New Yorkers woke up on Wednesday morning to a relatively dry city. The several inches of snow that were forecasted to fall had not yet arrived, and residents believed that they were spared from the wrath of a second nor'easter in a one-week span.
But that couldn’t be further from the case.
The National Weather Service is still projecting up to a foot of snow in parts of New York City on Wednesday, with a bulk of it falling in the midafternoon and heavily impacting evening commutes. At its peak, powder is expected to fall at rates of one to two inches per hour, and the NWS has said that thundersnow is a possibility during that stretch.
During the time of the heaviest snowfall this afternoon, thundersnow is a possibility. Snowfall rates of 1-2" per hour, with locally higher rates (2"+per hour) are also possible primarily after noon within the heaviest snow bands.— NWS New York NY (@NWSNewYorkNY) March 7, 2018
Thundersnow, for those who were unaware that such a phrase existed, rarely occurs on the East Coast—it’s more of a Midwestern phenomenon that can sometimes accompany lake-effect snow. It typically occurs in late winter when ground temperatures begin to warm up and is not unlike a conventional thunderstorm (except, you know, there’s snow instead of rain).
Like Friday’s storm, this week’s is sure to cause travel headaches across the region. As of 9am this morning, JFK, LaGuardia and Newark Liberty International airports were all reporting hundreds of cancellations as a result of the storm. Tens of thousands of homes in Westchester County and upstate New York are still without power as a result of last week’s storm, and Wednesday’s blizzard is only expected to make that situation even worse. The MTA is also preparing for service delays and changes on the Metro-North, Long Island Rail Road and subway.
If you scoffed at the weather gods this morning, it might be a good time to repent. This storm does not look like it’s messing around.
Steady snow will develop late this morning and afternoon, with the greatest impacts during the evening commute. This is the latest model run from the HRRR. pic.twitter.com/qcuWgo0qu5— NWS New York NY (@NWSNewYorkNY) March 7, 2018