Snow Heading for New Hampshire Just in Time for Tuesday's Vote

  • `Thundersnow' strikes New York Friday, fouls Boston commute
  • Forecasters watch for a potential East Coast storm next week

Something creeping up the East Coast next week could mean a trudge through the snow for New Hampshire primary voters. How much snow is still anyone’s guess.

Before then, though, Boston may get a foot (30 centimeters) of snow Friday, while New York got about 2.5 inches in Central Park, according to the National Weather Service. The storm, which has grown in strength in New England, is forecast to start tapering off about 5 p.m.

As of 2 p.m., 627 flights into and around the U.S. had been canceled with the majority of those in New York and Boston, said FlightAware, a Houston-based airline tracking company.

“New York City has been pretty fascinating this morning, they actually reported thundersnow,” said Steve LaVoie, a meteorologist with Hometown Forecast Services Inc. in Nashua, New Hampshire. “It is a very tricky snow storm but definitely a fascinating one.” 

One of the elements that added difficulty to the forecast was that temperatures in Boston and New York hovered in the 50s Fahrenheit (10s Celsius) most of the day Thursday, reminding Rob Carolan, a meteorologist at Hometown, more of March or April than of early February on the East Coast.

Heavy snow will make travel hazardous and could cause power outages, according to the National Weather Service. Schools have been closed in Boston and across southern New England.

A storm system slid up the East Coast and dragged cold air in to bring on a wintry mix and snow to the Northeast through Friday. Winter storm warnings and advisories cover New England into the Canadian provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. Previously they stretched as far south as Virginia.

Messy Commute

While commuters in Boston slip and slide their way home from work, a larger question looms: What about next week?

“I’d go more with Tuesday because that is the day of the New Hampshire primary,” Carolan said, joking that a storm then would have a greater chance to tie things up for candidates in the U.S. presidential contest.

Whether that system turns out to be large or small will depend on the path it takes, said Tom Kines, a meteorologist with AccuWeather Inc. in State College, Pennsylvania. If it hugs the coast, then the chances of a bad storm go up; if it drifts out to sea, the storm will be soon forgotten.

Computer forecast models, which are subject to change, have dueling scenarios, Carolan said. Low-pressure systems along the East Coast could have significantly more cold air to fuel them next week than Friday’s storm.

Moving East

Right now, the system that may help spawn this creature is coming ashore on the West Coast, Kines said.

“Regardless of how much snow it puts down, it puts us into a colder weather pattern for a time,” he said.

Temperatures from the Midwest to Florida will drop through next week. Chicago, for instance, may have its daily average temperature fall 9 degrees below normal on Wednesday, according to MDA Weather Services in Gaithersburg, Maryland. Atlanta may take a 15-degree hit.

While the cold might not have staying power, “there is definitely a pattern change taking place,” Carolan said.

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