As a major storm system moves across the central US and Great Lakes regions, Boston and New York City are expected to experience their biggest snow events of an unusually warm winter. The National Weather Service has issued a winter weather advisory for both cities as snow and ice are forecast to arrive later on Monday. This storm could bring New York City its biggest snow event of the season, as it has only received 0.4 inches of snow since December 1, which is about 2 feet below average. The weather service predicts that New York City could receive 4 to 6 inches of snow and ice from Monday evening through midday Tuesday, accompanied by winds gusting up to 35 mph. Boston and New York City brace for biggest snow event of the season, despite below-average levels.
Boston and New York City brace for biggest snow event of the season
Meteorologist Brandon Miller noted that it is “better late than never” for the snow to arrive in New York City, as the storm is expected to hit on the last day of meteorological winter, which runs from December 1 to February 28. Boston is also expected to receive up to four inches of snow through Tuesday night, which would be the largest snowfall of the season for the city. So far, Boston has seen less than a third of its normal snowfall this winter, with only 10 inches of snow compared to an average of 3 feet.
The unusually snowless winter prompted Mayor Gary Christenson of Malden, Massachusetts, a city just north of Boston, to declare winter over on February 8. He tweeted that the city was lifting all winter parking restrictions for its roughly 65,000 residents. However, the approaching storm means that winter is not quite over yet for Boston and New York City. Residents of these cities should take precautions to stay safe on the roads and sidewalks during the snow and ice event.
Northeast Braces for Winter Weather through Midweek
Winter weather alerts, including winter storm warnings and winter weather advisories, are in place for areas from central Pennsylvania through central Maine until Tuesday due to a major storm system. Interior regions of New York, Connecticut, and the Berkshire mountains in Massachusetts are expected to receive the highest amounts of snowfall, with up to a foot of fresh powder possible.
Central Pennsylvania will experience mixed precipitation, with valleys receiving 1-2 inches of snow and sleet and higher ground getting 2-4 inches of snow and sleet. In addition, ice accumulation is expected in the region. Meanwhile, parts of central and upstate New York may receive 2-5 inches of snow and up to a quarter-inch of ice. The National Weather Service cautioned that the morning or evening commute could be affected by hazardous road conditions. From Tuesday morning through Wednesday morning, the threat of snow and ice will expand to New Hampshire and Maine.
The drought is not a problem
Despite the Northeast’s minimal snowfall this winter, the region is not under threat of drought, according to meteorologists. Brandon Miller, a CNN meteorologist, explained that the Northeast is experiencing normal levels of precipitation and storms, but the warmer temperatures are causing it to fall as rain instead of snow. Miller added that the snow drought is not the same as an actual drought for the region.
Greg Carbin, the Weather Prediction Center Branch Chief, noted in January that some areas that normally experience snowfall were down by more than three feet, indicating a snow drought for the Northeast. However, the region is still receiving normal amounts of precipitation, just not in the form of snow.
The US National Climate Assessment indicates that as the Northeast temperatures continue to warm, the rain-snow line will shift further north, resulting in more rainy winter days along the coast and less snow. This trend is expected to continue, and the period between snow events is also likely to increase as the climate warms. This is especially true for coastal cities in the Northeast, which will experience more rainy winter days and less snow.
According to Climate Central’s data analysis, meteorological winter (December, January, and February) is the fastest-warming season for 75% of the 238 US locations studied. This warming trend is not limited to the Northeast, as the western US has experienced significant snowfall in recent weeks. Southern California was blanketed with feet of snow over the weekend, and blizzard warnings and winter storm warnings were in effect on Monday.
In summary, the Northeast’s minimal snowfall this winter does not necessarily indicate a drought, as the region is receiving normal levels of precipitation in the form of rain. However, the warming climate will continue to affect the region’s winter weather patterns, with more rainy winter days expected along the coast and less snowfall.