Latest forecast as NYC declares snow emergency and Virginia issues ice warning

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Harriet Alexander
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The US Capitol is enveloped with mist on Wednesday as much of the East Coast braces for snow (AFP via Getty Images)
The US Capitol is enveloped with mist on Wednesday as much of the East Coast braces for snow (AFP via Getty Images)

A winter storm warning is in place for much of the East Coast of the United States, with up to 14 inches of snow predicted and wind gusts of 45mph from Winter Storm Gail.

The weather service posted winter storm warnings, watches and advisories all the way from Cape Cod, Massachusetts, down to northeastern Georgia, a distance of more than 850 miles. More than 70 million people were under a winter storm warning or advisory.

Near-blizzard conditions are expected to slam into New York on Wednesday evening, in the biggest storm to hit the city since January 2016. Bill de Blasio has announced schools will be shut on Thursday.

Up to two feet of snow are being forecast for inland areas in Pennsylvania, New York State, and much of Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts.

The cities of Washington DC and Philadelphia will be sitting right on the dividing line between precipitation types, making for a messy mix of snow, sleet, freezing rain and possibly, cold rain as the storm intensifies and moves along the East Coast.

People are being told to avoid all but essential travel.

Airlines have cancelled 700 flights and delayed almost 400 due to the impending storm.

States declare emergency as biggest snowstorm in years rolls towards New York City