Snow and ice will probably coat the East Coast from Washington to New York later Sunday, snarling rail and road traffic for commuters tomorrow and disrupting air travel throughout the region.
New York City may get as much as seven inches of snow by Monday, with Philadelphia picking up 6 to 10 inches and Baltimore and Washington five inches atop a coating of ice, according to the National Weather Service.
“It doesn’t look as bad for New York as it did a day or two ago,” said Joey Picca, a weather service meteorologist in Upton, N.Y. “It still doesn’t look like a good commute Monday morning.”
The storm is forecast to bring ice to Dallas and snow from Kansas City, Mo., to Indianapolis before arriving on the East Coast later Sunday. Nationwide, 576 flights were already canceled through tomorrow as of 8 p.m. New York time Saturday, said FlightAware, a Houston-based airline tracking service.
The majority of trips scrubbed were out of New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport, the company said.
“Monday morning’s commute will be particularly difficult,” the weather service said in a winter storm watch issued last night covering an area from southern New Jersey to eastern Pennsylvania.
The forecast may change as the day goes on, said Carl Erickson, a senior meteorologist with AccuWeather Inc. in State College, Pennsylvania.
“It is still a fluid situation,” Erickson said.
Erickson said he believes the area from just north of Washington through Wilmington, Del., to Philadelphia may bear the brunt of the storm. As much as 12 inches of snow could fall in that area, which is more than current weather service forecasts show.
“From Washington to Philadelphia, right between those two cities is where you will be closer to a foot,” he said by telephone.
Public Service Enterprise Group Inc., owner of New Jersey’s largest utility, was arranging for tree trimmers and other contractors to supplement its own repair crews, the company said in a statement.
Erickson said the storm is expected to move straight across the U.S. without any swing to the northeast when it hits the Atlantic, which will spare Boston and much of New England from heavy snow.
“It isn’t one of your classic winter storms,” he said. “It isn’t even a strong storm.”
Boston is forecast to get as much as two inches of snow because it will be on the northern edge, said Frank Nocera, a weather service meteorologist in Taunton, Mass. Cape Cod and southern New England may get as much as four inches.
Chicago, also on the northern fringe, was forecast to receive from 2 to 4 inches, according to the weather service.
To the south, the area from Dallas through Little Rock, Arkansas, to Memphis was expected to pick up a coating of ice, Erickson said.
The weather service issued winter storm warnings, watches, and advisories from New Mexico to New Jersey, meaning snow and ice were possible in those areas. Ice storm warnings were posted for parts of Oklahoma, Arkansas and Kentucky, alerting people that power outages might happen and travel may become impossible on untreated roads.
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