A storm developing off the East Coast will probably bring 2 to 4 inches (5 to 10 centimeters) of snow to New York and Boston over the weekend, the National Weather Service said.
Heavy snowfall began in Chicago at midday. The Eastern storm will move south and east of Long Island and mix with colder air from the north, spreading snow across the New York area starting late tonight, said John Murray, a weather service meteorologist in Upton, New York.
Ice and snow have been rare in much of the U.S. this winter. The two-month start of the season, December and January, was the fourth-warmest on record with an average temperature 3.8 degrees Fahrenheit (2.1 Celsius) above normal, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
“There have been glancing blows of the cold but it won’t stay for the couple of periods where it is brutally cold like we have had in other winters,” said Paul Walker, senior meteorologist at AccuWeather Inc. in State College, Pennsylvania.
Most of New York’s snowfall will come into the afternoon tomorrow, Murray said by telephone.
“An arctic front will be moving through Saturday night and we still could see some snow showers Saturday night without much additional accumulation,” he said.
Snow will begin falling in Boston during the day tomorrow, said Charlie Foley, an agency meteorologist in Taunton, Massachusetts. The suburbs south of the city may receive 4 to 6 inches, while rain is more likely for Cape Cod and the Massachusetts islands, he said.
In Chicago, a winter weather advisory was issued for lake-effect snow that is expected to leave about 3 inches on the ground before ending tonight, according to the weather service.
Snow covers 28.4 percent of the lower 48 states as of today, the second-lowest amount for Feb. 10 since records starting being kept in 2004, said Carrie Olheiser of the National Operational Hydrologic Remote Sensing Center in Chanhassen, Minnesota. The lowest was 25.1 percent in 2006.
Since Oct. 1, 7.2 inches of snow has fallen in New York’s Central Park, about 7.7 inches below normal, according to the weather service. Last year, 57.7 inches of snow had fallen by Feb. 10, the agency said.
In Boston, 6.8 inches has fallen since Dec. 1, 18.6 fewer than normal. Last year, 71.2 inches of snow had fallen by Feb. 10, according to the weather service.
Twenty-two states from Montana to Maine had temperatures for the period ranking in their 10 warmest, according to NOAA.
New York has averaged 5.5 degrees above normal since Dec. 1 and Boston 5.4 degrees above normal, Walker said by telephone.
After the snow moves through New York, high temperatures will be in the 20s north of the city and in the 30s for Central Park the day after tomorrow. Temperatures are expected to near 50 later in the week in New York and to be in the lower 40s in Boston, according to the weather service.
The storm may also bring less than an inch of snow to Philadelphia overnight, the agency said. Snow may fall in Baltimore and Washington, although it isn’t expected to accumulate.