New York, East Coast Snowfall Disrupts Travel in Morning Commute

New York commuters face slippery conditions this morning as the city is hit by a fast-moving storm that forecasters expect to deposit as much as 6 inches (15 centimeters) of snow.

Blizzards will persist until mid-morning, with snow deepest in the eastern parts of Long Island, Hometown Forecast Services Inc. said. Elsewhere, falls of 2 to 4 inches are likely, with temperatures climbing no higher than the mid-30s Fahrenheit.

“It will be plenty cold for the snow to accumulate,” said David Stark, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Upton, New York. “For the Friday morning rush hour, there should be accumulating snow on all area roads.”

Winter weather advisories and storm warnings stretch from Massachusetts to New York, Philadelphia through the Ohio River Valley and into parts of Arkansas, Stark said. The New York City Office of Emergency Management has asked people to use mass transit and avoid driving, according to an an e-mailed statement.

Boston is now under a winter storm warning, meaning “an average of 6 inches of snow or more” will fall in a 12-hour period and travel will be “quite difficult” on any unplowed or untreated road, according to the weather service.

‘Poor Visibility’

Boston is expected to receive 4 to 8 inches of snow by noon, said William Babcock, a weather service meteorologist in Taunton, Massachusetts.

“We’re expecting snow to start moving in the Connecticut Valley around midnight, and in the Boston area it will probably be more like 3 a.m.,” Babcock said. “It will continue through the morning rush hour, falling heavily at times with poor visibility with accumulation rates of an inch or more per hour.”

Earlier this week, a snow and ice storm grounded hundreds of flights at New York City area airports.

The system left 1 inch on the ground in Central Park, the weather service said. The city has had 11.8 inches of snow this month, 7.6 inches more than normal. Since Dec. 1, 31.9 inches has fallen.

From 3 to 5 inches of snow may fall all along the U.S. East Coast from Philadelphia to New York, said Tom Kines, senior expert meteorologist at commercial forecaster AccuWeather Inc. in State College, Pennsylvania.

‘A Slow Go’

“For the major cities, it is more of a nuisance storm than a crippling storm,” Kines said. “Nevertheless, people are going to be out there shoveling, and the morning commute I am sure will be a slow go.”

Stark said the advisory was issued in New York because the snow will make traveling potentially difficult.

The storm was expected to intensify as it reached the coast overnight in New York, Kines said. It is forecast to then move northeast passing south and east of Cape Cod in Massachusetts.

A foot of snow fell north of St. Louis, according to the weather service. The heaviest snow was confined to a band just north of the city.

The weather service predicted Cincinnati will get 4 to 7 inches of snow. If the storm intensifies earlier than expected, parts of southeastern New Jersey may also receive more snow.

The heating degree days value for Central Park has been 611 so far this month or 31 above normal, according to the weather service. The value, calculated by subtracting the daily average temperature from a base of 65 degrees, is designed to show energy demand, it said.

The higher the value, the cooler the weather, and thus the more energy probably being used to heat homes and business. In Boston, the value this month has been 658, or 14 below normal, according to the weather service.

Icy Weekend

After the snow passes, temperatures in New York will climb above the freezing mark of 32 degrees Fahrenheit (zero degrees Celsius) during the day before plunging into the teens tonight, Stark said. The weekend is forecast to be cold with low temperatures falling to the teens in the city and single digits in the surrounding area.

Both National Football League conference championship games are expected to be cold and dry, Kines said. When the New York Jets play the Pittsburgh Steelers at 6:30 p.m. on Jan. 23 in Pittsburgh, temperatures are likely to be in the teens, Kines said. Similar conditions are expected when the Green Bay Packers play at the Chicago Bears earlier that day, he said.

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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