A powerful blizzard dubbed "Snowmageddon" bore down on New York last night, with officials banning road travel for all but emergency vehicles in more than a dozen counties.
New York City and Long Island residents were among those threatened with a $300 (£198) fine if they violated the ban after 11pm.
"If you are in your car and you are on any road, town, village, city, it doesn't matter, after 11 o'clock, you will technically be committing a crime," warned New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. "It could be a matter of life and death so caution is required."
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A state of emergency was also declared by New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts and New Hampshire
The US National Weather Service had warned that the "crippling and potentially historic blizzard" could cause "life-threatening conditions".
Winter Storm Juno was expected to bring gusts of wind of up to 50mph and up to three feet of snow, with low visibility and "treacherous" road conditions to the north-east of America.
The Weather Service said travel was likely to become "extremely dangerous" with "whiteout conditions likely". The winds may down power lines and tree branches, with secondary and tertiary roads becoming "impassable", it added.
If the forecasters' "incredible" snowfall totals come to fruition, the storm could top New York City's biggest blizzard on record, in which 26.9in fell on 11 to 12 February 2006, says the Washington Post.
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio has urged people to stay indoors and said schools are likely to close on Tuesday.
"My message to all New Yorkers is prepare for something worse than we have seen before. Prepare to be safe. Take every precaution. Now is the time to get ready for this extreme weather," he said. "Don't underestimate this storm."
Almost 3,500 flights into, out of and within the US have already been cancelled today and tomorrow, with heavy snowfall forecast from Philadelphia to Maine, according to the website FlightAware.
State governors have been issuing advice for residents before, during and after a snowstorm, urging people to check on their neighbours and warning about the dangers of hanging electrical wires and over-exertion through shovelling snow.
Meanwhile, residents have already begun stocking up on food, water and last-minute snow supplies.
According to CNN, New York has at least 1,806 snowplows and more than 126,000 tons of salt to spray on roads across the region. "The National Guard will also have six dozen personnel and 20 vehicles stationed throughout the state starting on Monday morning," it says.
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