Snowstorm Expected to Bring Heavy Snow and Snarl Travel
Winter storm warnings were in place for a large swath of the Eastern United States on Sunday, from northwestern North Carolina to New York, with as much as two feet of snow and dangerous travel conditions expected in some places into Tuesday, forecasters said.
The storm brought more than six feet of snow and heavy rain to California last week before moving through the Midwest, leaving about eight inches of snow in Chicago, the National Weather Service said. More snow was expected in the Midwest on Sunday.
“It’s pushing eastward and it’s starting to snow into the Mid-Atlantic up into the Northeast, and we do anticipate a pretty broad area of potentially heavy snows,” said Bob Oravec, a lead forecaster with the National Weather Service who is based in Baltimore.
Snow was expected in major metropolitan areas, from Washington, D.C., to Philadelphia, New York City and Boston, as well inland across northeastern Pennsylvania, upstate New York and most of New England, Mr. Oravec said.
The heaviest snow would likely fall in northeastern Pennsylvania and northwestern New Jersey, he said.
“Anytime you have a storm that moves across those areas, you typically have your usual high impacts — especially with travel, both car and airline,” he said.
Heavy snow was expected to develop from Pennsylvania to Massachusetts on Sunday evening into Monday, with 12 to 18 inches of snow possible in some areas, before continuing through Maine on Tuesday. It began to snow in Philadelphia early Sunday afternoon and snow was expected to begin falling in New York City on Sunday evening, the National Weather Service said.
It is a “relatively slow-moving storm,” Mr. Oravec said, but the expected snowfall is average for a winter storm this time of year.
Travel along and west of the Interstate 95 corridor from Pennsylvania to Maine would likely be affected, the National Weather Service said. The Winter Storm Severity Index anticipated that the storm could have “minor” to “extreme impacts” along its path.
At least 128 flights were canceled at Chicago O’Hare International Airport, according to the Chicago Department of Aviation, and the Federal Aviation Administration reported delays at the airport that averaged more than three hours. Philadelphia International Airport was also experiencing delays from the snow and ice, according to the agency.
In New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio said in-person schools would be closed on Monday because of the snowstorm. He also announced that coronavirus vaccination appointments on Monday would be rescheduled.
“This is not a storm to underestimate,” Mr. de Blasio said on Sunday. “Take it seriously. This is a dangerous storm.”
Heavy snow could also hit Long Island and the Lower Hudson Valley, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said, and there could be some flooding in low-lying areas along the coast. Mr. Cuomo said the state had more than 1,600 snow plows, among other vehicles, on hand to deal with the snowfall.
“If you don’t have to travel, plan not to travel tomorrow,” he said.
The Hardware Store in Sparta, N.J., has been “inundated” with customers preparing for the storm, said Bob Barnes, one of the store’s owners. The store has nearly sold out of ice melt and sold about a half-dozen snow blowers on Saturday and several more on Sunday, Mr. Barnes said, in addition to shovels.
“Parking lot’s been jammed, triple parked,” he said. “Typically when we get a big storm, people panic. People wait until the last minute. Particularly in today’s economy, they don’t want to spend a lot of money until it happens.”
A warning issued for the Washington metropolitan area and Baltimore predicted up to nine inches of snow in some places. The expected snowfall would break 709 days without more than an inch of snow recorded at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, Mr. Oravec said.
In Pennsylvania, forecasters said travel could be impossible and predicted 11 to 15 inches of snow in places. Some areas in central, northern and northwestern New Jersey and southeastern Pennsylvania could receive up to 18 inches of snow, with winds of up to 35 m.p.h.
Ted Kalinowski, president of NEPA Snow Plowing, which offers snow removal services mostly for commercial properties in five counties in northeastern Pennsylvania, said his phone had been ringing nearly nonstop with last-minute requests.
“With a storm of this magnitude we could probably be out there for a week straight, especially since it’s going to snow for three days,” he said.
Freezing rain was also likely in North Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia, the National Weather Service said.
Mihir Zaveri contributed reporting.