Warm Air Means New York Spared Worst of Northeast Snow Storm

(Bloomberg) -- Warm air was all it took for New York to get mostly rain instead of snow Wednesday, dashing expectations from just a day earlier that as much as 4 inches could fall.

In fact, it’s colder in New Orleans and Houston than it is in Manhattan.

The storm, which should prove short-lived, could drop about an inch (2.5 centimeters) in New York’s Central Park, , said Marc Chenard, a senior branch forecaster at the U.S. Weather Prediction Center in College Park, Maryland.  Further north, Boston could end up taking a bigger hit with 5 inches.

The combination of cold and snow prompted airlines to cancel 790 flights across the U.S. as of 8 a.m., according to FlightAware, an airline tracking service in Houston. Boston, Atlanta and Houston were among the hardest hit.

Bitterly cold temperatures are deeply entrenched across the U.S. South and a hard freeze warning -- meaning exposed plants and livestock can be hurt -- is in place from eastern Texas to Alabama, the weather service said. Readings in Houston were only 20 and in New Orleans 21, compared with 34 in Central Park.

“We are noticing single digits in portions of Mississippi, Alabama and Texas,” Chenard said. “There are some record low temperatures across portions of Texas and the Mississippi Valley.”

The cold won’t last, Chenard said. Temperatures will rise across the southern and eastern U.S. by the weekend, leaving many places with readings well above normal.

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