Satellite view of massive Northeast storm (NASA)

New England is digging out from a powerful winter storm that walloped the region with raging winds and blinding snow.  Although the Mid-Atlantic experienced a rather pedestrian snowstorm, impacts generally worsened farther north along I-95, with New England cities experiencing the most severe conditions.

According to the Daily Beast, atmospheric pressure within the center of storm’s circulation dropped from 1012 mb down to 986 mb in 24 hours – the textbook traits of a meteorological “bomb”.

Snowy megalopolis

Satellite view of snow cover over Mid-Atlantic and Northeast Friday (NOAA/NASA)

Although the reported snow totals were not that uncommon for New Englanders, bitter temperatures allowed every falling flake to stick, and blowing and drifting snow made for difficult travel.  Boston had 14.6” of snow on the ground as of 7:00 a.m. at Logan Airport.

But, overall snow totals reported to the Boston area National Weather Service forecast office climbed as high as 23.8” reported in Boxford, MA. Further south, BWI airport received 4.2” of snowfall, Philadelphia Airport received 9”, and in the New York City area LaGuardia received 6.9” while JFK airport received 6.6” .

The Associated Press reports major highways had to be shut down and many schools were closed Friday because of the heavy snow.  AccuWeather reports 1,500 flights were canceled, and – for a time – JFK was completely shut down early Friday.


Windy cities along I-95

Blizzard warnings were hoisted for coastal Long Island and the Boston area for heavy snow and high winds.  In Boston winds gusted as high as 35.7 mph just before dawn Friday morning. Overnight, visibilities dropped below one-quarter mile and temperatures tanked to near zero.

JFK recorded a gust to 43.7 mph just after sunrise and for Philadelphia, a 36.8 mph gust was observed just before 10:00 A.M.

Winds are expected to continue to howl behind the storm as the extensive Canadian polar air-mass crashes southward.

Low temperature extremes

Every major I-95 city north of D.C. has struggled to reach 20 degrees on Friday in the storm’s wake.  Factoring in the winds, temperatures have felt like the single digits throughout much of the day.  Many areas are forecast to approach zero Friday night throughout the Northeast, and surrounding suburbs should easily drop into negative values.  Wind chill readings will be even lower with much of New York, Vermont, and Massachusetts already under wind chill advisories Friday night.


Low temperature record for January 3

Current low temperature forecast Friday night







New York






Low temperature records courtesy Weather Underground

The region catches a breather for the balance of the weekend before an arctic front races into the region Sunday night.

Video: Snowstorm covers Northeast

(The author, Brendan Richardson is a Capital Weather Gang intern)