Winter to put up a fight in Northeast during final days of February
In a winter that hasn’t felt much like, well, winter, the weather forecast is about to get interesting. A series of weak storms may just be an appetizer to a bigger snowstorm this week.
A major winter storm will bring travel-disrupting snow and ice to the Northeast in what forecasters say could be the biggest storm of the season for parts of the region.
After two weak storm systems clipped the Northeast this past weekend, AccuWeather forecasters warn that a larger, more impactful system is on the way, and will begin impacting the region late Monday. A second major storm is slated to arrive at the end of the week.
A significant storm, which contains the energy from the powerful storm that unloaded inches of rain and feet of snow on Southern California into Saturday, will arrive in the region early this week, AccuWeather Meteorologist Bill Deger said.
There is a high risk of significant travel disruptions from New York and northern Pennsylvania to much of New England from later Monday to Tuesday, where all or mostly snow and ice is likely from the storm.
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"This is likely to be the biggest storm of the season to date for much of the Northeast, including New York City," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist and New England native Joe Lundberg said.
From 6 to 12 inches of snow could be unleashed from the storm should it develop to its full potential. This would be most likely to occur in a large part of Vermont and New Hampshire, but also in much of western Massachusetts, northwestern Connecticut, southern and central Maine and in portions of eastern New York state, where temperatures will remain solidly below freezing through the duration of the event.
"The potent storm will bring plenty of moisture but will also have some warmer air with it, so it appears to be another rain event for Washington, D.C., Baltimore and Philadelphia," Deger said. "The New York City area, as well as along the southeastern coast of New England, will be closer to the interface between the cold and warmer air, so a wintry mix is more likely to occur there."
In the New York City area itself may see a sharp contrast in totals, ranging from an inch or less south of the city to 3 inches or more in the Bronx, as well as in much of northern New Jersey and western Connecticut. The key to the exact amount New York's five boroughs will be whether or not warming winds kick in from the ocean or cold winds from the Hudson Valley dominate at the height of the storm. The latter would result in several inches of snow, while the former would mean a quick change to rain or more of a wintry mix.
It would not take much for the Big Apple to end up with its biggest snowfall of the season so far. New York's Central Park has only picked up 0.4 of an inch of snow all winter, and all of that fell on Feb. 1. A few non-measurable amounts of snow have occurred throughout the season. The historical average snowfall for this point of the season is about 24 inches.
Just south of where the heaviest snow will fall, a wintry mix will bring enough accumulation to make roads slippery for a time from central Minnesota to portions of central and northeastern Pennsylvania, western and central New York and northern New Jersey.
The snow and icy mix will add insult to injury in Michigan, where many homes and businesses were still without power in the wake of last week's snow and ice storm. As of Monday morning, more than 130,000 utility customers were still in the dark, according to poweroutage.us.
Even where plain rain falls from the storm, enough adverse conditions can lead to slow highway travel, significant airline delays and perhaps flight cancellations in the major northeastern U.S. hubs.
The same storm will bring rain to Chicago in the Midwest, but severe thunderstorms may not be far to the southeast on Monday. Violent thunderstorms are likely from parts of the central and southern Plains to a portion of the Mississippi Valley from Sunday to Monday. Meanwhile, an icy mix is in store for Detroit on Monday, especially the northern suburbs.
"With over 100,000 people still without power due to last week's ice storm in Michigan, any additional wintry weather will be even more impactful than normal," AccuWeather Meteorologist Andrew Johnson-Levine explained.
Rain and a wintry mix are in the offing for Minneapolis, which just missed a single-storm February snowfall record from earlier this week. The storm from Tuesday to Thursday brought 13.4 inches of snow, making it the second-biggest February snowstorm on record. The record for February snowstorms stands at 13.8 inches, which occurred on Feb. 20-21, 2011.
Fog could be a widespread problem at the major hubs of the Midwest as mild air, moisture and cold ground create ideal conditions.
Yet another storm will likely roll along during the latter half of the week. That storm will follow a midweek system that will produce a patch of snow over parts of the northern Plains and the Upper Midwest, as well as a bit of snow and wintry mix over the northern tier of the Northeast from Wednesday night to Thursday.
The storm late this week is likely to bring a substantial amount of snow and ice from the Midwest to the Northeast on its northern edge, while severe weather rumbles across the Southern states and drenching rain soaks areas in between. AccuWeather meteorologists say the latest forecasting data suggests that rain will be the primary form of precipitation from Washington, D.C., to New York City. However, a more southern shift in the storm track could bring more wintry precipitation farther to the south in the mid-Atlantic and in southern New England.
AccuWeather's long-range team of meteorologists warned of a late or lingering winter for parts of the U.S. in its spring forecast released on Feb. 1.
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