By Lauren Keiper
BOSTON (Reuters) - The Northeast was hit with a blast of winter weather -- rare this year -- as a storm plowing through the region on Thursday was expected to blanket areas from New York to Maine with up to a foot of snow.
Schools were delayed and closed across the region with some areas of Vermont waking up to nearly 10 inches of snow already on the ground, according to National Weather Service early snowfall totals.
Winter storm warnings were issued for much of New England with up to a foot of snow possible in areas, NWS said.
Areas west of Boston could see about 5 inches of snow while towns along the border with New Hampshire were likely to get closer to 8 inches, NWS forecasters said.
Strong winds, reduced visibility and a mix of sleet and freezing rain throughout the day were expected to make for messy travel, it said.
The heaviest snow totals were forecast in eastern New Hampshire and Maine, according to Weather.com. Rain from the storm was expected to drench areas further south including New York City, Philadelphia and Washington, it said.
This weather comes on the heels of severe storms that spawned tornadoes and ripped through the Midwest on Wednesday killing at least 12 people and raising fears of a repeat of the record-breaking U.S. tornado season last year.
The Northeast has seen an unseasonably warm winter thus far and forecasters expect the mild temperatures to return.
"We'll get through this and then we're going to see a warm up later in the week," said NWS meteorologist Alan Dunham, adding that temperatures around Boston should climb into the 50s on Saturday.
(Editing by Paul Thomasch)