Don’t put away the boots, coats, hats and gloves just yet as there is more winter weather to go in the wake of the most recent nor’easter.
For millions of people in the northeastern United States, much of the rest of this week will look and feel like the middle of February, rather than the middle of March.
The nor’easter currently blasting New England will slow and stall over southeastern Canada. The strong circulation around the storm will create blustery and cold conditions, cause snow to linger in the northern tier and allow snow squalls to reach hundreds of miles from the Great Lakes.
Cold air, wind to be relentless this week
While many people have gotten used to the cold weather at this point of the season, those without power for an extended period will run the risk of hypothermia. People in this situation should consider staying with friends, relatives or at a hotel where the power is on.
Instead of average highs in the 40s and 50s F this week, highs most days will be in the low 30s to the low 40s. AccuWeather RealFeel® Temperatures are expected to be 10-20 degrees lower than the actual temperature at times.
Soon after the cold flow of air from Canada eases a bit on Thursday, a reinforcing blast of cold air is forecast to follow on Friday.
The cold and windy conditions will add to the difficulty for crews trying to restore power in the wake of the three major storms this month.
For much of the region, the period from Friday to Saturday morning is likely to bring the lowest temperatures of the week.
Actual temperatures may dip into the single digits over the mountains of the interior Northeast, while lows Saturday morning will be in the 20s in the inner cities of the Interstate 95 corridor.
Snow to accompany cold at times
Even after the steady snow diminishes, flurries and heavier snow squalls will be a hazard for motorists traveling on highways that are generally free of snow.
“The steadiest lake-effect snow will fall downwind of lakes Erie and Ontario across central and western New York,” according to AccuWeather Meteorologist Steve D. Travis. “Some areas will pick up 6-12 inches of snow or more into Thursday due to the persistent lake-effect snow squalls.”
Blowing and drifting snow will be a problem for crews and motorists from upstate New York to New England.
“Outside of these areas, a few squalls will also move across Michigan, northern Ohio, Pennsylvania and even western New England,” Travis said. “Although these squalls won’t bring much accumulation, they can still be dangerous by producing a brief period of intense snow, gusty winds and low visibility.”
Motorists should be prepared for whiteout conditions and road conditions that change from dry to wet to snow-covered in a matter of seconds.
Snow showers may reach as far to the southeast as the mid-Atlantic and New England coasts.
The only force working against the wintry conditions will be the March sun.
Even where air temperatures stay below freezing in the northern tier and over the ridges, natural melting of the snow cover will occur during the midday and afternoon hours.
Freeze, thaw cycles to create hazards
Any runoff and wet areas will freeze during the evening. Where these surfaces are left untreated, the black ice will remain for the morning commute.
The days following a major snowstorm are often the most treacherous for pedestrians due to the inconsistent areas of ice. Areas that may have been wet walking home may be icy walking to work or school the next morning.
Property owners are encouraged to apply ice melting compounds on any wet areas in the evening to avoid possible injury from passersby at night and the following morning.
The latest indications are that the Northeast may not be done with winter storms and bursts of cold air just yet even after spring officially begins early next week.
The 2018 spring equinox is on Tuesday, March 20, at 12:15 p.m.
Skiers will be able to enjoy an extended season. A number of the major resorts may be able to keep trails open into the Easter Sunday weekend.