Snow Set to Snarl NYC Commute, Grounds Hundreds of Flights

Monday, 03 Feb 2014 08:22 AM


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Hundreds of flights across the U.S. are being canceled as a winter storm threatens to drop snow, ice and sleet from Utah to Pennsylvania, including as much as 8 inches (20 centimeters) in New York City.

Light snow began falling in New York before 5 a.m. local time. The storm is expected to have its greatest impact through mid-day, almost certainly tying up flights and making it hard for people to reach work, Bill Goodman, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Upton, New York said yesterday.

“It is going to impact the morning commute,” Goodman said by telephone. “It is going to impact the morning push with people trying to leave the big airports. The real hard-hitting impact will be in the morning.”

As of 6:11 a.m. in New York, 897 flights within, into, or out of the U.S. had been canceled, according to FlightAware, a Houston-based airline tracking company. Philadelphia International Airport had 271 trips stopped, more than any other U.S. airport. Newark Liberty International Airport had 253 cancellations, and New York’s LaGuardia had 150.

Winter storm warnings and advisories stretched from Utah to Pennsylvania this morning. The storm was also expected to drop as much as 8 inches on Ohio. As much as two inches an hour of snow may fall in New Jersey after 8 a.m., the Weather Service said.

Washington may get as much as 8 inches after 4 p.m., and Boston less than 0.5 inch as the storm focuses more on the corridor from Philadelphia to New York.

Forecasts Revised

Goodman said forecasters in New York increased the amount of snow the storm is expected to bring to the city and its suburbs late yesterday. The snow will cut visibility to less than a quarter of a mile and create hazardous driving conditions, according to the Weather Service bulletin.

Temperatures reached 55 degrees Fahrenheit (13 Celsius) in New York’s Central Park yesterday afternoon and had dropped to 34 degrees Fahrenheit at 5:28 a.m. today, according to Weather Service records. Such conditions usually will warm the ground and hold down accumulations when snow follows, Goodman said.

The storm will move across the central U.S., bringing showers and thunderstorms to the Central Gulf Coast tomorrow morning and expanding northward into the Tennessee Valley by Tuesday evening, the weather service said.

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