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Plowable snow DC to New York and Boston

21 Jan 2014, 10:14 am

Tuesday January 21, 2014

* Projected snowfall amounts look slightly higher, especially Baltimore and Philadelphia to Long Island and Cape Cod, where some 10″+ amounts are possible.

* Blizzard Warnings now posted for Cape Cod. Winter Storm Warnings up for major city centers from Washington D.C. to Philadelphia, New York City and Boston, where this will be a plowable snowfall. This has the potential to be the largest snowfall in the DC area since January 26th, 2011.  Read more from the NWS

* Heaviest snow burst comes around midday and early afternoon today for Washington D.C. and Baltimore, this evening for New York City, and late tonight and Wednesday morning for Boston and Cape Cod.

* Storm will be followed by bitter winds and subzero wind chills, with considerable blowing/drifting snow into Wednesday. I expect massive traffic delays and air delays/cancellations to spill over into Wednesday – no widespread improvement in the system until Thursday.

Winter Storm Warnings. NOAA did, in fact, upgrade the watch to a warning, meaning treacherous, traffic-snarling weather conditions are imminent from Roanoke and Richmond to Washington D.C., Harrisburg, Philadelphia, New Jersey, metro New York and Long Island to Hartford, Providence and Boston.

Blizzard Warnings. NOAA has upgraded the Winter Storm Warning to a full-fledged Blizzard Warning for Cape Cod late tonight into Wednesday, for sustained winds over 35 mph and visibilities near zero in falling/blowing snow. Much of coastal New England will be a parking lot with nothing moving late tonight into at least midday Wednesday.

Storm Overview. Models are fairly consistent, printing out the heaviest snow band from the hills of West Virginia into Maryland, southeastern PA and New Jersey into southern New England, where 4-8″ amounts are likely, with some isolated 10″ snowfall totals by midday Wednesday.

What Makes This Storm More Dangerous. Unlike many Nor’easters, this storm will be followed by another taste of the Polar Vortex. The map above shows projected 6 AM EST temperatures Wednesday morning, ranging from 5-10F from Washington D.C. and Philadelphia to New York and Boston, with a wind chill as low as -15F. Not only will the cold temperatures contribute to a powdery snow that’s more prone to blowing and drifting, it will obviously increase the risk of frostbite and hypothermia for people caught outside in these potentially dangerous conditions. Exercise extreme caution late tonight into much of Wednesday.

Summary: why do I have the feeling we’re going to earn our spring this year? Snow becomes steadier and heavier as the day goes on today, the heaviest burst of snow transitioning from D.C. (midday) to Philadelphia (afternoon) to New York City (evening hours) into Boston (late tonight and Wednesday morning). Snow may fall at the rate of 1-2″/hour later today and tonight, whipped around by gusty winds as temperatures drop through the 20s into the teens by tonight. Blowing and drifting will be significant, the greatest potential for blizzard or near-blizzard conditions from Long Island to Providence and Cape Cod tonight into Wednesday morning. Travel conditions improve Thursday as winds ease, but it goes without saying that the recent midwinter weather honeymoon, the extended January Thaw for the Northeast, is history. Be careful out there.

Paul Douglas – Senior Meteorologist – Alerts Broadcaster

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