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The first days of spring featured a major winter storm to the northeastern United States, bringing travel to a halt and leading to widespread school cancellations across the region.
This was the fourth nor’easter to hit the region this March, spreading snow across a large area spanning from Kentucky through Massachusetts.
Over 5,000 flight cancellations and hundreds of vehicle accidents were reported on Wednesday as snow snarled travel across the Northeast.
"As AccuWeather predicted in its long-range winter forecasts back in October, March has proven to be an active month with this being the fourth powerful Nor’easter in a month. Flight cancellations, transportation delays and damage to personal property from falling trees and power lines made this yet another high-impact economic disruption," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist and Long-Range Forecaster David Samuhel said.
Although major snowstorms are not uncommon in late March, it can be difficult for snow to accumulate during the daytime hours in cities such as Philadelphia and New York City.
"The tilt of the earth as it orbits around the sun causes the rays of the sun to strike the Northern Hemisphere at a higher and higher angle through the spring. These more direct rays warm the ground and the lower atmosphere," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski said.
"As a result, it must snow at a heavier rate to accumulate during the daytime compared to the nighttime or compared to the middle of January," Sosnowski said.
However, the midweek nor'easter was strong enough to overcome the spring sun angle, allowing for major cities to pick up disruptive accumulations, as accurately predicted by AccuWeather.
Snowfall totals through 1am:— NWS New York NY (@NWSNewYorkNY) March 22, 2018
Islip 14.0" (measured at midnight)
Central Park 8.2"
Additional snowfall reports are available at https://t.co/fX6AzODHnz.
In Central Park, 8.2 inches of snow accumulated on Wednesday, breaking the old record of 7.1 set in 1958. The three major New York City area airports received record-breaking amounts of snow as well, with 8.7 inches at LaGuardia (old record: 6.9 inches from 1958); 8.4 inches at Kennedy Airport (old record: 0.8 inches in 1993) and 7.9 inches in Newark, New Jersey (old record: 5.3 in 1958).
Records were also shattered in Philadelphia, Harrisburg and Allentown, Pennsylvania; at Washington-Dulles Airport in Washington, D.C. and in Islip, New York.
Washington, D.C. received 4 inches of snow before the snow tapered off on Wednesday afternoon. This was more than the 3.7 inches of snow that the city received all winter before the nor'easter.
Farther north, Lancaster, Pennsylvania, received over 10 inches of snow, making Wednesday the snowiest spring day on record for the town.
Meanwhile, the double barreled storm led to a long-duration snowfall farther inland, resulting in higher snowfall amounts.
Accumulations over a foot were common in the Appalachian Mountains from Virginia to central Pennsylvania, including 15 inches in Sabillasville, Maryland, and 19 inches near Windber, Pennsylvania.
Snow to interrupt first weekend of spring in Appalachians, mid-Atlantic
Freeze-up to create patches of dangerous ice for days in wake of spring nor'easter
Why it’s not unusual to see such frequent nor’easters this time of year
Why spring snow doesn't pile up on roads but can yield other hidden dangers
Damage from the last storm still evident in Whippany. Flakes small, but snow is intensifying. Just a light, sandy coating on Rtes 10, 287 and 24 north of Madison. #Noreaster4. @wcbs880 pic.twitter.com/3u2nAjgnGZ— Peter Haskell (@peterhaskell880) March 21, 2018
The fourth major nor’easter of March continues to make its way through the Atlantic City Electric service area. We ask customers to let us know if they lose their power. To report an outage or downed wire, call 1-800-833-7476. pic.twitter.com/D2SUHX59vk— Atlantic City Electric (@ACElecConnect) March 21, 2018
SNOW TOTALS: getting lots of totals in Chester, Montgo, and Bucks counties closing in on 10" and another 6+ hours of snow to go. Giddy up folks. This storm is not disappointing us pic.twitter.com/VievsaLsXG— Adam Joseph (@6abcadamjoseph) March 21, 2018
Times Square, New York City in a snowstorm pic.twitter.com/VDOIaZmpeE— Vivienne Gucwa (@travelinglens) March 21, 2018
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A sweep of cooler air in the central United States will be preceded by disruptive downpours and locally severe thunderstorms into the start of the new week.
As the Indonesian island of Lombok continues to recover from the devastating earthquake earlier this month, two more powerful tremors jolted the island in a span of less than 12 hours to end the weekend.
The northeastern United States will be treated to an even stronger push of refreshing air later this week but not before drenching thunderstorms ramp back up across the region by midweek.
Typhoon Soulik will not be the only tropical system to bring impacts to Japan this week as Cimaron strengthens and threatens the country later in the week.
Despite weakening and taking a track south of the Big Island, Major Hurricane Lane will still stir dangerous seas across the Hawaiian Islands this week.
Some relief will come to the hard-hit Indian state of Kerala, where thousands have been rescued from the deadly flooding.
A man was struck and killed by lightning in Kings Park on Long Island, New York, on Saturday evening.
As near-record heat ramps up in the northwestern United States into midweek, wildfire and poor air quality concerns will also mount.