80M people under watches, warnings as powerful snowstorm pounds Midwest, East; NYC could see a foot of snow

John Bacon


ARLINGTON, Virginia – A powerful winter storm that hammered the West last week was roaring through the Midwest into the East on Sunday, and blizzard conditions and up to two feet of snow were possible for some areas.

Almost 80 million people were under winter storm warnings and watches. Milwaukee was pounded with 10 inches of snow overnight, Chicago got six inches and both cities were getting more Sunday. Major eastern cities including Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Philadelphia, and New York City were bracing for the biggest snowfall of the season, Accuweather warned.

The snow started before dawn Sunday in Washington, D.C., and was making its way into the Northeast. Washington hasn’t had a major snowstorm in almost two years but could see five inches of snow before a mixture of ice, sleet and freezing rain caps off the storm Tuesday.

Another winter storm: Snow and heavy rain from West Coast to Northeast

In suburban Arlington, students won’t be getting a snow day Monday. It’s a teacher grading day, plus classes here, like many across the nation because of the pandemic, are almost all online-only. Learning in Arlington no longer halts for inclement weather.

“It’s hard to expect students to focus when there is a fresh blanket of snow just outside their windows,” said Bill Drake, a math teacher at Washington-Liberty High School. “It will be interesting to see how much work gets done on Tuesday.”

All was quiet in New York City, but snow expected to start later Sunday was not forecast to stop until about a foot had fallen. Eight to 18 inches of snowfall will forecast for the Hudson Valley and across upstate New York.

“Another storm system is set to impact New York with potentially heavy snow, strong winds and possibly coastal flooding downstate,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo warned.  “I am urging all New Yorkers to … begin preparing their households for this latest round of winter weather.”

Cuomo directed state agencies to prepare for the worst and to be ready to assist local governments that could be overwhelmed in coming days. He said utility companies would be monitored to “ensure any power outages are addressed immediately.”

The storm has maintained its fury since sweeping through much of the West, slamming California with heavy rains and the mountains with feet of snow. The system then rolled across the Midwest.

In Chicago, wind gusts of up to 30 mph and a Lakeshore flood advisory were compounding problems. The National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning for the Milwaukee metro area as well as counties along the Illinois border. This snowstorm, plus heavy snow that fell in the area on Tuesday, has left snow depth totals above 15 inches in many areas. 

“That’s more snow than we’ve seen in a decade,” said Chris Stumpf, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Sullivan, Wisconsin.

More snow than we’ve seen in a decade:’ About 10 inches of snowfall hit areas around Milwaukee

Winter storm warnings were in effect Sunday from North Carolina to Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Winter storm watches remained in place for other parts of the Northeast and New England, including Boston.

As the storm fully emerges across the Ohio Valley, AccuWeather forecasters expect it to interact with a developing low forming off the Atlantic coast and erupt into a full-blown nor’easter.

“This can allow for snowfall totals to really build up over large areas of the Northeast,”  AccuWeather Meteorologist Brett Rossio said.

Contributing: Joe Taschler and Ricardo Torres, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

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