The storm that brought a quick shot of snow, sleet and freezing rain to the Washington, D.C. area last night has, as expected, transformed itself into a full-fledged blizzard that is hammering southern New England today. Unlike the so-called "Boxing Day Blizzard" in late December, this storm sped past Philadelphia and New York City like an Amtrak Acela train, dropping 5.2 inches of snow in Philly, and 9.1 in. in the Big Apple.
The snow arrived in New York shortly before 9:00 pm last night, and heavy snow fell throughout the night. However, in what must be every school kid's worst nightmare, the snow stopped falling early enough this morning for the city's school system to remain open.
Mayor Bloomberg, who was wounded politically by the city's poor snow removal performance in the December 26th blizzard, which dumped nearly two feet on the city, sent out an army of snowplows this time. Instead of quieting the city, the snow actually seemed to make it louder, with the steady roar of snowblowers, salt and sand trucks, as well as the ubiquitous plows coursing through the streets of midtown last night at about 11 pm.
Here's how the New York Times described the storm this morning:
For New Yorkers with still-fresh memories of the after-Christmas blizzard that paralyzed the city and left some streets unplowed for days, the latest snow seemed to be much ado about -- not nothing, but less than had been expected.
After just two major storms, the city has likely surpassed its average seasonal snowfall total of 28.4 inches.
As the coastal storm moved northward off the New Jersey coast, it strengthened rapidly, growing into a gale center that sliced right across the eastern part of Long Island and through Buzzards Bay in Massachusetts. This has brought very strong winds to southeast Massachusetts, with numerous reports of downed trees and power lines in the Boston area. On Nantucket island, winds have gusted as high as 61 mph.
A blizzard warning is in effect through 8 pm in Boston, due to the combination of heavy snow and winds that are reducing visibilities to below ¼ mile at times. Needless to say, air travel to and from Boston is not a good idea today. In fact, Amtrak service has been suspended between New York and Boston, due to damaged power lines from fallen trees, according to the Boston Globe.
So far, parts of Connecticut, northwestern Rhode Island, and interior Massachusetts have received at least two feet of snow, with Newtown, Connecticut reporting 27 inches. Along the immediate coast near Boston, amounts have been a little lower since temperatures for the first part of the storm hovered just above freezing, resulting in a heavy, wet, pasty snow that was slower to accumulate.