Storm watches and warnings were posted as far north as Maine and snow coated roads as far south as North Carolina and eastern Kentucky.
"No! No, no, no! I'm ready for it to be hot out. I'm tired of the cold already," said Shajuan Carter of Irvington as she waited at Newark's Penn Station for a train into New York City.
Six to 10 inches of snow was likely in the New York City area by the time the storm lets up Tuesday morning, with 14 inches possible in northwestern New Jersey and the Poconos of northeastern Pennsylvania, and up to 2 feet in the mountains of West Virginia, the National Weather Service said. Eight inches was possible in Boston.
Ten inches had fallen by afternoon at North Carolina's Mount Mitchell, and more than 8 inches was on the ground in western Virginia, where police blamed the weather for 100 traffic accidents. "By far, for us, this is the biggest snowstorm we've had," said Chuck Lionberger, a spokesman for the Virginia Department of Transportation.
Afternoon arrivals at Newark Liberty International Airport were delayed up to three hours, although planes were still taking off on time.
Schools were also closed from Kentucky to Pennsylvania because of slippery roads or in anticipation of worsening weather, and others decided to send students home early.
For New Jersey, the storm arrived just five days after one that dumped nearly 8 inches on parts of the state.
The Taylor Rental Center in Mount Laurel had been getting calls since Saturday checking the availability of backhoes and other snow-removal equipment at a rate of $263 for eight hours, manager Chuck Hudson said.
"Everything else stops when it snows and whenever there's snow on the ground," he said.
The storm was expected to drop 8 to 12 inches on parts of Vermont, which could be enough to hamper Tuesday's annual town meetings, the staple of local government in the region.
If only a few people are able to show up to conduct a town's business, the moderator and town officials can specify a date to reconvene and then adjourn, said Vermont Secretary of State Deb Markowitz.
The snow was wet and heavy in parts of North Carolina, causing power line breaks that blacked out more than 11,000 customers, utilities said.
But in North Carolina's western mountains, the snowy weather was welcomed.
"This is sort of the winter we haven't been having," said Brad Moretz, general manager of Appalachian Ski Mountain. "March will exceed our expectations. This weekend we'll have good weather and good slope conditions."