Winter isn’t done with the Northeast just yet. For the second time in a week, a storm promises to barrel along the East Coast, bringing snow to New York and pounding coastal areas still cleaning up from last week’s nor’easter.
As much as 6 to 9 inches (15 to 23 centimeters) of snow could fall starting late Tuesday in New York’s five boroughs, northern New Jersey and southern Connecticut, the National Weather Service said. Some areas could get as much as a foot. There are a few wrinkles in the forecast, though, that could mean more rain in some areas.
“Overall, we just felt there was a 50 percent chance of at least 6 inches of snow — that is why we issued the winter storm watch,” said Brian Ciemnecki, a weather service meteorologist. “It doesn’t mean we’re going to get 6 inches.”
There is still a chance the storm will track closer to the coast, which could mean more rain for New York and coastal areas, cutting down on snow amounts, Ciemnecki said.
The storm will form out of a winter system that is coming across the Great Plains now, prompting blizzard warnings from North Dakota to Nebraska. The strong winds and dry air in their wake have also raised the chances of wildfires throughout Colorado, Kansas and Oklahoma, the weather service said.
On Friday and Saturday, the East Coast got walloped by a nor’easter that left 2 million homes and businesses without power at its peak, grounded thousands of flights, halted Amtrak trains on the Northeast Corridor and caused massive flooding. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo declared an emergency in Westchester, Putnam, Dutchess and Sullivan counties.
Along the Massachusetts coast, Boston recorded its third highest tide on Friday, and the region was raked by wind gusts as high as 97 miles per hour (156 kilometers per hour). On Sunday, residents were still pumping sea water from homes, and many coastal roads remained closed with higher-than-normal water lurking just beyond seawalls.
Some areas on Long Island endured higher-than-normal water levels through six tide cycles. Prolonged surges set nor’easters apart from hurricanes, which usually hit hard only over one cycle, said Ronald Busciolano, a supervisory hydrologist with the U.S. Geological Survey. Days later, the storm is still sending large swells into the coastline keeping water high.
The storm set to form Tuesday and strengthen into Wednesday won’t bring that kind of fury to the coastline. But because the area has already been hurt, it will be more vulnerable. Steady winds of 15 to 20 mph are likely, with gusts of at least 30 mph, said Frank Pereira, a forecaster at the U.S. Weather Prediction Center in College Park, Maryland.
“That is going to have some significant impacts especially across those areas that were impacted by the last one,” Pereira said.
Coastal residents do have a few things on their side this time around, Busciolano said. The storm is moving faster, and the the astronomical tides aren’t as high. When last week’s nor’easter hit, the sun, Earth and moon were aligned to bring about the highest water.
“The expected surge is not going to be as high and not as long as this past storm,” Busciolano said. “Snow may be the main weather issue.”
A winter storm watch has been posted from northeast Pennsylvania to Maine. Coastal flood advisories stretch from Maine to Virginia as onshore winds in the wake of last week’s storm keep water pinned along the coast. Because the storm will strengthen further north, Pereira said Washington will likely be spared of snow while Philadelphia could get an inch or so.