Winter storm brings heavy snow to Mid-Atlantic, Northeast

At least 17.2 inches of snow fell in New York City’s Central Park, with the possibility of an inch or two of additional snowfall on Tuesday. This put this storm just shy of the city’s top 10 list of all-time heaviest snowstorms.

Eight inches fell in the city in just six hours, as visibility dropped to near zero at times. Blizzard conditions occurred in portions of Long Island, due to the combination of strong winds and intense snowfall rates.

Montague, N.J. picked up more than twice that, with 33.2 inches. Newton, N.J., was not far behind, at 32 inches. Nazareth, Pa., also eclipsed 30 inches, with more snow to come on Tuesday. Harrison, N.Y., has 24.5 inches so far, Danbury, Conn., has 19 inches, and Sabillasville, Md., near the Pennsylvania border, records 19 inches.

An additional one to three inches of snow are expected to fall in New Jersey on Tuesday, while Washington, D.C., also is seeing snow showers add up to about two inches.

Some of the heaviest snow will fall Tuesday in northern New England, including Maine, where one to two feet is forecast.

The storm’s reach is unusually extensive, with snow from the same system falling in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday morning. At one point, snow was falling from Tennessee to New Hampshire.

While snow reached two feet in parts of Massachusetts, coastal areas saw a slushy mix of rain and snow, with Boston picking up just 1.2 inches, as the powerful nor’easter drew in mild air from the Atlantic Ocean.

Storm surge flooding is still a threat on Tuesday in coastal New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts, with strong winds blowing toward the land from the sea. Both Boston and New York City saw significant coastal inundation on Monday at times of high tide.

As sea levels rise, coastal storms like this one are becoming more damaging, since they are able to produce higher water levels along the shore.

However, this storm did not produce a storm surge of sufficient height to make it on the top 10 list of high water marks in New York. This was due to the difference between how northeasterly winds pile up water at the south tip of Manhattan, as was the case Monday, versus east winds, which occurred during Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

“Sandy was 13.8 feet at the Battery. Last night was just under 8 feet… 7.79 [feet]. That’s not even in the top ten recent crests. You’re not even talking top 10 or top 13 from what I can tell,” said David Stark, a meteorologist at the Weather Service in Upton, New York.

“I think this is a more run-of-mill nor’easter type water level. Similar to common nor’easters,” Stark said.

Hundreds of flights in and out of New York City were canceled Monday, with more cancellations spreading into Tuesday. Crews at La Guardia Airport were clearing snow from runways on Tuesday morning so the airport could reopen, with 85 flight cancellations so far. Travel in New York City was rated as “difficult to near impossible” through Monday afternoon, the National Weather Service reported. La Guardia and JFK International Airport both shut down operations completely on Monday.

Due to the rapidly accumulating snow, New York shut its outdoor subway service on Monday, operating trains only at underground stops. Public transit was also curtailed in New Jersey, where a state of emergency is in effect on Tuesday. New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (D) declared a state of emergency in 44 counties.

The sprawling, slow-moving storm is also causing strong winds, with a gust to 71 mph recorded in Wellfleet, Mass., on Monday.

In Connecticut, Gov. Ned Lamont (D) said the storm delayed the appointment of several thousand coronavirus shots, as well as a planned weekly resupply of vaccines. In New Jersey, large state-run vaccine sites were closed into Tuesday.

According to the Associated Press, as of Monday evening, the New Jersey state police had responded to 661 crashes, and aided 1,050 motorists since the snow began on Sunday evening.

The swirling storm responsible for this winter weather is expected to slowly lumber away from the East Coast through midweek. Forecasters are already eyeing the possibility of another nor’easter for this weekend, however.

Reporting from the Associated Press was used in this story. Matthew Cappucci contributed to this story.

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