Blizzard heads New York’s way; could bring 2 feet of snow and 60 mph winds

Posted at 10:41 AM, Mar 12, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-12 22:09:29-04

NEW YORK – A powerful storm promising to pack a huge punch is heading New York's way, bringing with it up to 2 feet of snow and dangerously strong wind gusts to start the new week.

The National Weather Service has issued a blizzard watch for a major snowstorm due to arrive in parts of the area late Monday into Tuesday. The winter storm is expected to bring strong and gusty winds, with snow accumulations between 12 and 18 inches for New York City, Long Island, southern Westchester, southern Fairfield, southern New Haven, Middlesex and New London counties.

Gusts will be 35 to 50 mph in the New York and New Jersey metro region. They'll be even stronger -- up to 60 mph -- across eastern Long Island.

The watch officially begins late Monday night.

The NWS on Sunday afternoon upgraded its winter storm watch to a winter storm warning for a larger area that includes much of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, upstate New York and New England. That warning goes into effect late Monday night.

A coastal flood watch will go into effect on Tuesday, with tides 2 to 3 feet above astronomical tides, the NWS said.

Officials in New York City and Hoboken are not taking any chances. The NYC emergency management department issued a hazardous travel advisory for Tuesday as the nor'easter makes his way to our area.

“We’re preparing for a significant storm on Tuesday, and New Yorkers should also prepare for snow and dangerous road conditions,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said. “Besides the snow, it will be cold. We urge you to avoid unnecessary travel and help keep roads clear for Sanitation crews and first responders.”

“Heavy snow will make travel difficult on Tuesday. New Yorkers should avoid driving and use mass transit when possible,” said NYC Emergency Management Commissioner Joseph Esposito. “We are working closely with our agency partners to coordinate the City’s preparations for the storm.”

The city is pre-deploying 689 salt spreaders across the five boroughs and more than 1,600 plows will be dispatched when more than two inches accumulate.

Hoboken's city of emergency management declared a snow emergency and is prohibiting parking on snow routes beginning at 8 p.m. Monday until further notice.

The severe weather comes just a week after the region saw temperatures climb into the 60s in what looked like a sign of balmy spring. It will remain cold through the weekend with temperatures struggling to get to the freezing mark on Sunday. Monday should be decent as well as the sun gives way to increasing clouds but it will be dry through the day.

Monday and night and Tuesday will see a “significant” amount of snow, however, it's still not certain how significant it will be.

All weather maps are indicating we are in for a storm developing late Monday night and lasting through Tuesday night. It has the makings of a strong coastal storm, and all the potential to become a full fledged nor’easter.

This storm will require three ingredients to get together at the perfect time: Gulf moisture, a cold injection of energy from Canada and a Pacific storm sending its energy eastward to meet up.

In the world of meteorology, it’s like threading a needle, but when it does happen, that’s when memorable storms are made. All those pieces have to get together at just the right time. We’re pretty certain these systems will form into one big one along the mid Atlantic coast but the track from there will be very critical.

If it takes a perfect path to about 100 miles off Long Island, snow lovers will rejoice with the biggest snowfall of the season. Perhaps a foot or two with gale force winds and blowing and drifting snow.

Most maps are showing this track. However, a few other models are indicating a more northward track, up the coast which would carry warmer air into our region so the snow would change to rain for several hours and knock back the accumulations substantially.

There is also still a small chance that the track could be farther south and east and only fringe our area with a plowable but much more manageable snow. However, that is the least likely scenario right now.

PIX11 will keep you updated as new information keeps coming in. For now, just be alert to the possibility of needing to change plans for the first few days of this upcoming week.