Almost a foot of snow is forecast for the New York area, potentially snarling travel across the U.S. Northeast following the New Year’s Day holiday. The storm may give way to the coldest temperatures so far this season.
Two systems are forecast to merge by tomorrow, bringing as much as 10 inches (25 centimeters) of snow to New York and 14 inches to Boston, the National Weather Service said on its website today. Snowfall will probably start between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m. tomorrow in New York and continue the next day, said Rob Carolan, owner of Hometown Forecast Services Inc.
“The worst of it for New York will be the Thursday ride home,” Carolan said.
The combined systems will stretch from the upper part of the mid-Atlantic region to southern New England, AccuWeather Inc. said. Snow will arrive in Boston after New York. As driving conditions deteriorate tomorrow, the state may close the Long Island Expressway and other thoroughfares, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said in a meeting with reporters today.
“The storm will affect more than 70 million people in the Midwest and the Northeast combined and could have a major negative impact on travel for people returning from holiday destinations,” Alex Sosnowski, an AccuWeather forecaster, wrote on the State College, Pennsylvania-based company’s website. “People should be prepared for flight delays and cancellations because of direct and indirect impacts from the far-reaching storm.”
To the west in Chicago, a snowstorm that began New Year’s Eve prompted airlines to cancel 460 flights today at O’Hare International Airport, the Associated Press reported, citing FlightAware.com. Low visibility due to blowing snow was causing delays of 16 to 30 minutes, and those wait times were increasing, the Federal Aviation Administration said on its website.
By the time the storm exits northern Illinois tomorrow afternoon, the city and its suburbs may be blanketed in as much as 10 inches of snow, the National Weather Service said in an advisory on its website at 11:54 a.m. local time.
Heavy snow warnings have been issued from Pittsburgh to Bangor, Maine, according to the National Weather Service. The agency said blizzard conditions may develop on Long Island by Jan. 3 as 45 mile-an-hour (72 kilometer-an-hour) winds reduce visibility and create “extreme cold impacts.”
There had been some disagreement over the intensity of the storm among computer models earlier in the week, Carolan said. A model popular in Europe called for a heavy snowfall, then backed away from that.
The high Jan. 3 in New York will be 16 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 9 Celsius), according to AccuWeather. Boston may not get above 14, while dropping below zero for the day’s low.
The European forecast models are “suggesting cold intensities in the Midwest to East Coast not seen for several years,” Matt Rogers, president of Commodity Weather Group in Bethesda, Maryland, said in a note to clients yesterday.