ARLINGTON, Va. — A powerful winter storm that hammered the West last week roared through the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic over the weekend before merging with another system that will pummel parts of the East Coast on Monday.
Blizzard conditions with up to 2 feet of snow were possible for some areas.
Almost 80 million people were under winter storm warnings, watches and advisories. Major Eastern cities including Washington, Baltimore, Philadelphia and New York City were bracing for the biggest snowfall of the season, Accuweather warned.
At least one state has already declared a state of emergency: New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said Sunday that the state would enter a state of emergency beginning at 7 p.m.
Snow accumulation in the state has already begun, with the heaviest snow expected to fall in the state Monday. In response, all New Jersey transit and its six vaccine megasites will be closed Monday.
“Heavy snow, coastal flooding, and high winds are expected in many parts of the state,” Murphy said. “The safety of residents and workers is our utmost priority. Please follow all weather-related guidance and stay off the roads in order to allow access for emergency personnel.”
The snow started before dawn Sunday in Washington and made its way into the Northeast. Washington hasn’t had a major snowstorm in almost two years but could see 5 inches of snow before a mixture of ice, sleet and freezing rain caps off the storm Tuesday.
In suburban Arlington, students won’t gett a snow day Monday. It’s a teacher grading day, and classes here, like many across the nation because of the pandemic, are almost all online. Learning in Arlington no longer halts for inclement weather.
“It’s hard to expect students to focus when there is a fresh blanket of snow just outside their windows,” said Bill Drake, a math teacher at Washington-Liberty High School. “It will be interesting to see how much work gets done on Tuesday.”
All was quiet in New York City, but snow was not forecast to stop Monday until about a foot had fallen. Eight to 18 inches of snowfall was forecast for the Hudson Valley and across upstate New York.
“Another storm system is set to impact New York with potentially heavy snow, strong winds and possibly coastal flooding downstate,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo warned. “I am urging all New Yorkers to … begin preparing their households for this latest round of winter weather.”
Cuomo directed state agencies to prepare for the worst and to be ready to assist local governments that could be overwhelmed in coming days. He said utility companies would be monitored to “ensure any power outages are addressed immediately.”
The storm has maintained its fury since sweeping through much of the West, slamming California with heavy rains and the mountains with feet of snow. The system then rolled across the Midwest.
Chicago could get a foot before it stops Monday. Wind gusts of up to 30 mph and a Lakeshore flood advisory compounded problems.
The National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning for the Milwaukee metro area, as well as counties along the Illinois border. Milwaukee was pounded with 10 inches of snow Saturday night into Sunday. This snowstorm, plus heavy snow that fell in the area Tuesday, left snow depth totals above 15 inches in many areas.
“That’s more snow than we’ve seen in a decade,” said Chris Stumpf, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Sullivan, Wisconsin.
‘More snow than we’ve seen in a decade’: About 10 inches of snowfall hit areas around Milwaukee
Winter storm warnings were in effect Sunday from North Carolina to Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Winter storm watches remained in place for other parts of the Northeast and New England, including Boston.
As the storm fully emerges across the Ohio Valley, AccuWeather forecasters expect it to interact with a developing low forming off the Atlantic coast and erupt into a full-blown nor’easter.
“This can allow for snowfall totals to really build up over large areas of the Northeast,” AccuWeather Meteorologist Brett Rossio said.
Contributing: Joe Taschler and Ricardo Torres, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel