North-eastern US and Canada hit by snowstorm
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The north-eastern US is being hit by a severe storm, with up to 12in (30.5cm) of snow expected in New York.
The snow became heavier on Wednesday evening, snarling up rush-hour traffic and affecting President Barack Obama's motorcade.
Schools in Washington DC and Pennsylvania have announced closures, and dozens of flights have been cancelled or delayed.
Forecasters in Canada's Maritimes provinces predicted up to 30cm of snow.
Snow began falling on Long Island, east of New York City, early on Wednesday morning, and local roads were quickly blanketed.
"The roads are really, really bad," school bus driver Ed Deutsch told the Associated Press. He said a trip that ordinarily takes him 35 minutes took over an hour.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg declared a state of emergency on Wednesday, urging New Yorkers to stay off the roads and suspending parking regulations and rubbish collection.
Mass snowball fight
New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg asked residents to stay off the roads US President Barack Obama's return to the White House from a trip to Wisconsin was affected after the weather grounded the helicopter that typically takes him into the capital from the military base where his Air Force One aircraft lands.
Mr Obama was met by his motorcade which spent an hour weaving through stalled rush-hour traffic on a journey that normally takes about 20 minutes.
The unusually cold winter weather has continued to affect southern states. Kentucky has received around 6in (15cm) of snow and driving conditions are treacherous in Tennessee.
In Washington DC, the National Weather Service warned that "very hazardous or impossible travel" was expected amid strong winds and "significant amounts of snow".
Washington commuters and workers were anxiously awaiting word from the federal government about the Thursday workday, while groups of Washington 20-somethings planned a mass snowball fight in Dupont Circle, about a mile north of the White House.
BBC reporter Franz Strasser captured video footage of a traffic jam caused by the winter storm in north-west Washington on Wednesday evening.
Air Canada moved a scheduled flight from Charlottetown on Prince Edward Island to Montreal up to midnight from 0600 in order to beat the snow, the CBC reported.
It has snowed so much in the town of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, this winter that clean-up crews are running out of places to move ploughed snow.
Portsmouth public works director David Allen told the Associated Press that the snow dump on nearby Pierce Island is already about five storeys high.
"It's time to get a lift up on it and we could probably do a ski run," he joked.
Massachusetts forecasters warned of possible coastal flooding during the high tide early on Thursday.