Late Winter Storm Threatens Heavy Snow for Northern New England

A late winter storm that has tied up air traffic along the East Coast is expected to bring another round of rain and sleet to the U.S. Northeast, snow to Boston and a big boost to New England ski areas today.

Boston may receive 4 to 7 inches (10 to 18 centimeters) with its northern and western suburbs getting 6 to 10 inches from a storm expected to strike the area and have a “significant impact” on this morning’s commute, according to the National Weather Service. More than a foot may fall in central Massachusetts, across Vermont, Maine and New Hampshire.

“As you head up closer to Boston there might be some more problems,” John Dlugoenski, a senior meteorologist at AccuWeather Inc. in State College, Pennsylvania, said yesterday. “The significant snow is going to be in New England. The ski areas are going to be excited.”

Winter storm warnings and advisories stretch from West Virginia to Maine and across the Upper Great Plains into the Great Lakes. Air traffic delays have been reported in Chicago, New York, Newark, New Jersey, and Philadelphia, the Federal Aviation Administration said.

Across New York City’s western and northern suburbs, 2 to 5 inches of snow and sleet may fall, with an additional coat of ice on top of that, according to the National Weather Service. The Adirondack Mountains in upstate New York may also receive 8 to 16 inches, Dan Hoffman, a meteorologist at the weather service’s office in Upton, New York, said by telephone late yesterday.

Flight Delays

As of 11:30 p.m. New York time yesterday, flights were delayed by no longer than 29 minutes Newark’s Liberty International airport, the FAA said on its website. Across the U.S., 580 flights had been canceled, 132 of them into or out of Chicago’s O’Hare, according to FlightAware, an airline tracking company in Houston.

Winter storm warnings and watches also have been posted across Manitoba, southern Ontario, Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Quebec, including Montreal, which is expected to receive 6 to 12 inches of snow, Environment Canada said yesterday. More than 19 inches may fall at higher elevations in the province’s eastern townships.

Light rain was falling in Washington and Philadelphia yesterday, according to the weather service. In New York, heavy snow was falling in Central Park and John F. Kennedy, LaGuardia and Newark International airports were seeing light snow as of 7:50 p.m. yesterday, Hoffman said.

The snow was expected to begin changing to rain in New York by about 9 p.m. yesterday, transitioning to all rain by 3 a.m. this morning, said Hoffman.

Larger Pattern

The precipitation was forecast to reach Boston between 11 p.m. yesterday to 1 a.m. today, Eleanor Vallier-Talbot, a meteorologist at the weather service’s office in Taunton, Massachusetts, said by telephone yesterday. It was expected to reach Maine by 7 a.m. today, according to Dlugoenski.

“It’s going to be a sharp line between nothing and a lot in eastern New England,” Dlugoenski said. “The I-95 corridor isn’t going to be impacted significantly.”

A larger weather pattern, called the negative phase of the North Atlantic Oscillation, is keeping cooler air bottled up in the Northeast while constantly bringing storms to the region, Tom Kines, a meteorologist with AccuWeather, said yesterday. Since the start of February, Boston has received more than 47 inches of snow, according to the weather service.

From Dec. 1 through January, about 8.5 inches fell. Kines said he believes the pattern will persist into April.

“Then it’s going to go right from winter to early summer, or at least that is my hope,” Kines said.

Temperatures in the eastern U.S. will probably remain about 5 degrees lower than normal through April 1, according to Matt Rogers, president of Commodity Weather Group LLC in Bethesda, Maryland.

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