New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency covering counties of Suffolk, Nassau, Richmond, Kings, Queens, New York, Bronx, Westchester and Rockland, Xinhua reported.
Cuomo also activated the State Emergency Operations Center in a bid to monitor the major winter storm that is expected to bring moderate to heavy snow and strong winds to Long Island, New York city and the Lower Hudson Valley.
It is also anticipated to usher in extremely cold temperatures statewide.
"This winter storm will bring a one-two punch of snow and extreme cold. I urge all those in the affected regions to exercise caution, and avoid travel if possible," he said.
"State resources are deployed to clear snow and help those impacted by the storm, but above all it is important that New Yorkers remain safe both during and after the storm."
The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning from noon on Tuesday until 6 a.m. Wednesday for the five boroughs of New York City, the northern suburbs, all of Long Island, most of New Jersey, and southern and eastern Connecticut.
It warned that snow accumulations could top out at 8 to 12 inches, prompting many schools across the region to send students home early so they do not get stuck in the worst of the weather.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio also urged people to use mass transit or to stay indoors if possible so the sanitation crews can work to clear the streets.
Over 2,000 sanitation workers have been fully mobilized to work around the clock.
Heavy snow swept through East Coast of the US on Tuesday, causing over 2,000 flights into, out of and within the US to be cancelled.
Washington comes to a standstill too
Washington, where even the White House took a snow day on Tuesday, was expected to get at least 8 inches of snow, forecasters said.
Governors in Delaware, New Jersey and New York declared states of emergency. More than 1,700 ploughs in New York were to hit the roads Tuesday night to try to clear up to 10 inches of snow.
The storm stretched 1,000 miles between Kentucky and Massachusetts, but hit especially hard along the heavily populated areas between Philadelphia and Boston, creating perilous rides home for millions of motorists, according to CBS News.
As of Tuesday evening, there was mostly light snow across Connecticut, Rhode Island and eastern Massachusetts from the Boston area southward. Snowfall totals in the region ranged from about 5 inches to 6.5 inches.
With the snow still falling, the National Weather Service reported a record daily maximum snowfall of 6.1 inches at LaGuardia airport in New York, breaking the old record of 4.8 set in 2001
New York's Central Park also received a record 7.6 inches breaking the old record of 6.0 in 2001.
After the storm tapers off early on Wednesday morning, between 10 and 14 inches of snow are forecast to be on the ground in the southern portions of Brooklyn and Queens, central and coastal New Jersey, and on Long Island, meteorologists estimate.
By Tuesday evening, parts of New Jersey and Long Island already had 9 inches, while Central Park and parts of Connecticut and Westchester County had more than 7 inches.
The storm put a damper on New Jersey Governor Chris Christie's inauguration, forcing the cancellation of an evening party on Ellis Island, CBS said.
Schools in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Connecticut, Virginia, West Virginia and Kentucky stayed closed for an extra day after the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday or sent students home early.
A small but intense snowstorm is dumping up to 10 inches of snow in metropolitan Chicago as moisture over Lake Michigan mixes with frigid air.
Winter storm warnings and watches were in effect for all or part of 13 states from the mid-Atlantic to New England, CNN reported. There was a blizzard warning for Cape Cod, Massachusetts.
The storm should push into the Atlantic Ocean on Wednesday morning, CNN said citing its meteorologist. But already frigid eastern half of the nation is expected to stay in the icebox until the weekend, it said.