Schools, government and businesses were either closed for the day or closed early because of the storm that hit the mid-Atlantic region at midday then shifted northeast to ride the coast to New England, gathering strength along the way, AccuWeather.com reported.
In Washington, federal government offices were closed Tuesday because of the storm that was expected to dump 5- to 8 inches of snow before it pushed through.
Accumulations of 6- to 12 inches were forecast from the mid-Atlantic states to southeastern New England, AccuWeather.com said. Cities such as Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York and Boston could see at least 6 inches of snow from the storm then blowing and drifting snow after it moves through.
The mountainous regions of Virginia and West Virginia could receive nearly a foot of snow from the quick-moving Alberta clipper, forecasters said.
In New York, the winter weather forced organizers to cancel an inauguration gala for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie at Ellis Island.
Travel conditions fell apart as the storm moved east, and sections of several interstate highways were closed temporarily. Speed restrictions were put in place Tuesday morning by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.
Flight delays and cancellations mounted throughout the day. FlightAware.com reported 1,737 flight delays at U.S. airports and 2,890 flights canceled by early afternoon.
Chicagoans awoke to up to 9 inches of snow and a storm that just added to that total.
CNN reported Chicago O'Hare International canceled about 5 percent of its flight traffic before dawn Tuesday.
And with the snow came cold temperatures. CNN reported lows could be in the teens in Memphis, and in the single digits from Louisville, Ky., to Boston.
Frigid, dry air was expected to remain entrenched on the back end of the clipper from Idaho to Maine through Thursday, the service said.
In Minnesota, temperatures struggled to reach zero Tuesday, and were expected to hover around that mark.
Temperatures were not expected to be as cold as they were in the polar vortex that plunged much of the same region into record-setting low temperatures 2 1/2 weeks ago, the service said.