A winter storm that has caused at least 2,000 US flights to be scrubbed has triggered a blizzard warning in New York City and may drop more than 2 feet of snow on Boston, leaving thousands without power.
Snow will start falling early today in New York, where the blizzard warning begins at 6 a.m., before changing to rain or sleet. The storm may bring 30 centimeters of snow driven by gusts of 72 kilometers per hour as it lashes the city, Joe Pollina, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Upton, New York, said yesterday.
“We’re taking this storm very seriously and you should take this storm very seriously,” Jerome Hauer, commissioner of New York’s division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services, said yesterday. “This is a dangerous storm with a lot of blowing snow, and very significant winds that will make travel Friday night into Saturday almost impossible.”
The snow will probably spread through Connecticut and Rhode Island by midmorning and reach Boston by early afternoon, Carl Erickson, an expert senior meteorologist with AccuWeather Inc. in State College, Pennsylvania, said yesterday. The snow isn’t expected to change to rain in the New England states, which is why the accumulations will be higher, he said.
National Grid Plc forecasts that more than 100,000 customers on Long Island will lose power, according to a statement on the Long Island Power Authority’s website.
“What we’re looking for in and around New York City is on average about a foot,” Pollina said. “Southern portions of the city, like Staten Island, may get 9 inches to a foot.”
New York-Maine corridor will be covered with snow
Erickson said the entire Interstate 95 corridor from New York to Maine will be covered with snow by tonight.
Blizzard warnings stretch from Maine to New Jersey, and winter storm warnings and advisories reach south to West Virginia and west to Wisconsin. New York City’s blizzard warning is scheduled to end at 1 p.m. tomorrow.
The forecast nor’easter is the product of two low-pressure systems forecast to merge off the coast of the U.S. and combine with arctic air pumped in via the jet stream.
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg issued a severe weather advisory late yesterday, suspending alternate side parking citywide through the weekend. The Staten Island Ferry will run on a modified schedule beginning this afternoon in anticipation of high winds, according to the advisory.
In Boston, Mayor Thomas Menino canceled school across the city of 625,087 today and asked people to work at home.
“We have a significant storm heading this way,” Menino said at a city hall news conference. “Stay home, stay off the streets.”
The Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority, which runs the city’s buses, commuter rail and subways, will close at 3:30 p.m. today, according to Governor Deval Patrick. Amtrak will end rail service out of Boston at 1:40 p.m.
“I am telling people to get where you’ve got to go around noon on Friday because from there after, everything goes downhill,” Alan Dunham, a weather service meteorologist in Taunton, Massachusetts, said yesterday. “The potential is there for this to be a historic winter storm for southern New England.”
Patrick has said he may order the state’s roads closed to make sure people stay off them.
Rhode Island Governor Lincoln D. Chafee dismissed nonessential state employees from work today with the permission of their supervisors.
More than 24 inches of snow are expected in Boston and Providence, Rhode Island, according to the weather service.
“For Boston, this is going to be a top-five storm, this could come in at No. 3 all-time in records going back to the 1880s,” Rob Carolan, owner and meteorologist of Hometown Forecast Services in Nashua, New Hampshire, said yesterday. “Boston usually doesn’t see two feet of snow and it has a good chance of doing it this time around.”