Snow in New York
Snow in New YorkSigalit Nissanian

The northeastern part of the United States is digging out after a major snowstorm dropped nearly two feet of snow just north of Boston, temporarily shut down major highways in New York and Pennsylvania and forced airlines to cancel thousands of flights.

The storm, dubbed Hercules, was blamed for at least nine deaths in the eastern half of the country, according to the New York Post.

The storm dumped 23 inches of snow in Boxford, Massachusetts, by early Friday and 18 inches in parts of western New York near Rochester. 13 inches of snow fell in Boston, while New York City got up to seven.

The snowfall, frigid temps and stiff winds extended the holiday break for some students for a second day while posing the first test for New York City’s new mayor and perhaps the last challenge for Boston’s outgoing one.

U.S. airlines canceled more than 2,300 flights Thursday because of the snowfall and low visibility. By Friday morning, about 1,600 flights were canceled nationwide.

Snow began falling overnight Wednesday in parts of New England and New York state, but the brunt of the storm began late Thursday.

Governors in New York and New Jersey declared states of emergency Thursday, urging residents to stay home. State and county government offices in Delaware were closed Friday. Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick said state offices that closed early Thursday would remain closed Friday.

Outreach teams looked to get homeless people off the frigid streets of New York City and Boston, reported the New York Post.

The heavy weather began rolling in just a day after New York Mayor Bill de Blasio was sworn in, noted the report.

De Blasio dispatched hundreds of plows and salt spreaders on the streets as soon as the snow started falling Thursday night.

Meanwhile, slick roads were blamed for traffic deaths in Michigan, Kentucky, Indiana and Illinois. Authorities said a woman suffering from Alzheimer’s disease froze to death after she wandered away from her rural western New York home.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American Desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)