Monday, 1/26/2015, 6:30 p.m. EST
|Last minute shoppers crowd at Whole Foods in New York as|
the storm begins late this afternoon.
The snow this afternoon was, to put it overly simply, stuff that was related to the storm, but not directly associated with it.
Still, that was good enough to dump 4.3 inches of new snow on New York City's Central Park by 5:30 p.m or so.
The first main band of snow directly associated with the rapidly deepening storm was moving northwestward into far southeastern New England as of 6:30 p.m.
This will continue to press to the north, and other bands of heavy snow will follow.
The storm is still strengthening fast as it lumbers northward off the Middle Atlantic Coast.
Even though New York City probably won't get the most snow of anybody out of this - southern New England will get it worse - there seems to be almost a sense of doom in New York.
All the subways are shutting down at 11 p.m., the first time in memory a snowstorm has done that. (Although they shut the subways down for Hurricane Irene in 2011 and Super Storm Sandy in 2012)
Pictures coming out of New York show long lines of people scrambling to get on public transportion before it all closes down.
There's also a photo of a Whole Foods with a huge scrum of people trying to get in to pick up supplies. (They waited until the storm started to get their stuff?)
Or as one wag on Twitter put it, maybe Whole Foods is now "New York's hottest club."
Broadway goes dark tonight, too. No shows. All shuttered.
By the way, if you're caught driving around New York after 11 p.m. tonight, when a driving ban goes into effect, you could face a misdemeanor charge and a $300 fine.
It'll be interesting to see how much snow New York actually gets. The Weather Channel is calling for 12 to 18 inches, while the National Weather Service says 18 to 24. Some computer forecasting models are backing off on the extreme snowfall in New York, but maintaining the heavy snow in New England.
Monday 1/26/2015, 5 p.m. EST
Weather geeks like me always read the forecast discussions on National Weather Service forecast office sites from all over the country. Especially when a storm is coming or is ongoing.
Forecast discussions lay down the basis as to why NWS meteorologists predicted the weather the way they did. Very often, these discussions are rather technical and science-y. But they're very useful for clues as to what's going on.
It's reading the tea leaves, and the discussions point out which parts of the forecasts are pretty solid, and which parts will go bust.
Forecast discussions are great for the general public to start reading, too. Especially during this, the Blizzard of 2015. The technical stuff often has links to definitions, so you can follow along.
As an aside, I also like the fact the Forecast Discussions are in all caps. They're YELLING their thoughts.
When something epic happens, like now, forecast discussions can be absolutely epic, with humor, dire warnings -- basically a story.
Such is the case with today's National Weather Service forecast discussion from Taunton, Mass, which covers most of southern New England, including Boston.
First of all, the meteorologists who wrote today's Forecast Discussion are in awe of how fast the storm is strengthening, which give us our shot of humor. They inform us:
ITS BOMBOGENESIS BABY!
But then it's time to get serious, and you almost can't believe how serious this storm is:
THIS IS AN UNPRECEDENTED STORM FOR ALL S NEW ENGLAND FOR WHICH PREPARATIONS SHOULD HAVE BEEN MADE AND ACTION SHOULD BE TAKEN ON A SIMILAR NATURE NO MATTER IF YOU`RE UNDER A BLIZZARD OR WINTER STORM WARNING. THIS IS A DANGEROUS AND LIFE-THREATENING STORM. YOU SHOULD NOT BE OUT ON THE ROADS...LEAVING THEM CLEAR FOR EMERGENCY OFFICIALS AND SNOW- REMOVAL EQUIPMENT. YOU SHOULD BE TAKING SHELTER AND MAKING PLANS IN CASE YOU BECOME TRAPPED FOR DAYS AND/OR LOSE POWER. CONSIDER ANY AND ALL POSSIBILITIES NO MATTER WHAT YOU THINK THE OUTCOMES MAY BE.
SO TO REITERATE...70 TO 80 MPH FOR SE-COASTAL MASSACHUSETTS AND EVEN
POSSIBLY FOR CAPE ANN. AROUND 50 TO 60 MPH GUSTS INLAND AROUND THE I-95 CORRIDOR / ACROSS THE COASTAL PLAINS. 30 TO 40 MPH GUSTS ACROSS REMAINDER OF THE INTERIOR. WITH STRONG TO DAMAGING WINDS...DOWNED TREES/TREE LIMBS...STRUCTURAL DAMAGE. RISKS ARE GREATER WHERE SNOW IS EXPECTED TO BE HEAVY / WET / MORE WATER LADEN. SCATTERED TO WIDESPREAD POWER OUTAGES OVERALL WITH GREATEST IMPACTS IN AREAS WITH STRONGEST WINDS.Then we get into the coastal flooding:. SEAS WILL BE HIGH ENOUGH TO CAUSE SIGNIFICANT OVERWASH IN TYPICALLY VULNERABLE LOCATIONS...ESPECIALLY BUT NOT LIMITED TO HULL...SCITUATE...AND MARSHFIELD. NE SURFACE WINDS ANTICIPATED TO BE GUSTING BETWEEN 50 AND 60 KT BY THE TIME OF THE EARLY TUESDAY AM HIGH TIDE...PERHAPS EVEN GUSTING TO BETWEEN 60 AND 70 KT OFF ALONG THE CHATHAM AND NANTUCKET COAST. SEVERE BEACH EROSION IS LIKELY IN SOME SPOTS GIVEN THE ELEVATED WATER LEVELS...WAVE RUNUP AND STRONG WAVE ACTION. THIS IS A STORM THAT COULD PRODUCE ONE OR MORE NEW INLETS ALONG EXPOSED EAST AND NORTHEAST FACING BARRIER BEACHES. WE ARE ESPECIALLY CONCERNED WITH THE EROSION POTENTIAL FOR EAST FACING SHORELINES ALONG PLUM ISLAND...ORLEANS...CHATHAM AND NANTUCKET.
Mon. 1/26/2015, 4:15 p.m. EST
|Contrasts: Things look very stormy at mid-afternoon near|
Central Park in Manhattan, via @Anthony Quinano on Twitter...
Conditions continue to deteriorate in the New York City metro area and the snow is spreading north through southern New England.
Even as a large batch of snow moves north and northwestward from the Atlantic Ocean toward southern New England, that nearly stationary snow band still sits over Long Island and the New York city metro area.
People in the New York area who had expected to deal with light snow as they rushed home ahead of the main body of the storm are now contending with snowfall rates of one to two inches an hour.
That's not quite the 2 to 4 inches per hour anticipated later, but it's still very disruptive. In any other storm, one to two inches an hour would be a Very Big Deal.
Wind gusts are starting to go past 30 mph in some of the coastal regions of Long Island, New York and southern New England.
Some of the updated computer forecasting models have pushed snow totals back up toward 20 to 30 inches in The Big Apple. Some of those models had backed off a little on the snow for New York.
Forecasts have stayed consistent for snow in the 20 to 36 inch range for the southeastern third of New England, including areas around Boston.
The biggest threat continues to be the anticipated strong winds, storm surges and huge waves on Cape Cod, the Islands and other parts of coastal Massachusetts.
You do the math: A storm surge of up to 3.5 feet, 20 to 25 foot waves and winds gusting to 75 mph.
The National Weather Service in Taunton, Mass said the geography of Plum Island, Orleans, Chatham and Nantucket could change as the ocean could cut new inlets and erode a lot of beach.
That dire warning has been a consistent part of the forecast since Sunday morning.
For those who want to watch the snow's progress in New York, Scott McPartland is live streaming the storm in Queens, N.Y. as you can in the video below:
Those of you who want to enjoy the beauty of the snow can view this video taken as the storm started. It's slow motion images of the snowflakes and people in it. Very striking:
Mon. 1/26/2015, 2:25 p.m.
Well, this isn't good.
|The "view" from 30 Rockefeller Plaza a short time|
ago. The snow has really picked up in NYC.
During nor'easters, a sort of warm front often sets up near the intersection of land and sea, often near Long Island.
That warm front sometimes focuses heavier snow in a band through the region.
One already seems to be setting up over New York City, northeastern New Jersey and Long Island.
By 2 p.m., the snow had picked up in intensity the snow band over that region is getting larger in area and heavier. The accumulation on the roads might be more than expected as people now try to get home from work before the heart of the storm.
Also, temperatures are lower than forecast in the region, so salt on the roads might not be working as well as hoped.
Speaking of hope, we can hope the snow band setting up temporarily weakens, or moves south or north of the New York City region.
This snow band, setting up a little earlier than expected, isn't a catastrophe, but it does complicate things even more.
Mon. 1/26/2015, 2:00 p.m. EST
"Bombogenesis" has begun.
Barometric pressure is falling rapidly now off the Mid-Atlantic coast as the storm gets its act together in a hurry. Pressure was dropping late this morning at a rate of about 1 mb per hour, which if that held for 24 hours, would just barely make the storm qualify as an "atmospheric bomb."
Now, the pressures are falling faster and faster, certainly quite a bit more than a rate of 1 mb. per hour. Bombs away!
With the central pressure of the storm dropping, the contrast between that and high pressure in Quebec is increasing. Which means winds are already starting to pick up around New York City, Long Island and southern New England.
Nothing scary yet. Gusts are in the 25 mph range. Just making it raw. But the storm is just forming and is still far away. So you know the wind will get wild late tonight and Tuesday.
Lightning continues to flash quite a bit off the North and South Carolina coasts, more indication that things are progressing pretty much as expected with this storm.
By the way, not to scare you or anything, but there are signs three -- Count 'em THREE! more atmospheric bombs could go off east of New England in the week and a half after this blizzard ends.
Though you never know, the next three bombs, if they happen, definitely appear as though they would be less explosive than this one, and more importantly, would go off after the initially weak storms get past New England and head into far eastern Canada or more likely, into the Atlantic Ocean east of Labrador and south of Greenland.
That would minimize the chances of more New England blizzards, but the storms would keep light snow and cold temperatures entrenched in the region.
Highest confidence is the one on Friday and Saturday, which could bring some light snow to New England. Ones following next Monday or Tuesday, and the end of next week, are very, VERY uncertain.
|New York Mayor Bill de Blasio has been (understandably)|
warning about the storm so much, he got some satire
from The Onion today.
This info is just to keep you on your toes, is all.
A bit of humor: New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has understandably been in front of the cameras since yesterday, telling people to hunker down, stay off the streets during the blizzard, be careful, heed warnings, etc. etc.
The Onion summed up de Blasio perfectly with this headline and story a little while ago: "NYC Mayor: Reconcile Yourselves With Your God, For All Will Perish In the Tempest."
The Onion satirical article is worth the read
Mon 1/26/15 12:30 p.m.
|Infared satellite imagery from late this morning shows a|
blossoming leaf like structure in the clouds off
the East Coast. A sure sign of a rapidly developing storm.
Nor'easter causing the blizzard is now developing rapidly.
Actually a tad faster and sooner than expected. Eric Holthaus at Slate has a nice explanation of the earlier than expected development of a "negative tilt trough," meaning the storm will slow down and make high end snow totals a little more likely.
Also signs of a fast developing storm: TONS of lightning strikes off the North Carolina coast, This could very easily lead to thunder snow in the blizzard zone later tonight and tomorrow.
There's also a huge, blossoming leaf shaped cloud structure off the East Coast, a classic sign of a rapidly developing, soon to be intense storm.
Mon 1/26/15 12:20 p.m.
States of Emergency coming fast and furious
Governor Baker in Massachusetts has just declared a State of Emergency and has imposed a driving ban as of midnight tonight.
@NYScanner reports New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has also declared a state of emergency. The Long Island Railroad shuts down at 11 p.m tonight, too.
Mon. 1/26/15 12:15 p.m.
NYC Scanner reports that New York State Thruway and all New York State-controlled highways will be closed around New York City starting at 10 p.m. tonight.
Also, U.S. Airways and American Airlines is suspending service at Newark, JFK and LaGuardia as of this afternoon.
There are reports circulating now that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is declaring a state of emergency with this storm. There's wind advisories in central Florida and high surf advisories for parts of Florida's west coast.
The circulation of the burgeoning nor'easter is being felt far and wide.
Dr. Jeff Masters at Weather Underground always has thoughtful takes on weather and climate in his blog Here's his take, posted this morning, on the blizzard. Worth the read.
Mon. 1/26/2015, 11:00 a.m.
Latest computer models seem to bring the deepest snow from the blizzard to central Long Island, much of Connecticut, and part of Massachusetts between about Boston and Worcester.
That's just one round of models, no guarantees that will be the bullseye for heaviest snow with this storm. Just remember everything is on track for a big blizzard.
I've got a couple random public service announcement for you. The first one is, before the snow gets going, run to the ATM to get some cash. In areas with widespread, long lasting power failures (I'm thinking especially Cape Cod) ATMs won't work in power failures. So you'll need cold hard cash after the blizzard to buy stuff.
Also, make sure the gas tank in your car is full. Gas stations don't work in power failures, either.
It'll be cold after the blizzard, and possibly brutally cold early next week. You might get low on heating fuel. Do your fuel delivery guy or gal a favor and shovel a path to the intake pipe.
I mean, you try dragging that heavy hose from the truck up a 75 foot steep hill through three feet of snow.
Mon 1/26/2015 10:15 a.m.
Connecticut Governor Dan Malloy bans travel in state starting 9 p.m. this evening. I bet other travel bans are in place or coming soon in the Northeast.
Amtrak says its running a normal schedule today, for now, but is going to re-evaluate things later today and tomorrow. Don't count on Amtrak service East Coast tomorrow. Check ahead.
Really, nobody ought to be traveling in most of New England and the New York Metro area anyway later tonight and tomorrow.
An updated computer model, the NAM has a bullseye of a 50 inch storm total over central Long Island. I don't buy that, but three feet is a good bet in that area.
Mon. 1/26/2015, 10:01 a.m.
Eric Holthaus also has great live blizzard blog going over at Slate. Looks like he's focusing largely on New York so far.
Also, Logan Airport in Boston says no more flights there starting at 7 pm tonight, reports Airlive.net. Flights tentatively scheduled to resume at Logan later Wednesday.
Mon. 1/26/2015, 9:44 a.m. EST:
I'm going to be doing my version of a live blog on the Blizzard of 2015.
I'm a one-man band, so there will be gaps as I work my other jobs and maybe sleep a bit tonight.
But there will be LOTS of fresh updates and info on this one. I'll offer my unique, but accurate and responsible thoughts on this blizzard as it progresses.
I'll send out Tweets and Facebooks posts as I update.
I'll also point you in the direction of other great resources as this storm develops, including other live blogs, forecasts, news sites, storm chasers and anything else that's interesting and helpful.
First update: The visible satellite presentation of this storm is already remarkable, even if it hasn't fully emerged from the Middle Atlantic States to just off the East Coast, as you can see in this post.