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Winter storm arrives in New York City, bringing mix of rain and snow

In World
January 07, 2024

NEW YORK – Light snow fell in New York City on Jan 6 as the first potent winter storm in more than a year moved up the United States’ East Coast, cancelling hundreds of weekend flights and halting some trains.

About 2.5cm to 5cm of snow were set to fall in the city before changing to rain overnight, the National Weather Service said. Further north and west of the city, snow totals will increase sharply. 

“What we’re seeing, though, is a really statewide event,” New York Governor Kathy Hochul said in a briefing. “Eight to 12 inches (20-30cm) throughout two thirds to possibly three quarters of the state.”

The storm marks the potential end of a record snow drought in Philadelphia and New York City, said Ashton Robinson Cook, a forecaster at the US Weather Prediction Centre. Through Jan 5, New York’s Central Park had gone 691 days without 2.5cm or more of snow, smashing the prior record of 383 days that ended on March 21, 1998, he said.

Philadelphia, where the storm is starting as snow, had gone 705 days through Friday without a 2.5cm or more, besting its old record of 661 days set from 1972 to 1973.

“The streak is in jeopardy today,” Mr Robinson Cook said.

At least 332 flights have already been cancelled into and out of airports across the North-east US through Jan 7, including in Newark, Washington and Boston, according to tracking website FlightAware. Amtrak has scrubbed passenger trains to Boston, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and Roanoke, Virginia, as the storm moves north.

Boston will be the hardest hit of the East Coast cities, with 12-30cm falling overnight. To the west and north of Interstate 95, from 30-45cm of snow may fall from western Maryland through upstate New York and into southern New England. 

Near the coast, heavy wet snow and winds of up to 56kmh may knock down trees and powerlines leading to outages. 

“Travel could be very difficult to impossible,” the weather service said. “If you must travel, keep an extra flashlight, food, and water in your vehicle in case of an emergency.”

While winter has been mild so far, in part due to the El Nino pattern in the equatorial Pacific Ocean, forecasters at the start of the season said there was a potential for a large snowstorm or two to strike.

The latest system will wind down early on Jan 7 in New York with the potential for additional flurries. In Boston, upstate New York and across New England, the heaviest snow will continue through the day Sunday. BLOOMBERG

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