Forecasters Watch for Next Storm as Northeast Digs Out

U.S. forecasters are gauging the possibility of a winter storm arriving this weekend in the Northeast, which is still clearing snow from two systems earlier this week.

Two storms will move in off the Pacific in the next two days and make their way across the country, bringing snow to Chicago on Feb. 8 and possibly to New York and Boston the next day, said Bob Smerbeck, a senior meteorologist at AccuWeather Inc. in State College, Pennsylvania. The storm that emerges from these systems will probably be weak.

“We have a chance of snow right now, but we don’t have any accumulations,” Smerbeck said by phone. “The chance of snow is legitimate for the Northeast.”

Storms yesterday and Feb. 3 forced airlines to cut 6,564 flights around the U.S., said FlightAware, a Houston-based flight tracker.

A total of 10.6 inches (27 centimeters) of snow fell yesterday at Boston’s Logan International Airport, according to the National Weather Service. Four inches of snow was reported in New York’s Central Park, with a quarter-inch of ice on top of that. Downed power lines blacked out homes and businesses, and 426,000 customers were still without electricity in the Philadelphia area today, said Exelon Corp.’s Peco utility.

The weather service is predicting a 50 percent chance of snow on Feb. 9.

Clearer Idea

Smerbeck said forecasters may have to wait until tomorrow to get a clearer idea of what this weekend will mean to the Midwest and the Northeast. Rob Carolan, founder of Hometown Forecast Services Inc. in Nashua, New Hampshire, said he’ll also make his prediction tomorrow.

By that time, the two systems that will make up the pattern will have come ashore from the Pacific. Carolan’s current outlook is for light rain and perhaps light snow from New York to Boston for Feb. 9 and Feb. 10.

The storms aren’t the kind that typically expand into powerful systems, Smerbeck said. They’re known as flat waves and tend to move with the jet stream without gathering too much power, he said. The jet stream is made of ribbons of strong winds that propel weather systems around the globe.

There’s a chance the storm won’t gather any strength at all until it has moved off the continental U.S. and over the Atlantic, Smerbeck said. Nova Scotia would then bear the brunt, while New England might get some snow from the storm’s tail.