NEW YORK: Weather forecasters on Sunday put the greater New York City area under blizzard watch, saying there was potential for a major winter storm from Monday night into Wednesday with 12 to 18 inches (30 to 45 cm) of snow expected.
The winter storm Stella raised the potential for dangerous travel and power outages with damaging wind gusts up to 50 mph (80 kph) possible across eastern Long Island and southeastern Connecticut, the National Weather Service said.
The potential for blowing snow and strong winds could lead to “whiteout” conditions with visibility as poor as a quarter mile (400 meters), the service said. Sub-freezing temperatures were forecast in the upper 20s Fahrenheit (minus 2 to minus 4 degrees Celsius).
Meanwhile, in the western United States, the service forecast potentially record-setting heat in the four corners states of Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah, where temperatures were expected into the 90s Fahrenheit (above 32 degrees Celsius) in some places.
Stella will also deliver a swath of snow to the Midwest.
The National Weather Service said large area of the Midwest from the Dakotas to Lower Michigan is under winter weather advisories and winter storm warnings. Travel will be impacted by light to moderate snow as jet stream energy and a weak area of low pressure move through the region Sunday-Monday.
Then, a strong area of low pressure will develop off the East Coast late Monday in response to the aforementioned jet stream energy, bringing a nor’easter with heavy snow and strong winds to the Northeast.
Winter storm watches have also been issued across other parts of the mid-Atlantic and Northeast, including Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington, D.C.
Stella’s Northeast Timing
- Snow will begin to develop in the mid-Atlantic region as the coastal low from Stella develops and intensifies.
- The snow could be heavy at times overnight with rates of 1-2 inches per hour.
- By late Monday night or early Tuesday morning, snow may develop as far north as New York City or southern New England.
- Light to moderate snow will also impact the eastern Great Lakes region.
- Travel should be avoided Monday night in all of the above-mentioned areas.
- A large swath of the Northeast will see snowfall, heavy at times, from Stella during the daytime hours.
- Snowfall rates of 1-3 inches per hour are possible near or either side of the Interstate 95 corridor.
- Blizzard or near-blizzard conditions are possible in coastal areas.
- Road and airport travel is likely to be snarled across the region.
- Strong winds and the weight of the snow could cause some tree damage and power outages
Tuesday Night – Wednesday
- Snow, heavy at times, will continue throughout much of New England Tuesday night.
- Further south, snow will become lighter overall.
- On Wednesday, lighter snowfall and gusty winds will continue across the Northeast region, but the worst of the storm will be over with.
How Much Snow to Expect in the Northeast?
Heavy snowfall accumulations are likely in the Northeast region from Stella, however, the exact track of the low is still somewhat uncertain. Therefore, keep in mind the forecast totals shown on our graphic below could change depending on the exact track of Stella and its evolution.
- A foot of snow is possible along the Interstate 95 corridor from Stella, including Bangor, Maine, Boston, Hartford, New York City and Providence. It’s not out of the question that some locations may pick up 18 inches or more of snow from Stella.
- In the mid-Atlantic, including Baltimore and Washington, D.C., snow amounts are still somewhat uncertain and dependent on where the rain/snow transition line sets up. The best potential for a foot of snow is likely to be northwest of Interstate 95 corridor in this area.
- Snowfall rates of 1-3 inches per hour are possible during the height of the storm in the most intense bands.
- Blizzard or near-blizzard conditions with wind gusts to 50 mph may occur Monday night through Tuesday in the blizzard watch area.
- Poor travel conditions will also exist in other parts of the Northeast.
- This may be the heaviest snowstorm so far this season in Boston and New York City which saw 9.4 inches and 10.9 inches from Winter Storm Niko on Feb. 9, respectively. New York City has seen 36 winter storms since 1869 that have produced a foot or more of snow, according to the National Weather Service. Just four of those storms have occurred in March, with the last to do so March 3-4, 1960.
(With inputs from Reuters)