Snow and ice will probably coat the East Coast from Washington to New York later today, snarling rail and road traffic for commuters tomorrow and disrupting air travel throughout the region.
New York City is under a winter weather advisory and may get as much as six inches (15 centimeters) of snow by tomorrow, with Philadelphia picking up 6 to 8 inches, and Baltimore and Washington as much as 10 inches atop a coating of ice, according to the National Weather Service.
“It doesn’t look as bad for New York as it did a day or two ago,” said Joey Picca, a weather service meteorologist in Upton, New York. “It still doesn’t look like a good commute Monday morning.”
The storm is forecast to bring ice to Dallas and snow from Kansas City, Missouri, to Indianapolis before arriving on the East Coast later today. Nationwide, 3,103 flights are already canceled through tomorrow as of 3 p.m. New York time today, said FlightAware, a Houston-based airline tracking service.
The majority of trips scrubbed today were out of Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport and Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, the company said.
“Monday morning’s commute will be particularly difficult,” the weather service said in a winter storm watch issued last night covering an area from southern New Jersey to eastern Pennsylvania.
The forecast may change as the day goes on, said Carl Erickson, a senior meteorologist with AccuWeather Inc. in State College, Pennsylvania.
“It is still a fluid situation,” Erickson said.
Erickson said he believes the area from just north of Washington through Wilmington, Delaware, to Philadelphia may bear the brunt of the storm. As much as 12 inches of snow could fall in that area, which is more than current weather service forecasts show.
“From Washington to Philadelphia, right between those two cities is where you will be closer to a foot,” he said by telephone.
The U.S. House of Representatives delayed votes scheduled for tomorrow until March 4, according to an e-mail sent from the office of the majority leader.
Amtrak said it will operate a modified snow schedule tomorrow, which will result in fewer trains available on Acela Express and Northeast regional service. New Jersey Transit said it plans to offer regular weekday service tomorrow, and warned of cancellations and delays because of the weather.
Public Service Enterprise Group Inc., owner of New Jersey’s largest utility, was arranging for tree trimmers and other contractors to supplement its own repair crews, the company said in a statement.
Erickson said the storm is expected to move straight across the U.S. without any swing to the northeast when it hits the Atlantic, which will spare Boston and much of New England from heavy snow.
“It isn’t one of your classic winter storms,” he said. “It isn’t even a strong storm.”
Boston is forecast to get as much as two inches of snow because it will be on the northern edge, said Frank Nocera, a weather service meteorologist in Taunton, Massachusetts. Cape Cod and southern New England may get as much as four inches.
Chicago, also on the northern fringe, may receive some snow showers tomorrow, according to the weather service.
To the south, the area from Dallas through Little Rock, Arkansas, to Memphis was expected to pick up a coating of ice, Erickson said.
The weather service issued winter storm warnings, watches and advisories from New Mexico to New Jersey, meaning snow and ice were possible in those areas.
Ice storm warnings were posted for parts of Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Missouri, Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee and Mississippi, alerting people that power outages might happen and travel may become impossible on untreated roads.