This post will be updated through the day.
Tuesday was the first day of spring, and another big nor’easter is hammering the Northeast with heavy snow. More than 12 inches of snow is possible from this one — a long-duration storm that began in the Washington-Baltimore area Tuesday morning and will last through Thursday night in New England.
- Snowfall rates could exceed two inches per hour.
- Power outages are likely because of snow accumulation and wind.
- Combined wind and snow will reduce visibility, and travel will be dangerous.
3 p.m. — Tri-state snowfall totals so far
Bayside, N.Y. — 5.1
East Flatbush, N.Y. — 4.5
Kearny, N.J. — 4.1
Newark Airport — 3.6
Washington Square — 3.0
Staten Island — 2.7
East Rutherford, N.J. — 2.0
1:30 p.m. — When was the last time we had 4 nor’easters in a month?
It started with the super-windy storm on March 1-2 that knocked out power to a few million people and generated a 97-mph gust on Cape Cod. That storm didn’t bring much in the way of snow to the I-95 corridor, but it kicked off a relentless pattern of winter storms that has yet to ease.
The second storm, which came on March 7, dumped a lot of heavy, wet snow in New Jersey, eastern Pennsylvania, the Tri-State metro and Boston. New York City ended up with almost nothing on the ground, but just 10-20 miles west of Manhattan there was over a foot on the ground. It was a wild storm.
On March 13, yet another storm targeted the Northeast, mainly southern New England. The National Weather Service said the storm easily met blizzard criteria (35 mph winds for more than three hours) in Boston, Falmouth, Hyannis, Plymouth and Martha’s Vineyard. This storm significantly reduced visibility to nearly the entire coast of Massachusetts. More than 2 feet of snow accumulated in Eastern Mass.
Now, amid a fourth nor’easter in three weeks, we’re wondering if this has ever happened before.
The National Weather Service dug around in the archives to find one winter when four storms struck in four weeks. It was Dec. 30, 1986 to Jan. 26, 1987.
Still, that’s across four weeks. This year’s storms have occurred within a span of just 3 weeks. Also, these storms happened in the depths of winter, late December to January. This is March. For that reason alone, this month’s weather is exceptional.
12:30 p.m. — New Jersey ending bus service early today
If you took a bus to work this morning in New Jersey, you’ll have to leave early if you want to get home the same way. New Jersey announced it will stop all bus service statewide, according to NBC Philadelphia.
Snow totals from the Philadelphia area:
Pottsville, Pa. — 6 inches
West Rockhill Township, Pa. — 5 inches
Spring Mount, Pa. — 4.8 inches
West Caln Township — 4.6 inches
East Nantmeal — 4.5 inches
Perkasie, Pa. — 4 inches
Philadelphia International Airport — 1.1 inches through 8 a.m.
11:00 a.m. — Central Park already looks beautiful
A couple of inches has already accumulated in Central Park, and if forecasts are right, there will be around a foot of snow on the ground by tomorrow morning. The high-resolution models suggest the heaviest snow will begin mid-afternoon in the Tri-State area and continue through around Midnight. By tomorrow at sunrise, it should be tapering off.
That same model, the HRRR, predicts an additional 11 inches in Manhattan on top of what’s already fallen, 12 inches in Brooklyn and more than 15 inches out on Long Island. In northern New Jersey, it’s going for as much as 15 inches. (You can see that chart below the tweet.) These totals seem a little bit high given temperatures at the ground are still only marginal at 11 a.m. The air aloft is certainly cold enough that it will keep snowing, it just won’t accumulate as much as it could if surface temperatures were well below freezing. I’m thinking Central Park will report a snow total between 9 and 11 inches when the storm is over.
9:30 a.m. — Snow is accumulating from D.C. to N.Y.C.
Precipitation was slow to change over to snow in the Washington region Wednesday morning, but temperatures have dropped below freezing across the Beltway now and snow is accumulating on the roads. The heaviest snow looks like it will fall over D.C.’s eastern suburbs and into the Baltimore area, leaving the western suburbs on the low end of the forecast.
Sleet and slush in Philadelphia changed to snow overnight and road crews are working hard to keep major roads clear in heavy snowfall rates. Strong winds are kicking up big waves and blowing sand out on the New Jersey Shore. Up to 14 inches of snow is in the forecast for the Philadelphia area, with totals decreasing through southern New Jersey. Temperatures are slightly warmer toward the coast, which is leading to sleet east of Philly.
In the New York City metro, snow is slowly accumulating, but sleet is still mixing in due to borderline temperatures. Snow is starting to coat roads in Brooklyn, though Manhattan has been warm enough to prevent much accumulation thus far.
Updates from Tuesday…
2:50 p.m. — Snow reaches N.Y.C., at least on radar
Nothing is hitting the ground yet in the Big Apple because of the combination of dry air and warm urban temperatures. Snow is either melting or evaporating before it reaches the ground, which means the only weather to report thus far is cold and damp.
In Philadelphia, light snow and sleet has been falling since late morning and accumulating on grassy and elevated surfaces. As temperatures fall this afternoon and precipitation gets heavier, the snow will pile up more quickly.
Snow will spread north on Tuesday, starting near the Mason-Dixon Line and ending up in southern New England. More than a foot of snow is possible in Philadelphia, New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts. Accumulation over six inches will be widespread across the Northeast.
In Philadelphia, the wintry mix began Tuesday morning and is moving northward through eastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Ice accumulation is possible on roads and elevated surfaces, which will make travel dangerous. Tuesday night, precipitation will change to snow and will be heavy on Wednesday. Snow totals will range from seven to 13 inches in the Philadelphia area.
In New York City, 12 to 16 inches of snow is in the forecast. A heavy wintry mix — sleet and freezing rain — will spread into the Tri-State area on Tuesday night. Blizzard conditions could overtake Long Island. Snow should taper off Thursday morning.
Farther north in southern New England, similar snow totals are likely in Connecticut, Rhode Island and Eastern Massachusetts.
This is a large and complicated storm that extends much farther south than the D.C.-Baltimore area. It’s the same system that caused severe thunderstorms and tornadoes in the Southeast on Monday night. Pending confirmation from the National Weather Service, numerous tornadoes touched down in Alabama and Georgia, south of Atlanta, some of which destroyed homes and brought down trees. Hail larger than softballs reportedly fell in Alabama.