Though snow began falling overnight in parts of New England and New York, forecasters say the full storm would not hit until later Thursday.
As much as a foot of snow or more was forecast for some areas overnight Thursday into Friday, and temperatures were expected to plummet, with some areas seeing highs just above zero, the National Weather Service said.
Sections of interior southern New England and New York could get up to a foot of snow, with forecasts generally calling for 6 to 12 inches. New York City, likely to see 3 to 7 inches, issued a snow alert. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo urged the city's commuters to leave their cars at home in case major highways are closed for Thursday's evening rush hour.
All of southern New England is under a winter storm warning until Friday morning. The region is expected to get hit with 8 to 12 inches of snow inland and about 10 to 14 inches of snow in areas like eastern Mass.
Vermont's two southernmost counties, which will see below-zero temperatures on Friday, are also expecting 6 to 12 inches of snow.
While the bulk of the snow was expected to hit southern New England and southern sections of Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont, the prospect of additional snow was welcome news for many areas farther north.
The Jackson Ski Touring Foundation in northern New Hampshire said the number of skiers during the first five days of Christmas vacation week increased 26 percent compared to last year.