NEW YORK (PIX11) — The biggest storm of the season takes aim at the tri-state region starting Friday night as a rapidly intensifying nor’easter brings heavy snow, strong winds and coastal flooding. Blizzard Warnings have been issued for Eastern Long Island and the Jersey Shore as winds of over 50 mph and heavy snow will cause white-out conditions.
The city and the surrounding suburbs are under a Winter Storm Warning as the winds and snow will not be as intense as those areas under the Blizzard Warning, but travel will still be hazardous and not advised.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy issued a state of emergency beginning 5 p.m. Friday, he said during a winter storm briefing. Commercial vehicle travel restriction have also been issued beginning 5 p.m. and Murphy announced plans to dismiss all state offices and employees effective 3 p.m.
He and his team are most focused on the south eastern part of the state, where blizzard like conditions are expected.
“I think we’re going to have to ask all you folks for a big dose of patience,” Murphy said. “We are going to need some time to dig out from this thing.”
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul also issued a state of emergeny effective 8 p.m. She urged everyone to stay indoors when possible and get home safely. She also advised motorists to have the appropriate equipment in their vehicles. MTA CEO and Chair Janno Lieber anticipates some lines on the Long Island Rail Road will be suspended overnight into Saturday. The governor advised everyone to stay home if they do not have to travel.
New York City Mayor Eric Adams announced Friday alternate side parking has been suspended for Saturday and vaccination appointments will be rescheduled. The mayor also declared a “code blue” to ensure no one who is homeless and seeking shelter in the city will be denied.
A cold front arrived on Friday morning, which may a few snow showers during the day on Friday. However, the main event is slated to arrive Friday night into Saturday. The frontal boundary will reinforce the extremely cold air setting the stage for snow to accumulate quickly.
Right now, there is confidence that a low-pressure system will develop in the mid-Atlantic and head north. The counterclockwise flow around it will combine the frigid temps to the north and moisture from the Atlantic to make this an all-snow event.
The amount of snow will be determined by where the center of low-pressure tracks. The GFS model indicates that the system will be far enough offshore with little no accumulation across the tri-state.
The New York City Department of Sanitation issued a snow alert for 4 p.m. Friday through Sunday morning; it’s the department’s “higher-level” winter weather message. More than a foot of snow is possible, the department warned.
Up to 18 inches of snow are possible on Long Island, according to forecasts from the National Weather Service. The area could see blizzard-like conditions.
In New York City, northeastern New Jersey and much of the Lower Hudson Valley, less snow is expected. Some areas could see between 6 and 12 inches.
If the eastern-most storm scenario occurs, most of the region could see no snow, with some areas seeing just a few inches. But the potential for this has decreased in the recent models.
Travel will be hazardous. Expect airport delays and cancellations due to strong winds and snow. Tree limbs and power lines could be downed by the storm.
Minor to locally moderate coastal flood impacts and beach erosion will also be a concern, especially during times of high tide.
There’s still some uncertainty in the models in relation to the duration of moderate and heavy snow banding late Friday night into Saturday. A clearer picture is expected to develop over the next 24 hours.
Dry weather returns on Sunday along with bone-chilling temperatures. Winds may continue to be gusty, especially during the morning causing the additional blowing and drifting snow. The risk will diminish as the winds ease during the latter part of the day.
If there is a silver lining to all of this, temperatures are on the climb for next week. We may see temperatures approach 50 during the latter part of the week. As always, stay tuned for updates.