New York and Philadelphia to a standstill. 

Forecasters expect Boston to receive almost 40 cm of snow while some cities have seen up to 10 cm an hour.

In the Midwest, snowfall totals were similar but the real problem was the windchill. 

It felt like -40 degrees Celsius in Chicago, and conditions aren't likely to improve until Friday.

Gusts over 50 km/h created whiteout conditions in many states, leading to numerous accidents.  

"The strong low pressure system that brought windy conditions to the prairies last weekend with gusts over 110 km/h, pushed into the upper Midwest with colder wind chills and snow showers," says Weather Network meteorologist Brian Dillon. "As the low moved into the mid-Atlantic states on Tuesday, it brought heavy lake effect snow to Chicago, where some areas got up to 25 cm of snow." 

Dillon also added the system "brought lake effect snow to communities downwind of Lake Huron, where Sarnia was in a snow squall watch and warning, as some spots received up to 10 cm of snow."

Such cold conditions put people at risk for frostbite. Exposed skin can be affected in less than 10 minutes.

STORM WATCH: For the most up-to-date information on how this storm will affect Atlantic Canada make sure to tune into The Weather Network

Tough Winter

Conditions on roads deteriorated rapidly. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation reduced speeds on interstates and other major roads by almost half but it didn't seem to make a big difference.

The state also announced it had already blown through more than half of its $189 million winter weather budget.

There was some good news though for children as schools across the state, and over in New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia and Kentucky sent students home early or stayed closed for another day. Yesterday was the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

Officials expect more travel problems on Wednesday.

An additional 1,000 flights have been cancelled while Amtrak planned to cut back train service in the afternoon.

New York City has received over 20 cm of snow, setting a new day record for the city.

The snow should end around midnight but it could continue into Wednesday morning around Boston.

STORM WATCH: Nor'easter targeting Atlantic Canada will bring snow and gusty winds early Wednesday morning 

Storm heading north

It will be a difficult few days in Atlantic Canada as the storm heads northeast.

According to Dillon, "this same storm system is now moving through the metropolitan regions of the northeast United states, with state of emergencies issued in New York, New Jersey and Delaware. This is the reason EC has issued blizzard warnings for the Maritimes, which will start overnight and into tomorrow and Newfoundland tomorrow afternoon through Thursday."

Once the system passes the main threat will be wind chills, sea effect snow showers and below seasonal temperatures.

STORM WATCH: Nor'easter arrives in Atlantic Canada bringing blizzard conditions
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Cold air lingers in Ontario, snow expected for the weekend
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