WEATHER NEWS: Northeast winter storm dumps up to a foot of snow, snarls travel
Winter storm warnings blanketed much of central New York state on Tuesday morning, as a record-setting April snowstorm swept through the region. More than 300,000 households were without power in the Northeast at midday, due to the heft of over a foot of wet, pasty snow in some areas.
The National Weather Service reported 14.2 inches of snow fell in Binghamton, N.Y., breaking its previous two-day April snowstorm record of 13.6 inches from 2007.
The heavy snow came as the Weather Service upped its snowfall projections in the southern Adirondacks and the western Mohawk Valley of southern Herkimer County in New York, forecasting 8 to 18 inches. Snowfall rates of up 3 inches per hour were predicted and observed, with thundersnow even reported west of Albany.
In New York state alone, about 200,000 customers were without electricity according to PowerOutage.us, mostly focused in the central part of the state.
“If you must travel, keep an extra flashlight, food, and water in your vehicle in case of an emergency,” wrote the National Weather Service in its winter storm warning.
Over 50,000 customers were without power in Pennsylvania, mainly in the northeastern part of the state where the snow ended Tuesday morning. Most of the remaining storm-related outages were concentrated in Vermont and Maine.
The jackpot totals in the interior Northeast reached a foot and a half Tuesday morning. Virgil, N.Y., south of Syracuse, was up to 18 inches. Indian Lake, N.Y., about 50 miles north-northwest of Saratoga Springs, had logged 16 inches. In nearby Piseco, 14 inches accumulated.
Elsewhere across the Northeast, snow totals were similarly impressive:
In the panhandle of extreme western Maryland and adjacent western Virginia and eastern West Virginia in the Alleghenies, up to half a foot of snow fell on Monday before the storm lumbered northward. Frostburg, Md., picked up 6 inches, and another 2 inches are expected Tuesday thanks to “upslope flow.” That means moisture-rich air will be forced up the mountains, the air pockets cooling and condensing to saturation before depositing their moisture as snowflakes.
MARYLAND SNOW: Highest numbers in the western side of the state with 6″+ totals near Frostburg.
The swift accumulation of snowfall Monday led to heavy backups on Interstate 70 near the Maryland-Pennsylvania border as well as Interstate 68 in western Maryland.
On Tuesday midday, the storm was centered in northern Vermont and New Hampshire. Low pressure zones in the Northern Hemisphere spin counterclockwise, so mild air was being dragged up the immediate East Coast by southerly winds preceding the storm. That is bringing heavy rain to Downeast Maine, but the last of the showers had exited Boston and Providence. They were in the “dry slot,” or an insurgence of dry air and clear skies that had spiraled around the low and punched its way into the system. Boston wound up with about 0.54 inches of rain, and Providence got nearly an inch and a half.
Over southeastern New England, the storm was swirling within an energetic dip in the jet stream that was simultaneously mixing down strong wind gusts to the surface. Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket were under high wind warnings, for gusts topping 60 mph during the morning; slightly lesser wind advisories span the lengths of coastal Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Winds began to ease by midday.
Through the afternoon Tuesday, the snow band on the back side of the storm will continue to pivot through central and northern New York along the Interstate 81 corridor. It’s the result of multiple factors — deformation, or a sort of stretching in the atmosphere that enhances upward motion, and an influx of frigid air from the northwest kicking up pockets of comparatively milder and moisture-laden air. Outside of northern New York (mainly at high elevations), little additional accumulation is forecast and winter storm warnings have been dropped.
By early evening, snow will be relegated to northern Aroostook County in Maine and far northern New York State, where winter storm warnings will expired at 8 p.m. The snow should lift north of the St. Lawrence River in Canada during the evening, spelling an end to precipitation stateside, but there could be some redevelopment into Wednesday morning. That’s as lake-effect snows form off Lakes Erie and Ontario, pinwheeling east and delivering an additional 2 or 3 inches of snow over the Tug Hill Plateau.
A few high-elevation snow showers are possible in the White and Green Mountains of Vermont and New Hampshire before the instigating upper-air disturbance withdraws far enough away for much of the precipitation to shut off.