For really the first time this winter, we have a massive storm bearing down on the eastern Seaboard. There is already a raft of winter storm warnings throughout the mid Atlantic and southern New England, as well as a blizzard warning for Long Island, and the coast of Connecticut to Staten Island. As always, most will note only the amount of snow that places will receive, but a blizzard classification encompasses the wind that will be associated with the system. This will not only be a lot of snow, but it will be a driving snow, one that will tie up travel across the eastern Seaboard, and by extension, across the country.
The thing is, this is a typically wound up Nor’easter that will rely heavily upon banding snow to drive up totals. This means a fairly sharp gradient for snow totals, and there will certainly be a spot along the east coast that gets less snow than was expected, because the heaviest snow will fall 5 miles in one direction. Don’t count on that if you are a resident of the region though, I just want to give a caveat before people start screaming about a bust if there is something slightly off exactly where someone is. Now, for the totals. Let’s look at the NYC Weather Service’s graphical output:
Here is the incredible probability map for over a foot of snow:
The forecast range for Central Park is 8″-21″, which should tell you about how dependent the results of this forecast will be on where the heaviest snow bands set up Here is a look at the peak of the storm coming Tuesday afternoon.
The difference between this system and the one in Minneapolis… or rather the one that missed Minneapolis earlier this month was that there weren’t warm Great Lakes feeding moisture to the back end of the system. That will guarantee that the storm won’t miss entirely on the northern end of the feature. If there is less snow than expected, it will be because warm Gulf Stream air infiltrated the feature. There is already some equivocation out in Montauk and the eastern end of Long Island, where snow totals might be significantly less than they are in Manhattan, or even less than what is in the forecast.
Make no mistake though, one way or another, the east coast is going to get pounded by a very rough system. There will be a great deal of snow, and a great deal of wind. It will bog down transportation across the region, make being outside dangerous, and will provide a significant wallop of snow somewhere along the coast, likely very near The Big Apple. Stay safe, and stay tuned to your local weather persons to get through this storm!