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Late Snow Storm Hits Northeast U.S.

By: Shaun Tanner , 5:38 AM GMT on April 23, 2012

It wasn't that long ago, just last October, when a mighty early Autumn storm rolled through the Northeast and brought with it a healthy dose of snow. Places like Central Park, NY received inches of snow that not only broke daily snowfall records, but also snowfall records for the entire month of October...in one day.

One could easily have assumed, based upon that one storm and the previous Winter of 2010-2011, that the Winter of 2011-2012 would be one for the record books. Mother Nature does not like to be predicted that far in advance, and instead of a treacherous Winter, the Northeast and much of the rest of the country was treated to a mild, dry season.

Flash forward to tomorrow, Monday. The Arctic Oscillation that has kept the cold, polar air to the north of the country for the last several months is finally allowing some cold air to be pulled down into the eastern half of the United States. The result will be something that looks a lot like, well, Winter.

An intense 988 mb storm is pounding the Northeast Monday, centered around New York City. This storm will have several consequences.

Let the Rain Fall

Having originated over the Gulf of Mexico and coming from the Atlantic Ocean, this storm will have ample moisture. Most of this moisture will fall to the ground as rain, with over 3 inches possible in coastal areas of New England Monday. Nearly 3 inches are possible in the New York City area through Monday afternoon, this after 2 inches of rain fell on Sunday. Below is the precipitation forecast through Monday afternoon.

Coastal areas from New Jersey through southern Maine are under Flood Watches. Areas prone to flooding most likely will have flooding during and after this event, so please be aware. Remember, it is never safe to drive through standing water.

Severe weather watches and warnings in the Northeast. Note the green along the coast are Flood Watches. The white represent Winter Storm Warnings and Freeze Warnings.


This storm is carrying quite a cold pool of air with it that is producing substantial snow for parts of the Northeast. Weather Underground has a great daily snowfall predictor that is predicting up to 18 inches of snow in some of the higher elevations close to the border of Pennsylvania and New York. The white boxes in the severe weather map above denote where the Winter Storm Warnings are posted. These are warning of up to 18 inches of snow along with intense northeast to northwest winds up to 40 mph. This could create visibility problems for areas receiving this fresh new snow.

Current temperatures. Note where the cold air is.

There is absolutely no doubt that snowfall records will be broken by the time the storm is over. Places like Pittsburgh, PA have daily snowfall records of only 0.50 inches, making it possible to break many records with just a little bit of snow.

Ohio Valley Cold

The cold air to the west of the all of the aforementioned precipitation will create hazards itself Monday morning. Sub-freezing temperatures into the 20s are possible from northern Illinois through western Ohio, marking the second time in a couple months that the agriculture in the area could be hit by damaging frost. I believe it is safe to say that farmers in the area are taking any precautions necessary to protect their crops.

Below is an image of the expected mornings temperatures for the northeastern portion of the country. Note the widespread light blues, which represent freezing or sub-freezing temperatures.

Stay dry, warm, and safe, friends!

The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.

Reader Comments

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5. iceagecoming
6:09 PM GMT on April 28, 2012
Memorial Day time frame has been sage advice according to the old farmer's almanac in Dublin NH since the 1792. For New England at least.

"Recognized for generations by its familiar yellow cover, The Old Farmers Almanac is back for 2012 with its signature mix of timeless wisdom and timely predictions. Chock-full of useful information and classic wit, this edition features home hints, garden advice, fascinating facts, tips for outdoors enthusiasts, and recipes, plus its famous 80 percent accurate weather forecasts. (Using a secret formula based on sunspots, weather patterns and meteorology, the almanac points to a milder-than-normal winter in the southwestern half of the country, with a warmer-than-normal summer in most areas, except the heartland and the Southeast.) The Old Farmers Almanac is one of America's favorite traditions!"

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4. Fieldofflowers
2:57 PM GMT on April 23, 2012
Yeah but the perennials sprouted up themselves. I don't want to lose the blossoms on my columbines or kill the Chrysanthemum that came up from last fall. We don't have any fruit trees in our yard, but all of those in the neighborhood have already bloomed and are trying to set fruit. All the trees in our city have set their leaves since late March.

I really worry about what a heavy freeze and snow will do to all those plants.
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3. suzi46
2:40 PM GMT on April 23, 2012
we NEVER plant ANYTHING until after Memorial Day..no matter HOW mild the weather has been..that's been the 'Rule of Thumb' going back over 60 yrs..and it hasn't changed yet!!
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2. Fieldofflowers
6:35 AM GMT on April 23, 2012
So the pendulum swings back... ugh. I gather fruit (peaches, apples, etc) will be expensive and hard to find this coming season, right?

When will this risk of freezing weather end? I'm getting tired of having to cover up my plants that sprouted way too early in March.
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6:20 AM GMT on April 23, 2012
and the wacky weather of 2012 continues
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Wunderground Meteorologist Shaun Tanner

About shauntanner

Shaun Tanner has been a meteorologist at Weather Underground since 2004.

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