NEW YORK — UPDATE: See the latest snowstorm updates for Thursday here now.
A nor’easter is causing the first major snowstorm of the season to bear down on the tri-state area, potentially dumping a foot or more of snow in some parts, with frigid temperatures, gusty winds and possible sleet making conditions even worse Wednesday into Thursday.
By Wednesday night, about 4 to 6 inches have fallen across the five boroughs, Long Island and much of New Jersey. Some parts of the area, though, have seen 5 to 6 inches. Others received accumulation of 2 to 4 inches.
As of 12:05 a.m. Thursday, 6.5 inches of snow had fallen in Central Park, according to the National Weather service.
— NWS New York NY (@NWSNewYorkNY) December 17, 2020
In just one day, Central Park had eclipsed the amount of snow it saw in the entire 2019-2020 winter season.
Look for the storm to continue to barrel its way through the region through the overnight hours and into Thursday morning. Most of the precipitation should remain as snow for the five boroughs, the western suburbs of New Jersey and upstate New York, though some mix is possible — but parts of Long Island and southern New Jersey could see a changeover to rain, freezing rain or sleet. That could change back to snow into Thursday morning.
Snow accumulations for the city are expected to be in the 6 to 10-inch range by the time the storm moves out Thursday morning near 9 a.m.; the western New Jersey suburbs and upstate New York will see 12 to 18 inches, eastern Long Island will be in the 3 to 6-inch range, and southern New Jersey will see about 2 to 4 inches.
A winter storm warning went into effect at 2 p.m. and is set to last through early Thursday afternoon for New York City, areas north of the city, Long Island and much of northeast New Jersey and Connecticut.
In New Jersey, Gov. Phil Murphy signed an executive order declaring a state of emergency beginning at 2 p.m. Flakes began in Monmouth County, NJ just before 1 p.m. and became heavier across the area after that. Newark issued its own state of emergency.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said earlier Wednesday that a state of emergency would begin at 6 p.m. for counties north of NYC, but one was never declared.
Light snow fell, as forecast, between 1 and 3 p.m. Substantial snowfall then began between 4 and 6 p.m., moving south to north, making for a dangerous commute during the evening rush. Snow steadily continued after 6 p.m. along with strong winds.
Several inches of snow had accumulated in areas across the region by 10 p.m.
The storm progressed from southwest to northeast as it slammed into the region. The storm regrouped to our south and is expected to pick up again as it moves north and east.
Snowfall will be widespread with heavy banding over the tri-state area expected through the night. It is possible that some areas may accumulate snow an average of 1-3 inches per hour. However, heavy snow rates aren’t the only concern.
Even though there could be some mixing during the overnight period along the south shore of Long Island, expect heavy snowfall with wind out conditions further inland, the five boroughs as well as north and west of the city.
Strong winds are slated to arrive late Wednesday night into Thursday. The winds combined with snow will cause blizzard conditions and snow drifts. Visibility will also be significantly reduced causing dangerous travel conditions.
Expect heavy snow, freezing temperatures, blizzard conditions, damaging winds and coastal flooding across the tri-state area.
The storm is slated to taper off by about 9 a.m. Thursday
Wednesday morning’s commute was not impacted by the storm, but conditions could get messy for the commute home.
Possible snow totals
Total snow accumulations will be highly dependent on how much sleet mixes with snow overnight.
New York City could see up to a foot of snow, while between 6 and 10 inches is more likely. The suburbs north and west of the city could get 12 to 18 inches, and western Long Island could see 4 to 8 inches.
Cuomo warned pockets of the state can expect as much as 24 inches.
Just an inch to a few inches of snow, with a wintry mix, is expected for eastern Long Island and the Jersey Shore.
See how New York City is preparing for the storm:
Possible power outages in New York
Con Edison spokesperson Alfonso Quiroz told the PIX11 Morning News how the utility company has prepared for Wednesday’s storm, including having over 200 mutual-aid crews from around the country at the ready to help ConEd crews.
ConEd warns New Yorkers to stay away from down lines that could be hidden by snow. Plus, ConEd is advising customers to sign up for text alerts at ConEd.com/text to get the latest updates and to help report outages.
Gusty winds are expected to be a major factor during the nor’easter.
Next, see how New Jersey prepared for the storm:
In New York City, students will not get a snow day due to the nor’easter. Instead, they’ll learn from home, per a Department of Education plan.