Blizzard Conditions Threaten Northeast

By Brian K. Sullivan and Konstantin Rozhnov | January 2, 2014

A winter storm that’s expected bring more than a foot of snow to parts of New England and blizzard conditions to Long Island has grounded more than 1,000 flights on the first work day of the New Year.

Boston may get as much as 14 inches (36 centimeters), while 4 to 8 inches are forecast for New York and 3 to 7 for Philadelphia, according to the National Weather Service.

A blizzard warning has been issued for Long Island, southeastern Massachusetts and Cape Cod through tonight into tomorrow because high winds and heavy snow could create “whiteout conditions,” the weather service said.

“In the I-95 corridor, the daylight hours are not going to be all that bad,” said Carl Erickson, a senior meteorologist with AccuWeather Inc. in State College, Pennsylvania. “The core of the storm from Boston down to New York City and Philadelphia will be Thursday night into Friday morning.”

noaa hercules blizzardAs the snow moves out of the Midwest toward the East Coast, bad weather contributed to 1,017 flights being canceled as of 8:15 a.m. New York time, according to FlightAware, an airline tracking service in Houston. Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport topped the list with 352 flights scrubbed, followed by Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey with 293, the company said.

Currently, light snow is falling on the East Coast, while the heaviest precipitation is further west in the Ohio Valley as the first of two low pressure systems moves into the region, said Rob Carolan, owner of Hometown Forecasts Services Inc. in Nashua, New Hampshire.

Second Wave

The second will move up the East Coast later today and strengthen in the Atlantic, bringing the heaviest snows to New York, Philadelphia and Boston, he said.

The heaviest snows and highest winds will be along the coast of New England from Maine to Cape Cod and across Long Island, he said.

Visibility on Long Island may be cut to less than a quarter mile and wind chills could make temperatures feel close to minus 10 Fahrenheit (minus 23 Celsius) tomorrow, according to the blizzard warning. As driving conditions deteriorate, the state may close the Long Island Expressway and other thoroughfares, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said yesterday.

More than 70 percent of all winter-storm deaths are automobile related, according to the National Fire Protection Association, a Quincy, Massachusetts-based non-profit advocate for safety codes.

Chicago Snow

Chicago is already struggling with heavy snow, which is expected to continue through the day. A lake-effect snow warning is in place until 6 p.m. local time along Illinois’ Lake Michigan coastline.

Winter storm warnings and weather advisories stretch from Illinois to Maine.

Snow should stop in Boston and New York sometime tomorrow as temperatures across the northern U.S. plummet, Carolan said.

“Tomorrow we will start the day off in the single digits and then get to the teens and that will be the high for the day,” Carolan said.

The high temperature for Central Park is expected to reach 15 degrees while Boston may see 12, according to the weather service.

The cold will extend from Canada deep into the U.S., said Matt Rogers, president of Commodity Weather Group LLC in Bethesda, Maryland.

“Some of the coldest air since middle January 2009 is showing up in the Midwest late this weekend and early next week as highs in Chicago are forecast to remain below zero on Monday,” Rogers said.

Chicago is expected to have a high of minus 2 on January 6, according to the weather service.

While frigid air grips the Midwest, the East Coast may see some warmer conditions arrive early next week. New York may reach a high of 45 on Jan. 5 and 6, and Boston may get to 49 to start the work week.

(Editors: Charlotte Porter, Dan Stets)

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