If you have the same kind of lovingly over-protective family as I do, you likely received a number of texts yesterday through this morning reading something like: "Girls MAJOR snowstorm predict for NYC ! Make sure you get supplies and are ready!! Blizzard tomorrow evening all through the night! You need to be prepared. Alert!!!!" And even though your mother is charmingly daffy, you kind of do have to listen to her in this case.
At around 3:30 a.m. on Monday, the National Weather Service issued blizzard warnings throughout the Northeast, including in Boston, Hartford, Providence and New York City, for what the organization is calling a "crippling and potentially historic blizzard" which is expected to really begin Monday evening into Tuesday. The the announcement says to expect heavy snow and blowing snow with blizzard conditions, with snow accumulation from 18 to 24 inches and possibly higher in New York, and up to 36 inches in Boston and Providence, temperatures in the low 20s and wind gusts up to 55 miles per hour.
The warning for New York City reads:
Light snow will begin this morning... with accumulations of 1 to 3 inches possible by sunset. Snow will pick up in intensity Monday evening... with the heaviest snow and strongest winds from about midnight into Tuesday afternoon.
Impacts... Life-threatening conditions and extremely dangerous travel due to heavy snowfall and strong winds... with whiteout conditions. Many roads may become impassable. Strong winds may down power lines and tree limbs.
Technically, a blizzard occurs when winds blowing at least 35 miles per hour blow around snow, drastically reducing visibility to one-quarter mile or less for at least three consecutive hours. The Vane's Dennis Mersereau describes the weather phenomenon as "a sustained whiteout that can be disorienting and lethal if you're caught outside unprotected and unprepared."
Don't even think about flying into one of the affected areas-- according to FlightAware.com, 2,621 flights have been canceled on Monday with over 3,000 delays, while 2,845 flights have been preemptively canceled for Tuesday.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio echoed our parents' concerns when he urged caution and preparedness. "I want everyone to understand that we are facing most likely one of the largest snowstorms in the history of this city," he said in a press conference on Sunday. "My message to all New Yorkers is to prepare for something worse than we have seen before. Prepare to be safe. Take every precaution. Now is the time to get ready for this extreme weather. Don't underestimate this storm."