Winter storm warnings stretched from southern New Jersey to northeastern Georgia Monday as a fast-moving snowstorm threatened to wreak havoc with post-holiday travel by dumping up to a foot of snow in spots. The storm was bringing heavy snow thanks in part to a rush of frigid air that had sent temperatures plunging from Sunday into Monday across the eastern U.S.
The storm was expected to deliver the first widespread snowfall accumulation of the winter to places such as Washington, D.C., Baltimore, and Philadelphia and heavy snow was already piling up across parts of Virginia, Maryland, Delaware and New Jersey early Monday. The storm, which was also delivering precipitation in the form of rain and a wintry mix to other parts of the mid-Atlantic and Southeast, is arriving only days after milder air welcomed in the new year throughout parts of the region.
"It may be hard to believe that any snow is on the way, given the warmth and lack of wintry weather thus far this season," AccuWeather Meteorologist Ryan Adamson said.
Even though much of the New Year's holiday weekend may have felt like springtime with highs in the 50s and 60s F, the atmosphere began to change gears Sunday night and slashed temperatures by 30-40 degrees Fahrenheit for some in a matter of hours into Monday.
Government officials quickly took action to prepare for the storm on Sunday. A state of emergency was issued for five southern New Jersey counties on Sunday night by Gov. Phil Murphy. "Residents should stay off the roads, remain vigilant, and follow all safety protocols," Murphy said on Twitter.
In Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser issued a snow emergency declaration that went into effect at midnight Monday for the city and will last until 7 p.m. Monday. The snow emergency allows snowplows to clear snow emergency routes from curb to curb, according to Bowser. Local and federal offices around the nation's capital will be closed Monday, according to UPI.
AccuWeather meteorologists say the ingredients are in place for part of the mid-Atlantic to have snow fall at a heavy rate of 1-3 inches per hour for a time on Monday. Questions remain as to how far north the heaviest snow will track.
The storm setup will be a game of miles. Should the storm shift its track several dozen miles farther north, then Washington, D.C., Baltimore and Richmond, Virginia, may not be the only major cities along Interstate 95 to receive heavy snowfall. Forecasters say a few inches of accumulation can even occur in a corridor from Philadelphia to just south of New York City.
The storm began as rain Sunday night over the lower part of the mid-Atlantic region until colder air began to filter in.
"As the storm strengthens and the precipitation moves northward into progressively colder air, rain will change over to snow in Baltimore and Washington, D.C., and snow will begin to fall in Philadelphia," Adamson said.
How far north or south the storm tracks is key for heavy snow versus flurries versus no accumulation. A distance of 30 miles could be the dividing line for all three zones with this storm. This means that friends or family, or a home or business a short distance away can have vastly different weather conditions on Monday.
In the core of the storm's heavy snow, there is the potential for 6-12 inches and locally higher amounts to pile up. At this time, that heavy amount of snow is most likely to fall from parts of eastern Virginia to the eastern shore of Maryland, much of Delaware and southern New Jersey.
Philadelphia is likely to be on the northwestern edge of heavy versus light snow with the storm. New York City is expected to be on the northern edge of the storm with little or no accumulation over the northwestern suburbs and a moderate-to-heavy snowfall likely in central New Jersey. However, a shift in track by a few dozen miles could bring more snow into the heart of the two cities with accumulating snow to the north and west.
The storm responsible for a swath of accumulating snow for thousands of miles in the Southwestern and Central states earlier this weekend will be strong enough to bring cold air into the central and southern Appalachians and Northeast early this week. The jet stream will allow a storm from the south to ride northeastward as the cold air is taking root.
Another forecast challenge with the storm will be the amount of snow that accumulates on road surfaces. Since roads have absorbed some of the 50- and 60-degree warmth from recent days, the snow may melt as it initially falls.
However, where the rate of snow becomes heavy enough, the storm can overcome warm road surface temperatures and cause them to cool quickly. In this case, roads may quickly transition from wet to slushy to snow-covered in a matter of an hour or so. People on the roads during Monday could be caught in such a situation with the potential for major travel slowdowns.
People should expect major travel problems to develop and spread northward on Monday in the mid-Atlantic region with slow travel on the roads and an escalation in airline delays and flight cancellations from Washington, D.C. to Philadelphia, New York City and even Boston. The combination of the most recent storm in the Plains and this storm could have ripple effects for air travel for several more days.
Where heavy snow falls from the storm, or a freeze-up occurs, COVID-19 testing and vaccination sites may temporarily close. Parking lots at testing centers can be filled with several inches of snow in some locations. Some areas may be difficult to clear where snow is heaviest, especially as temperatures begin to drop in the wake of the storm. In addition to COVID-19 testing areas, hospitals and other medical centers may face increased pressure with staffing shortages due to the pandemic and inability to travel for some.
Before hitting the mid-Atlantic, the same quick-hitting snowstorm affected areas from Tennessee to the southern Appalachians into Sunday night.
In addition to the potential for road surfaces to become snow-covered and slippery in the mid-Atlantic, stretches of interstates 26, 40, 75, 81 and 85 farther southwest can become hazardous where snow falls and/or moisture freezes.
The storm will end the snow drought, at least in part of the mid-Atlantic.
"So far this season, New York City has received a mere 0.2 of an inch of snow and Washington, D.C. has yet to see snowflakes," Adamson said.
That story is likely to be dramatically different come Monday at least for Washington, D.C. and perhaps areas farther to the north. By the first few days of January, Washington, D.C., typically receives 1.9 inches of snow, with 3.9 inches in Philadelphia and 5.7 inches in New York City.
Forecasters are also keeping an eye on another storm that will present a risk of wintry weather to the Northeast from Thursday night into Friday. This potential system is still several days away, but AccuWeather meteorologists will continue to keep a close eye on it, even after the first snowmaker departs by Monday afternoon.
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Source : https://news.yahoo.com/old-man-winter-shock-mid-153325407.html1489