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Northeast blizzard 2015


Northeast is reeling from the latest in a series of blizzards, with low temperatures exacerbated by strong winds.

A fourth major snowstorm in Boston, Massachusetts, made February the snowiest month in the city’s history.

Almost 2,000 flights have been cancelled so far, mostly from airports in Boston and New York.

Heavy snow and freezing rain is also forecast further south, in the inland states of Indiana and Kentucky.

The separate weather system developing in that area is expected to travel eastwards this week, bringing further snow and sub-zero temperatures to the north-east.

Nearly 2ft of snow was reported in parts of New England after the latest storm this weekend. Meanwhile, 13in of snow was recorded in Boston.

The bitingly cold weather in the north-east and Canada is expected to continue well into March.

This year, however, the jet stream has followed more of a north-south route, bringing Arctic air deeper into the US and Canada.

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New England residents are digging out after up to 36in of snow fell in a day-long blizzard.

The Northeast snow storm, which also destroyed part of a seawall and flooded parts of coastal Massachusetts, is being blamed for two deaths in Long Island.

Clean-up is being hindered by freezing temperatures in the coming days forecast to be as low as 10F.

However, New York City and areas south were spared from an earlier prediction of a “potentially historic blizzard”.

New York City officials imposed a driving ban and took the unprecedented step of shutting the subway on Monday evening but less than a foot of snow fell overnight.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio denied he had overreacted to warnings, saying he could only go on information available and would rather err on the side of safety

The National Weather Service (NWS) has admitted its forecasts were wrong, saying the storm moved faster than they expected.New England blizzard 2015

National Weather Service director Louis Uccellini said his agency should have done a better job of communicating the uncertainties in the forecast.

In Massachusetts, heavy snow – falling as fast as four inches an hour – and high winds combined to created blizzard and white-out conditions.

More than 24in of snow coated Boston’s Logan Airport, the sixth-highest in recorded history. Worcester got 33.5in, the highest amount recorded since 1905, and Auburn and Lunenburg each reported 36in.

More than two feet fell in parts of Maine, Connecticut, New Hampshire and Rhode Island.

Portland, Maine and Providence, Rhode Island both set a daily record for snowfall.

A 110-ft replica of a Revolutionary War ship in Newport, Rhode Island was damaged after the storm flipped it. Wind gusts were as high as 78mph.

On January 28, Boston’s transport system began running again and the first flight since January 26 took off from Logan Airport.

Snowploughs struggled to clear the roads, and Boston police drove several dozen doctors and nurses to work at hospitals.

Further south, the eastern tip of Long Island saw as much as 30in of snow.

Police have connected two deaths there with the snow – a 17-year-old who crashed into a lamp post while in an inflatable tube and an 83-year-old with dementia found dead in his backyard.

The storm also caused coastal flooding in Massachusetts. High tides breached a sea wall and damaged 11 homes in Marshfield, 30 miles south of Boston.

Massachusetts’ only nuclear power station shut down after the blizzard interrupted its power flow.

Thousands of people are still without power, many of them in Massachusetts.

Governor Charlie Baker said the snow had been “fluffier and lighter”, meaning there were fewer power outages than anticipated.

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According to several independent meteorologists, National Weather Service experts misjudged the path and impact of the blizzard that struck the Northeast on January 26 and 27, in large part because they trusted the wrong forecasting model.

Rather than rely on their own forecasting system—upgraded in recent weeks—the federal experts placed their faith instead on a well-regarded European computer model that predicted the worst of this storm would squarely hit New York City. That system earlier had outperformed the US forecasting system in predicting the path of superstorm Sandy.

This time, the European forecasting model was wrong, several commercial forecasters said. That model, one of four complex computer simulations normally used to calculate weather patterns along the Eastern seaboard, predicted that the heaviest snow would fall between 50 and 100 miles farther west than actually occurred.NYC blizzard 2015

As predicted, the storm pounded parts of Long Island, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Maine, with winds in excess of 50 mph and snow in some locales up to 30 in deep.

The National Weather Service had recently improved its own system, called the Global Forecast System, and its forecast correctly predicted that the storm would go farther out to sea, away from New York City.

In a statement on January 27, the National Weather Service’s New York office said: “The science of forecasting storms, while continually improving, still can be subject to error, especially if we’re on the edge of the heavy precipitation shield. Efforts, including research, are already under way to more easily communicate that forecast uncertainty.”

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Snow emergency has been declared in several US states as a storm bringing hurricane-force winds and 36ins of snow barrels down on the north-east.

Non-emergency vehicles have been banned on New York City’s 6,000 miles of roads after 23:00 local time.

“Recognize this as an emergency, this is not business as usual,” said NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio.

Heavy snowfall is forecast from Philadelphia to Maine, falling up to four inches an hour in some areas.

New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts have declared states of emergency and a blizzard warning has been issued for an area inhabited by 20 million people.

5,000 flights in and out of airports along the East Coast cancelled.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo urged commuters to work from home on January 26. He also warned that public transport and major roads could close before evening rush hour.Snowstorm emergency 2015

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said state offices would close at lunchtime.

Wind gusts of 75 mph or more are forecast for coastal areas of Massachusetts.

Hurricane-force winds of up to 80 mph (129km/h) will batter Cape Cod, the islands of Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard, according to the National Weather Service in Taunton, Massachusetts.

The heaviest snowfall will come in the early hours of Tuesday, with 15 inches expected between 01:00 and 05:00 local time, and 30 inches in total in parts of Massachusetts.

During a Monday afternoon press conference, Mayor Bill de Blasio urged residents to stay out of the way of the 2,300 snowploughs clearing city streets.

“You can’t underestimate this storm,” the city’s mayor said.

“What you are going to see in a few hours in something that is going to hit very hard and very fast.”

Similar bans for non-emergency vehicles will be in effect later this evening for the states of Connecticut and Massachusetts and would be likely in the rest of New York state.

At least 28 million people will face blizzard conditions over the next day and an estimated 50 million people could see more than a foot of snow in the storm.

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Heavy snowfall is forecast from Philadelphia to Maine, pre-emptively closing many schools and offices.

A blizzard warning has been issued across New York and Boston from Monday afternoon until Tuesday.

More than 250 flights on Monday and more than 2,300 on Tuesday had already been cancelled, according to FlightAware website.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo urged commuters to work from home on Monday, January 26. He also warned that public transport and major roads could be closed before evening rush hour.

Wind gusts of 75 mph or more are forecast for coastal areas of Massachusetts.New York blizzard 2015

Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy said the state would impose a travel ban after 21:00 local time.

Amtrak is running as normal for now.

Boston’s Logan Airport will close after 19:00 local time and will stay closed until January 28, local media reports.

The highest snowfall totals are expected along the 250-mile coastal stretch between Boston and New York, but more than a foot of snow is forecast for areas further west and south.

Speaking on January 25, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio showed journalists a list of the city’s top 10 snowstorms, dating back to 1872.

New York’s biggest snowstorm on record was in 2006, when nearly 2ft 3 in of snow fell.

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