On Tuesday, Northeast Americans woke to strong winds and heavy snowfall, caused by a powerful nor'easter marching along the Atlantic Coast and into the inland sections. Here are some of the key points to look out for.
A nor'easter is a powerful storm, in meteorological terms, that brings northeasterly winds up the Atlantic coast. The winds produced by this type of weather event can be very dangerous; they intensify as they move in combination with cold fronts.
The nor'easter's associated low-pressure system may become more powerful if it meets an area of high pressure that is situated in New England or Canada. Such a shift in pressure leads to powerful winds, some of which can reach hurricane strength of 74 mph or more.
A decrease of 0.71 inches of mercury within a 24-hour period or less is referred to as bombogenesis, leading to the formation of a bomb cyclone. These types of storms are more likely to occur between September and April.
Supporters of the iconic cherry blossoms in Washington, D.C. are anxiously awaiting the outcome of this nor'easter, hoping that its effects will not damage the early blooming buds. The storm bypassed the city, however, the strong winds on its periphery could still be a problem for the blossoms.
Gusts of wind are expected to reach close to 50 mph in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday. Temperatures will reach the mid 40s during the day before dropping to near freezing at night. When factoring in the wind chill, the temperature will feel like it is in the teens.
The early appearance of the cherry blossoms this year, due to the warmer-than-usual February, is a major concern. The region saw over 70% of its trees reach the green buds stage by February 23, and by March 11, the fourth stage of the bloom had been reached, revealing the fragile petals. Unfortunately, these blooms could be ruined if winds and low temperatures come about.
Although it was raining Monday evening in New York City, the plummet in temperatures caused the moisture to transform to snow by 8 am Tuesday. This was validated at the city's weather station in Central Park as people headed out to work. Accumulation of snow is estimated to be no more than one inch within the city, with 1 – 3 inches in the northern and western suburbs.
The nor'easter has caused a plethora of travel issues, featuring flight delays and cancelations, as well as an incident at Syracuse Hancock International Airport. At around 7:30 am, the plane slid off the runway and landed nose-down in a grassy area. An investigation is underway to determine what caused the occurrence, while snow was falling in the area.
On Tuesday morning, LaGuardia Airport and Bradley International Airport in Hartford, Connecticut enacted a ground stop for outgoing flights as weather conditions deteriorated. Boston Logan International Airport and Newark Liberty International Airport have also had to adjust their flight schedules.
In the Northeast, the amount of power outages has been increasing. Tuesday morning, close to 21,000 people in Massachusetts were without electricity, primarily in the western region.
In New York's eastern region, 35,000 households found themselves without electricity when the sun rose, and Vermont's southern part reported more than 10,000 people with no power. As the nor'easter intensifies, further outages are expected to occur in New England.
Predicted areas of heaviest snowfall from this system have been in western Massachusetts and the higher elevations of the interior Northeast. The town of Windsor, Massachusetts has seen a staggering 20 inches of snow by Tuesday morning.
Residents of Palenville, NY in the Catskills have already been blanketed with 18 inches of snow, while some communities in southern Vermont have seen 16 inches and more is expected. The border towns between Connecticut and Massachusetts are also seeing significant accumulation, having received more than 8 inches as of noon.