By Greg Botelho and Holly Yan
(CNN) — If you live in the Northeast, get ready to get pummeled.
A Nor’easter forming off the East Coast of the United States is expected to bring blizzard conditions by Thursday night to Long Island and Cape Cod.
The complicated storm system “will raise havoc” this week, dumping a foot of snow and spreading sub-zero wind chills across parts of the region, the National Weather Service said.
On top of the bone-chilling cold, much of Long Island, New York, will be under a blizzard warning from Thursday night to Friday afternoon.
“Falling and blowing snow with strong winds and poor visibilities are likely,” the Weather Service said. “This will lead to whiteout conditions making travel extremely dangerous. Do not travel.”
Across the country, nasty winter weather means many can’t travel even if they wanted to. More than 1,000 flights have been canceled for Thursday, according to FlightAware.com, which tracks cancellations due to weather and mechanical problems.
Here’s a breakdown on what to expect where:
New York and Long Island
As of Wednesday night, New York City was under a winter storm warning, as were many other densely populated areas in seven other states.
The city of 8 million people could get 9 inches of snow, sub-zero wind chills and turbulent winds, forecasters said.
The Long Island counties of Nassau and Suffolk will be under a blizzard warning from 6 p.m. Thursday until 1 p.m. Friday, with predictions of 8 to 10 inches of snow, wind chills as low as 10-below zero and sustained winds of at least 35 mph.
Upstate, the capital city of Albany could get buried under 14 inches of snow, with wind chills of 15 to 25 below zero, the National Weather Service said.
By Friday night, Boston should be covered by 5 to 11 inches of snow — with temperatures as low as 3 degrees below zero.
Citing likely “near blizzard” conditions Thursday night into late Friday morning, the state’s emergency management agency warned that 1 to 2 feet of fluffy, drifting snow could accumulate in places and that there could be moderate coastal flooding.
The forecast was so bad for Beantown that the city canceled school for Friday two days in advance.
The combination of extreme cold, snow and strong winds had officials at homeless shelters preparing.
“Our main emphasis is getting people inside where it is safer and warmer,” said Jennifer Harris, a spokeswoman for the Pine Street Inn shelter system in Boston, where a snow emergency has been declared. “Pine Street Inn is making sure to have extra staff and food and water. We are geared up to provide to a greater number of people.”
Wind chills in parts of Connecticut are expected to range from -5 to -20 degrees Thursday night and Friday; the National Weather Service issued Winter Storm Warnings for most of the state through Friday morning.
Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy urged residents to take it slow and give themselves extra time for their commutes Thursday and Friday. “I am also asking that you avoid travel during the height of the storm Thursday night,” he said in a statement.
Extreme football weather
Parts of the Midwest will get even colder in the coming days.
In Wisconsin, the Green Bay Packers will give a cold welcome to the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday, when temperatures could bottom out at minus 17.
But it will be relatively balmy Sunday in Cincinnati, Ohio, where snow and rain are possible when the city’s Bengals host the San Diego Chargers in another NFL playoff match-up.
Of course, while the players might not have a choice, fans don’t have to brave the cold for either game. The big worries are for those who travel in the coming days. Authorities in New York, for example, say they may shut the Long Island Expressway if whiteout conditions make driving along the east-west highway too perilous.
Kevin Willims isn’t taking any chances, nor is he predicting a world-ending storm. The New Yorker said that he plans to sit tight and let Mother Nature do her thing.
“There’s not much you can do,” Willims said. “When it’s snowing and these streets lock up, there’s really nowhere you can go, so it’s best to just stay in.”
CNN’s Lorenzo Ferrigno and Dave Alsup contributed to this report.
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