Powerful Nor’easter Blankets Northeast with Snow and More Cold Temperatures on the Way

Posted: December 18, 2020 2:53 pm

Those dreaming of a white Christmas might have just got their wish. A large section of the interior Northeast was transformed into a venerable winter wonderland after a massive storm pushed through. Combined with the forecast of bitterly cold temperatures over the next week, this blanket of snow may just stick around through the holidays in many areas.

First Major Winter Storm of the Season Does Not Disappoint: Heading into the weekend, millions of residents are left digging out after a powerful nor’easter blasted a large part of the East Coast. While some areas only saw a few inches, other people were dealing with snowfall that was measured in feet.

The winter storm began to wreak havoc on the region on Wednesday afternoon, bringing significant precipitation up and down the coast and interior. The heaviest snowfall fell in central Pennsylvania, through upstate New York, and into New England before it finally wrapped up on late Thursday. Some of the towns that saw the deepest snow included Ludlow, Vermont, Alba, Pennsylvania, and Newark Valley, New York. All of these areas saw well over 40 inches of measurable snow, trapping many residents in their homes and making roads impassable.

Fast-Moving Storm: While the storm passed through quickly, it packed quite the punch as it was unleashing its fury. During the height of the storm, the snow was falling at a rate of four to five inches per hour. This made it impossible for road crews to keep up with the precipitation. As fast as it came in, the system exited off the coast and into the Atlantic Ocean just as quickly.

Significant Snowfall in Major Cities: Some of America’s biggest cities also saw the most significant snow in years. By the time the storm wrapped up, New York City’s Central Park had received 10 inches. Just to the west, almost six inches fell in Philadelphia. Up in Boston, over 13 inches was recorded at Logan International Airport. The nation’s capital escaped the major snow event, seeing mostly rain with just a slight dusting of snow in Washington, DC.

Cold Temperatures to Stick Around: Those who want the heavy snow to stay around until Christmas may be in luck. There is no notable warmup predicted for the eastern half of the country over the next few days. The forecast calls for temperatures to hover below average for most areas of the East Coast. This will prevent any significant melting of snow as it leads to potentially icy conditions.

Travel Still Impacted: Because of the lingering cold air, officials are warning that travel will still be impacted for several days in many portions of the country. It may take road crews a few days to clear off secondary streets up and down the busy I-95 corridor.

In addition, the melting snow will create a messy runoff that will pile up in parking lots and secondary roads. As the temperature dips at night, this runoff will freeze and cause icy conditions for the morning commute well into the early parts of next week. Motorists need to be particularly aware of the possibility of black ice. Sidewalks may also be slick.

Light Snow in Forecast for Great Lakes and Parts of Northeast This Weekend: While it will pale in comparison to this week’s nor’easter, another round of light snow is predicted for parts of the Northeast and the Great Lakes over the weekend. The snow will take hold when a weak system merges with existing cold air.

Snowfall is expected to begin late Friday across the northern part of Minnesota, delivering a new round of one to three inches of the white stuff. By Saturday morning, the snow is predicted to fall across Wisconsin and throughout Michigan. Cities that should be ready for an inch or two of snow include Grand Rapids, Michigan, and Green Bay, Wisconsin.

Additional areas that need to be prepared for another round of light snow include the mid-Atlantic, the central Appalachians, and the cities of Pittsburgh and Albany, New York.

The southern side of this system will pull up moisture from the Gulf of Mexico, creating rainy conditions throughout the Deep South as residents try to run those last-minute holiday errands.