Blizzard Blasts Long Island, Brushes NYC

By , Expert Senior Meteorologist
February 9, 2013; 6:28 AM ET
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Play video Blinding snow, wind gusts between 50-70 mph and travel shutdowns-- Bernie Rayno has the latest on the New England blizzard.

New York City is on the edge of a blizzard that will hit central and coastal New England and Long Island especially hard Friday night.

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The storm will bring enough snow to shovel and plow, as well as a period of high winds from central New Jersey to the lower Hudson Valley.

Even though the area from central New Jersey to southeastern New York state may not be in the epicenter of this storm, enough snow will fall to cause major travel problems and winds can be strong enough for a time to cause downed tree limbs, power outages and extensive blowing and drifting of the snow.

As two storms, an Alberta Clipper from the west and a storm from the South, merge there could be more than a manageable amount of snow in New York City, southwestern Connecticut and Long Island.

Bands of heavy snow and lesser snow will form west of the main blizzard from well west of I-91 in Connecticut to just east of I-81 in northeastern Pennsylvania with I-87 in the middle. Much of central and southern New England and Long Island will still be clobbered by a solid 1 to 2 feet of snow with locally higher amounts.

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Without a blocking area of high pressure over the Greenland, this storm will keep moving along.

The heaviest snow is likely Friday evening into the wee hours of Saturday morning around New York City. Over Long Island and western Connecticut heavy snow will last through much of the nighttime hours.

As expected, warm air was an issue in the New York City metropolitan area and Long Island causing part of the storm to be rain, a wintry mix or some of the snow to melt as it falls on roads during the first part of the storm. However, intense snowfall rates Friday night will overcome this especially east of New York City.

A change to all snow with snow covered roads are likely Friday evening. Road conditions will rapidly deteriorate.

Low cloud ceilings and increasing winds during Friday may lead to building flight delays and cancellations even before the heavy snow hits.

Just as there is the possibility of the storm strengthening rapidly to bring heavy snow to New York City, there is also the chance the storms stay separate long enough so that little precipitation falls. AccuWeather.com meteorologists are meeting the odds in the middle, projecting 6 to 12 inches of snow in New York City on west, preceded by rain or a wintry mix during much of the day Friday. From 1 to 2 feet of snow will fall east of New York City.

The strongest winds will be blowing offshore as the storm strengthens. However, there will be minor to moderate coastal flooding problems along the north shore of Long Island with average water levels running 2 to 3 feet above published values. There will be some wave action on top of this of course. Minor coastal flooding is possible for a brief time around Seaside Heights, N.J. Friday evening. In the Raritan Bay area water levels will be between 1 and 2 feet above published values.

The greatest risk of coastal flooding from the storm is along the east coast of New England (from Cape Cod to Boston) Friday night and midday Saturday. The high tide cycle Friday evening is likely to be the most troublesome for northern Long Island. That high tide is within a couple of days of the new moon, which is early Sunday morning.

Across upstate New York and part of southern Ontario, moderate snow will fall from a substantial Alberta Clipper cruising in from the Midwest Friday into Friday night.

Enough snow to shovel and plow is likely over much of this area which can reach as far south as parts of western and northern Pennsylvania into the higher elevations of West Virginia and western Maryland.

A brief shot of blustery, seasonably cold conditions are in store for Saturday in the wake of the storm. Temperatures will moderate Sunday, setting the stage for the next storm system Monday to bring mostly rain to the region with a wintry mix over northern upstate New York and northern New England.

The atmosphere is in the process of building a pipeline of storms for the eastern part of the nation during the balance of February. Most will bring rain to the mid-Atlantic coast, but some could bring snow. Details will follow as the time draws nearer.

This story was originally published at 11:00 a.m. EST, on Wed., Feb. 6, 2013, and has been updated.

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