Blizzard of 2015 to Bring NYC to a Standstill Tuesday
By By Kristina Pydynowski, senior meteorologist
January 28, 2015, 5:08:44 AM EST
New York City is bracing for a major blizzard that will bring the city to a standstill and put motorists at risk of being stranded Monday night through Tuesday.
Conditions will rapidly deteriorate through Monday night as the blizzard unfolds and continues to unleash heavy and wind-swept snow into Tuesday. If possible, travel should be avoided during this time.
For the latest information on travel bans, flight cancellations and other impacts, continue to follow AccuWeather.com's live blog for updated reports throughout the storm.
By the time the storm winds down Tuesday night, more than a foot of snow will bury the city and its suburbs. Snow totals will even exceed 2 feet across Long Island, including Islip.
Snowfall rates could reach 4 inches per hour during the height of the blizzard. It is during these extremely heavy snow bands that thunder could be heard.
A foot or more of snow alone could bring the city to a standstill, but winds gusting between 40 and 50 mph will only worsen the situation and severely heighten hazards for residents and travelers. The winds will whip the snow into drifts that could measure 5 to 8 feet.
The strong winds can also bring down trees and power lines, leading to power outages and posing hazards for residents who venture outdoors. Coastal flooding may ensue as the winds drive the ocean water onshore. That is especially true during high tide.
Motorists traveling at the height of the storm run the risk of becoming stranded as visibility drops to zero and roads rapidly become clogged and snow-packed. Officials will likely be forced to close lengthy stretches of area interstates and highways.
"Anyone stranded will face life-threatening conditions unless they have an emergency survival kit. Rescuers may not be able to reach them," stated AccuWeather.com Chief Meteorologist Elliot Abrams.
The worst of the storm will rage from later Monday night through Tuesday morning.
Flight cancellations are mounting and there is a high chance of the city's airports closing on Tuesday. The resultant ripple effect could lead to delays and cancellations at other airports across the United States.
Even after the worst of the storm has passed, it could take days for power to be restored, air traffic to return to normal, roads to be fully geared and schools to get back in session.
Snow-covered roads and tree damage can lengthen any power outages as it will take utility vehicles longer to reach the source of the outage and correct the problem.
Residents and crews will also have to contend with fresh cold in the wake of the blizzard. Temperatures will struggle to climb to the 30-degree mark on Wednesday with AccuWeather.com RealFeel® temperatures mainly in the teens.
Even more snow is then in the forecast later in the week.
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