New York Snow Entered Record Books as City Dug Out
Pedestrians walk along Wall Street in the snow near the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S. (Photographer: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg)

New York Snow Entered Record Books as City Dug Out

The nor’easter that paralyzed New York and blanketed the East and Midwest with heavy snow pulled away as a blast of Arctic air sweeps behind it, sending temperatures tumbling across the central U.S.

New York’s Central Park received 17.2 inches (44 centimeters) since Sunday, which makes the storm the city’s 16th heaviest since 1869, the U.S. Weather Prediction Center said Wednesday. The bulk fell Monday, setting a record for the date, according to the National Weather Service.

“The setup was perfect for the tri-state area to get buried,” said Rob Carolan, owner of Hometown Forecast Services, who provides forecasts for Bloomberg Radio. “The radar looked like a fire hose coming off the Atlantic.”

New York Snow Entered Record Books as City Dug Out

The storm closed Covid vaccination sites across the region and tied up road and rail traffic, with trains and subways being suspended in New York on Monday. While school buildings were closed, many students were still required to log on for remote learning.

Governor Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency in 44 counties, and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio enacted a travel ban in the city. More than 3,100 flights in the U.S. were canceled, according to Flight Aware, an airline tracking service.

There was some light snowfall Tuesday, “but it will be more of a digging out and cleaning up,” Cuomo said on 1010 WINS radio.

With the worst of the storm over in the mid-Atlantic, Metro North trains resumed regular service, while the Long Island Rail Road operated on a weekend schedule. Amtrak operated on a modified schedule.

New York ordered all vaccine sites to honor appointments. “It will be honored, and that is a state order,” Cuomo said Tuesday.

Snow Showers

The storm lingered off the East Coast with snow showers continuing across large cities along the Interstate 95 corridor, but the heaviest amounts fell in interior New York and New England, said Lara Pagano, a meteorologist with the U.S. Weather Prediction Center. The highest total was in Nazareth, Pennsylvania, with 36.1 inches, the Weather Prediction Center said.

New York Snow Entered Record Books as City Dug Out

Along the Massachusetts coast, Boston’s Logan International Airport got 1.2 inches, while suburbs just to the north and west got between 17 to 20 inches, Carolan said.

As the snow headed to Canada, frigid, Arctic air is set to rip into the Great Plains and Midwest, sending temperatures 10 to 20 degrees Fahrenheit (6 to 11 Celsius), or more, below normal later this week, Pagano said. Lows will reach 3 degrees Fahrenheit in Milwaukee Friday and 6 in Chicago. Minneapolis will be minus 2.

By early next week, some of that cold will arrive in the East, she said.

Below Normal

Throughout the season, winter has been relatively mild across the U.S. with few major snowstorms and above-normal temperatures. Meteorologists have been predicting a blast of cold after a sudden stratospheric warming event occurred over the Arctic earlier this year, which usually precedes a breakdown of the polar vortex and allows frigid air to spill southward into Asia, Europe and North America.

New York Snow Entered Record Books as City Dug Out

The cold could mean temperatures dropping 5 to 8 degrees below normal across the eastern half of the U.S. from Feb. 7 to 16, according to Matt Rogers, president of the Commodity Weather Group LLC. That will drive up energy demand, and possibly shore up natural gas prices.

“A significant pattern change favoring a two-week period of very cold air appears,” said Jim Rouiller, lead meteorologist with the Energy Weather Group. “The full wrath of winter arrives in the East in a week.”

However, the cold will likely prove short-lived, with temperatures becoming milder again in March, he added.

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