The first part of our storm has been working on the northern Mid-Atlantic all day today, and will likely continue into the overnight hours with more sleet and snow from Pittsburgh to Washington DC to Philadelphia. Even New York City is on the edge of the snow now. Total accumulations from this first part will range from 2″ to 5″ along the I-95 part of it, and over half a foot as you head westbound into parts of Maryland and south-central Pennsylvania. We wish we could tell you that after this moves through it’s all done, but unfortunately that’s when things are really just going to get started.
The second part of our storm (the main event) is already gaining steam over parts of the eastern Midwest states, and will continue to do so overnight and into the morning. As it does so precipitation will rapidly expand over Virginia, Maryland and parts of Pennsylvania, and soon after the east coast of the Mid-Atlantic. This rapid expansion will allow heavy snow to break out for millions across both parts of the country, and won’t be in much of a hurry to leave. Starting early tomorrow morning we anticipate moderate to heavy snow to be flying from the majority of Pennsylvania down through West Virginia, Maryland, Virginia, and then over into New Jersey, Southern New York and Connecticut. While the coast will struggle to see snow at first (eastern suburbs of Washington DC, the Delmarva, and southern New Jersey) as our storm rotates offshore, very cold air for this time of the year will seep southward and allow for a full transition. This should happen during the early and late afternoon as our storm begins to peak.
It’s around this time that the major I-95 cities from Washington DC to New York City will see the brunt of the storm, with bands of snow containing very heavy rates (between 1 and 3 inches per hour at times), gusty winds, and even some thundersnow as well. It’s likely that as we head into the evening and nighttime hours we see a deformation band of snow setup from Philadelphia to New York City and even into parts of southern New England. Our most recent data is suggesting that whoever gets stuck under this band will likely be in the sweet-spot for this storm, with as much as 6-12″+ accumulating.
Our updated snowfall map above (which is our final call) shows the swath of 6-12 inches extending all the way from south-central Pennsylvania and northern Maryland into southeastern Pennsylvania, central New Jersey, and extreme southern New York state. To the north of this swath there will be a very tight gradient for snowfall. All day we’ve been trying to figure out where exactly this will setup, and now we believe it will be across central Pennsylvania, extreme northern New Jersey and southern New England. That means that areas just 10-20 miles apart may see the difference between a foot of snow and just a few wet inches. Unfortunately the preciseness of which town sees what won’t be nailed down until during the actual event.
Wind is also a growing concern as we expect gusts that are currently developing to become even stronger and move northbound overnight. Places along the coastline from southern New Jersey to Boston will see the worst of the winds, with gusts between 45 and 60 mph possible during the peak of the storm.
Even outside of that region gusts above 35 mph will be possible from the Appalachian mountains through a large part of Pennsylvania and into New England. The only piece of good news with this is that the timing of the strongest winds and heaviest snows seem to be off from each other, so they are likely to only overlap for a shorter period.
Still, the combination of heavy wet snowfall, strong gusty winds, saturated grounds and weakened trees from previous storms will lead to additional significant problems. A large portion of both the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast will likely deal with power issues and tree damage. This will make travel extremely difficult to impossible for most of tomorrow, and could leave people without power for days. We do NOT advise traveling tomorrow, especially for areas who are forecasted to receive more than 6 inches of snow and wind gusts above 35 mph. Conditions will be dangerous.
The entire corridor from Pittsburgh to the Appalachians to Washington DC and the major I-95 corridor through Boston will be at risk for widespread power outages. While that doesn’t mean that your are guaranteed to lose power, it does mean that there is a rather high chance and that many homes and business around you will go dark at some point.
Even areas back towards the Midwestern states and up into New England could see power issues due to the nature of the heavy wet snow as well as the weakened trees from the past three systems that have moved by.
Our storm will finally begin to collapse and pull away from the region by Thursday morning, but again, it won’t be a fast mover. Even into the very early morning hours of Thursday these I-95 cities could still be seeing flakes. New England may even see flakes well into the afternoon and evening on Thursday, and parts of northern Maine could see snow showers into the overnight hours.
Our thoughts are that by mid-morning and afternoon on Thursday though, cleanup efforts can begin. And for those wondering if this is the last in this insane series of major storms.. We sure hope so. More updates tomorrow.