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Winter storm Hercules pounds Northeast with heavy snow and freezing cold

Winter storm Hercules is living up to expectations for the northeastern region of the United States, according to a Jan. 3 Sky News report. Hercules has hit hard in several regions with heavy snow and freezing cold temperatures.

Thousands are affected, with thousands of flights cancelled or delayed and folks at home asked to stay home. Several roads and major highways, as well as schools and offices are being closed

The first major winter storm of the 2014 has already hit Boston and Upstate New York pretty hard, dumping at least 21 inches of snow in Boxford, Massachusetts, and another 18 inches in some parts of Upstate New York, according to the National Weather Service.

People should definitely consider staying in their homes if the storm continues as we expect,” New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said. “This is nothing to be trifled with. We have learned too well over the past few years the power of Mother Nature. We have seen the damage that has been done.”

According to the Christian Science Monitor, Winter storm Hercules is slated to bring some of the coldest temperatures the Northeastern U.S. regions had ever seen. “The temperatures will be extreme,” Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick said, adding that some portions of state could see wind chills drop as low as 25 degrees below zero.

“This is likely to be the coldest weather for much of the Northeast since January 2009,” AccuWeather meteorologist Bernie Rayno said.

By Thursday night, the snow had already hit other areas like Chicago and Michigan pretty hard, and is expected to hit up to 20 states with a total population of some 120 million people, forecasters said.