If you live on the East Coast of the United States or were planning to visit this week, you might want to change your plans. The biggest snowstorm in years is set to cause havoc at airports up and down Interstate 95 (the main highway that connects Miami to Maine). Meteorologists have issued a winter storm watch and warnings for what is shaping up to be one of the biggest snowstorms the Northeast has seen in years. Even with the ongoing COVID-19 global pandemic limiting travel, the storm, which is still to take shape fully, could be disruptive to many people’s travel plans.
AccuWeather’s team of experts is growing ever more confident that a mega-storm will paralyze parts of the Northeast as it dumps over two feet of snow on the region between Tuesday and Thursday. The large winter storm will cover a sizable portion of the East with snow expected to fall from Southern Illinois to the Canadian Atlantic. Metropolitan areas that could see airports close include Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and Washington D.C.
Mid-Atlantic to see heavy snow
A fast-moving storm system that raced off of the East Coast on Monday has left behind a swath of cold air setting the stage for significant ice and snow across large portions of the East. Late Wednesday, an earlier ice event for the Appalachians will intensify, dumping a considerable accumulation of snow on the Mid-Atlantic states. The wind will also pick up, causing localized blizzard conditions at times.
AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Tyler Roys said:
“The swath of heaviest snow and highest snowfall accumulation is dependent on the exact track of the storm, and small changes in where the storm tracks can lead to significant changes in the amounts of snowfall for a given location.
“However, with a track near the mid-Atlantic and New England Coast looking more likely, the probability of the heaviest snow targeting parts of the mid-Atlantic and southern New England is also increasing.
“While we continue to monitor trends, residents in the East need to pay close attention to the forecast over the next few days. This storm has the potential to be highly disruptive for a large number of people.”
More snow than all of last winter
Forecasters predict that the storm could dump more snow than was seen all last winter in Philadelphia, New York City, and Washington D.C., where a typical winter season sees an accumulation of between 18 and 24 inches. Previous year taking New York City as an example, the city measured only 4.8 inches of snow in Central Park for the entire winter. Typically the Central Park weather observation site sees around 25 inches of snow each winter season.
For many people dreaming of a white Christmas, they may get their wish as even though the storm is set to arrive before the holidays, an accumulation of snow this large will not have enough time to melt.
“Where the heaviest snowfalls, occur it could leave a thick-enough blanket of snow to last all the way until Christmas,” Roys said.
“Overall, a chillier pattern looks to last until Christmas, so if any locales get around a foot or more of snow, it could be enough to last until Christmas. It could also turn a bit more active again Christmas week, so some spots could even add a little more snow before the holiday.”
This certainly looks as though it could develop into a significant event, which means if you live on the East Coast and need to go anywhere by air, you had better leave today while the airports are still open.