Storm Bound for U.S. Northeast With Heavy Rain, Gusty Winds

Feb. 23 (Bloomberg) -- New York City and the Northeast will receive heavy rain and winds that may be strong enough to cause air traffic delays as a storm sweeps in late tomorrow, according to the National Weather Service.

Rain may start to fall by 8 p.m. New York time with the heaviest precipitation coming overnight and just before dawn the next day, said Tim Morrin, a weather service meteorologist in Upton, New York.

“The confidence is there for a fairly significant rain event,” Morrin said. “It doesn’t look like a threat for any type of snow.”

Flooding is possible because frozen ground won’t be able to absorb rain or runoff from any melting snow, he said.

Rob Carolan, a meteorologist with Hometown Forecast Services in Nashua, New Hampshire, said New York may receive as much as 0.75 inch (2 centimeters) of rain and Boston more than 1 inch.

“The ground is like a brick, and none of this is going to percolate down into the soil,” he said. “It’s just going to run off.”

Wind Forecasts Differ

Carolan said he doesn’t think the system, which is sweeping in from the Midwest, will produce much wind in the Northeast, while the weather service said conditions may be blustery enough to delay some air traffic.

“It is the type of wind that could impact travel,” Morrin said. He said the Upton office hadn’t calculated possible wind speeds yet.

Washington, Philadelphia and Baltimore are all expected to receive rain starting tomorrow. Flood warnings and watches stretch from western Pennsylvania through eastern Arkansas, according to the weather service.

The center of the storm is forecast to pass over southern New England. Boston may see snow changing to rain, the weather service said.

“We might have some periods of moderate to heavy rain,” said Eleanor Vallier-Talbot, a weather service meteorologist in Taunton, Massachusetts, outside Boston.

Gusts of more than 40 mph (64 kph) may plague Boston’s Logan International Airport and roads such as Storrow Drive, which runs along the Charles River, may flood, she said.

Morrin said he expects any flooding in the New York area to be more of a nuisance than a major threat.

Ski Area Snow

Ski areas in northern New York and in Vermont and New Hampshire may receive 6 to 12 inches of snow, Carolan said.

“School vacation week is kicking off in New Hampshire next week, so they will be happy about that,” Carolan said.

The high temperature in Central Park tomorrow will be about 43 degrees Fahrenheit (6 Celsius), reaching 46 degrees the next day, according to the weather service.

Since Dec. 1, 60.9 inches of snow have fallen in Central Park, 43.4 inches more than average, according to the weather service. This year is the third-snowiest on record, edging out 1922-23, which had 60.4 inches.

The season record for snow in Central Park is 75.6 inches set in 1995-96, according to weather service records that go back to 1869.

Manhattan has posted a heating degree days value of 2,738, or 201 above normal, since Dec. 1.

The value, calculated by subtracting the daily average temperature from a base of 65 degrees, is designed to show energy demand. 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 from Dec. 1 through yesterday was 2,912, or 115 above normal, according to the weather service. In Philadelphia, it was 2,723, or 158 above normal.

Carolan said tomorrow’s storm will be the first of three moving through the Northeast in the next week. A system may bring a mix of rain and snow to the region over the weekend, and another system will follow at the end of next week.

To contact the reporter on this story: Brian K. Sullivan in Boston at

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