Get AccuWeather alerts right in your browser!
Enable Notifications

How Did East Coast Blizzard of 2015 Play Out?

By By Alex Sosnowski, senior meteorologist.
February 01, 2015, 6:12:40 AM EST


As it became obvious on Saturday that a major blizzard was going to hit the Northeast, the track and size of the storm became critical as to which areas would be hit the hardest.

The Blizzard of 2015 has hit with all its fury in central and eastern Long Island to southern and eastern New England. The storm that started off as a moisture-starved Alberta Clipper has caused major disruptions.

LIVE: Blizzard Rages on From Boston to Portland, Maine
Track the Blizzard on AccuWeather's Interactive Weather Radar
AccuWeather Winter Weather Center

Much of Long Island and southern and eastern New England was buried under 12-24 inches of snow. Localized snowfall amounts approached 3 feet in New England.

This storm brought the greatest snowfall on record to Worcester, Massachusetts, with 34.5 inches. Prior to the Blizzard of 2015, the biggest single-storm snowfall was 33 inches set during March 31-April 1, 1997.

Blizzard conditions occurred for approximately nine hours in Boston, where 24.6 inches of snow fell. The Blizzard of 2015 now ranks as number six on the list of greatest snowstorms on record for Boston. The greatest single-storm snowfall was during Feb. 17-18, 2003, when 27.6 inches fell.

Approximately 9.8 inches fell on New York City's Central Park with 11.4 inches at LaGuardia Airport.

Much less snow fell in the Philadelphia area. The storm delivered 1-2 inches to the city.


So, what caused the storm to drop less snow along the I-95 corridor in the mid-Atlantic from Philadelphia to New York City?

According to Chief Meteorologist Elliot Abrams, "The storm was more compact than we thought it would get. As a result, the back edge of the heavy snow and strong winds were farther to the east."

Once the storm hit the Atlantic Ocean on Monday, it began to strengthen tremendously and move steadily northeastward, rather than stall. The storm also began to track a few dozen miles farther east than speculated on Sunday.

Had the storm swelled larger by 50 miles farther west, blizzard conditions would have reached New York City, and a heavy snow accumulation would have edged into the Philadelphia area.

Because of the storm's compact size, relatively speaking, the heavy wet snow was limited to extreme southeastern New England.

"Dry, powdery snow and moderate wind have spared the New York City area to central New England massive power outages," Abrams said. "However, the snow has been wet and clinging, combined with high winds, in southeastern Massachusetts and has caused numerous power outages."

Storm surge flooding and pounding waves caused major flooding and considerable property damage along the seacoast in Massachusetts. Offshore waves reached 30 feet during the storm.

Report a Typo


Comments that don't add to the conversation may be automatically or manually removed by Facebook or AccuWeather. Profanity, personal attacks, and spam will not be tolerated.

More Weather News