The storm is expected to bring up to 10in (25cm) of snow to the Midwest before pummeling the Northeast on Sunday. The National Weather Service in Albany, New York, said snow could fall at a rate of one to three inches (2.5-7.5 centimetres) an hour, creating “difficult to impossible travel conditions” in some areas.
The warnings state conditions throughout the Northeast “could approach blizzard criteria”.
In New York City, the worst of the storm is expected from Saturday afternoon through Sunday afternoon, with snow accumulations of up to 6in (15cm), followed by rain that could turn to ice as temperatures drop later Sunday.
Single-digit temperatures could last into Monday, according to forecasts.
Officials are warning of potential flight disruptions at airports, as well as possible changes to train schedules.
More than 2,000 flights had been cancelled through Sunday, according to FlightAware.com, which monitors flight delays.
Amtrak also cancelled some trains Saturday from Chicago to Washington and New York, as well as between New York and Boston and Pennsylvania on Sunday.
In Iowa, the Department of Transportation warns that visibility is less than a half mile in many locations due to snow and wind. And in South Dakota, where snow is starting to pile up, authorities are warning drivers to give plows extra room.
The storm was also bringing thunder and lightning to cities like Houston, Tennessee and Memphis, according to CNN. The outlet reported over 100 million Americans were under some form of storm warnings over the weekend.
Additional reporting by AP