Unwelcome Nor’easter Poised to Snarl Wednesday Travel
By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:44 PM GMT on November 25, 2014
After basking in record warm temperatures in the 60s and 70s on Monday, the Northeast U.S. is bracing for a Wednesday winter onslaught, as a significant Nor’easter will bring heavy snows to the roads at the same time that millions of people hit the roads in advance of the Thanksgiving holiday. The unwelcome storm will form off the coast of South Carolina Tuesday night and track north-northeastward, parallel to the coast, on Wednesday. Snow will begin in the Southern Appalachians late Tuesday night and spread northeastwards on Wednesday. Areas to the east of the I-95 corridor will start off with heavy rain, but the rain will transition to wet, heavy snow on Wednesday afternoon as cold air spills southwards along the coast. Little or no accumulation is likely in Washington D.C., which hit a pleasant 74°F on Monday. The story is different, though, in Philadelphia, where a Winter Storm Watch for 2 – 3 inches of snow was posted on Monday–even as the temperature rose to a record high for the date of 72°F. Higher snowfall amounts of 4 – 8″ are possible in New York City, which also experienced a record high on Monday–64°F at Kennedy Airport. Boston will also be severely impacted beginning late Wednesday afternoon, with snows of 4 – 6″ possible. Portland, Maine, which hit a record 63°F on Monday, is under a Winter Storm Watch for 4 – 8″ of snow. The heaviest snows will come Wednesday afternoon into Wednesday evening in the big cities, and may take some time to accumulate on the roads due to stored heat from the warm temperatures of the past few days. Traveling earlier in the day Wednesday is definitely recommended if you have the flexibility, as road conditions will steadily deteriorate through the afternoon into evening. The worst conditions will be experienced inland from the coast, where widespread snow amounts of 6 – 12 inches are likely along a swath from Northeast Pennsylvania and Northwest New Jersey into Maine, including Hartford, Connecticut and central Massachusetts cities like Worcester. As usual with a storm of this nature, small changes in the forecast track of the system can cause large changes in the amount of snowfall near the coast, so stay tuned to the latest forecasts.
Figure 1. Snowfall forecast for the New York City area made on Tuesday morning, November 25, 2014. Image credit: NWS New York City.
Figure 2. Snowfall forecast for the Boston area made on Tuesday morning, November 25, 2014. Image credit: NWS Boston.
Figure 3. Snowfall forecast for the Philadelphia area made on Tuesday morning, November 25, 2014. Image credit: NWS Philadelphia.
Air travel will be heavily impacted
Heavy rains will cause flight delays at the large airports of the Northeast beginning Wednesday morning, and these delays will increase on Wednesday afternoon as the snow flies. All of the major airlines are allowing people to change their tickets for free at the airports expected to be affected by Wednesday’s storm; here is one such list of cities from United:
Albany, NY (ALB)
Allentown, PA (ABE)
Atlantic City, NJ (ACY)
Baltimore, MD (BWI)
Bangor, ME (BGR)
Boston, MA (BOS)
Buffalo, NY (BUF)
Burlington, VT (BTV)
Harrisburg, PA (MDT)
Hartford, CT (BDL)
Manchester, NH (MHT)
New York/Newark, NJ (EWR – Liberty)
New York, NY (JFK)
New York, NY (LGA – LaGuardia)
Philadelphia, PA (PHL)
Portland, ME (PWM)
Providence, RI (PVD)
Rochester, NY (ROC)
Syracuse, NY (SYR)
Washington, DC (DCA – National)
Washington, DC (IAD – Dulles)
White Plains, NY (HPN)
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, PA (AVP)