Weekend Storm Forecast to Head Into Atlantic, Sparing Northeast Snowfall

Residents of New York and the Northeast who’ve been bundling against icy weather will probably be spared having to shovel snow this weekend.

A system expected to move to the north and east after forming in the Gulf of Mexico was earlier given a 50-50 chance of dropping snow on the region. It’s now forecast to miss, said Brian Ciemnecki, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Upton, New York.

“The storm is going to pass far enough to the south and east that we’re not looking for much of a storm impact,” Ciemnecki said.

Forecasters trying to predict the weather had difficulty because of conflicting results from computer simulations, said Tom Downs, a meteorologist with commercial forecaster Weather 2000 Inc. in New York.

Those results now point to a track that will take the storm far enough out into the Atlantic Ocean that it won’t affect most of the East Coast. Cape Cod in Massachusetts may still be brushed by the system, which still hasn’t developed, Downs said.

“You are going to see people downplay the storm,” he said by telephone. “The people who tried to hype it yesterday will downplay it today.”

Winter storms can cause airline, rail and highway delays as well as power outages and even coastal flooding, depending on the storm track.

From 1990 to 2009, winter storms accounted for 7.4 percent of all catastrophic losses in the U.S., according to the Insurance Information Institute. Hurricanes and tropical storms caused the most damage, at 45.2 percent of the total.

In the winter of 2009-2010, record-breaking amounts of snow fell across the U.S., including in New York, Washington and Baltimore. The Washington area got 1 to 2 inches (2.5. to 5 centimeters) of snow from a storm yesterday.

Cold air has gripped the New York region since Dec. 14, when a high temperature in the mid-20s Fahrenheit (about minus-4 Celsius) was about 20 degrees lower than normal. Weekend highs are expected to be in the mid-30s.

To contact the reporter on this story: Brian K. Sullivan in Boston at bsullivan10@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dan Stets at dstets@bloomberg.net

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