A coastal storm pushed a band of snow into the states around New York City as winds and flooding threatened the region still recovering from damage caused by Hurricane Sandy.
Snow was falling at a rate of about 1 inch (2.5 centimeters) per hour and was forecast to taper off as it hit a broader area, according to the U.S. National Weather Service. More than 6 inches were reported in areas of New Haven, Connecticut, at about 10:55 p.m. local time yesterday.
The so-called nor’easter caused the cancellation of more than 1,700 flights, prompted the Long Island Rail Road to suspend all services and threatened to exacerbate power outages that have prevailed since Sandy struck on Oct. 29 near Atlantic City, New Jersey. There were 672,572 customers without power in the Northeast, according to the latest U.S. Energy Department report at 3 p.m. yesterday. That was up 22,156 from earlier in the day.
“We’re seeing a heavy band moving over parts of New York City now, over the Bronx and upper Manhattan,” Brian Ciemnecki, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Upton, New York, said by telephone. Coastal flooding is “scheduled to touch minor benchmarks with tonight’s high tide in a bunch of locations.”
The storm may delay efforts to restore power and possibly cause further blackouts, according to a statement from Consolidated Edison Inc. (ED:US), which provides electricity to New York City and Westchester County.
Sandy struck the U.S. and Caribbean last week, killing at least 177 people, according to the Associated Press. The storm hit New York and New Jersey as it came ashore Oct. 29. About 8.5 million homes and businesses were without power at its peak and may have caused as much as $20 billion in insured damage, according to Hiscox Ltd. (HSX), the biggest Lloyd’s of London insurer by market value.
A surge of 2.5 to 5 feet is forecast along the coast of New Jersey to Long Island, said Lauren Nash, a National Weather Service meteorologist. In New York City’s Battery Park, which flooded last week during Sandy, the surge may send water about 3 feet above the normal high-tide mark, which constitutes moderate flooding, Nash said.
That would be lower than the record 13.88 feet set on Oct. 29 at Sandy’s peak, according to the weather service.
Shore towns in New York and New Jersey ordered evacuations ahead of the nor’easter. Residents in communities from Toms River to Highlands, New Jersey, were told to leave threatened parts, according to website postings yesterday. On New York’s Long Island, Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano ordered evacuations from flood or storm-surge zones. Islip officials directed people to leave Fire Island and waterfront neighborhoods.
“The sand dunes have been removed by Sandy,” said Paul Walker, a meteorologist with AccuWeather Inc. in State College, Pennsylvania. The water won’t be “as high as Sandy but with the dunes gone there are going to be some problems caused by coastal flooding with this storm,” he said.
The storm’s sustained winds are expected to be 20 to 25 miles (32 to 40 kilometers) per hour, with gusts as intense as 60 mph in some areas, Nash said earlier.
Most of the flights that have been canceled are to and from Newark, followed by New York’s La Guardia and John F. Kennedy airports, according to FlightAware.com, a Houston-based airline tracking company.
United Continental Holdings Inc. (UAL:US), the world’s biggest air carrier, suspended most flights to and from the New York area for 24 hours starting at midday local time. AMR Corp.’s American Airlines, based in Fort Worth, Texas, and its American Eagle regional partner grounded 365 flights, stopping service in Philadelphia at noon local time yesterday and at 3 p.m. in New York.
Delta Air Lines Inc. scrapped 200 flights, while US Airways Group Inc. canceled 237 yesterday and today. Both carriers warned the numbers may rise. Dallas-based Southwest Airlines Co. suspended about 50 and JetBlue Airways Corp., whose biggest airport operation is at Kennedy, grounded 16 flights. The carriers expect to resume service today.
While the storm is typical for late autumn, it has caught the public’s attention because it comes so soon after Sandy, said Tom Downs, a meteorologist at Weather 2000 Inc. in New York.
“With everything that happened last week, everyone is over-sensitive,” Downs said by telephone. “There might be a little more flooding than we typically see.”
There’s no estimated time for restoration of service on the Long Island Rail Road, NotifyNYC said in an e-mail. The commuter-rail service links Manhattan with communities across Long Island, to the easternmost tip of Suffolk County.
The storm may bring as much as 2 inches of snow to Manhattan and possibly 4 inches to interior regions of the East Coast from Maryland to Maine, according to the weather service.
Philadelphia may get 4 inches, while Baltimore may see an inch of snowfall, according to the service.
The mountains in New York to New Hampshire may get as much as 6 inches, though the storm probably won’t signal an early start to the ski season because temperatures will rise this weekend, causing the snow to melt, Walker said.
A gradual improvement in the weather will begin in New York and the mid-Atlantic states, Walker said.
Temperatures are forecast to rise to the mid-50s Fahrenheit (about 13 degrees Celsius) in many areas of the Northeast after the storm, Walker said. The high in New York City may be 61 on Nov. 11.
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