Another winter storm hits East Coast; more cold temps coming
Feb. 22, 2015
The latest in a seemingly unending parade of snowstorms moved over the East Coast on Saturday, dropping a wintry mix as far south as northern Georgia and potentially causing more headaches for snow-weary New England.
The National Weather Service said the storm was expected to bring 6 inches or more of snow to some areas in the Northeast by Sunday morning. By Saturday night, about 8 inches had fallen in Baltimore, while Washington had 5 inches and New York City had 2. Once the storm leaves, another round of bitter cold temperatures will linger across the region for most of the upcoming week.
The storm caused hassles all over: Rain and above-freezing temperatures in Tennessee prompted state emergency officials to warn of possible flash flooding from melting snow. Officials in the Washington area, where 4 to 8 inches was expected, urged drivers to avoid unnecessary travel. Blowing snow swirled through the streets of Philadelphia and New York City.
"The arctic air mass we've been dealing with means this storm will overachieve," said Lance Franck, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service office in Mount Holly, New Jersey.
The Federal Aviation Administration briefly issued a ground stop on Saturday to keep flights from taking off for Philadelphia International Airport because of reduced visibility and high winds, airport spokeswoman Mary Flannery said.
She said about 20 percent of the flights into and out of the airport were canceled, and many others were delayed. The FAA was reporting that the three airports in the New York metropolitan area, Washington Dulles International Airport and Memphis International Airport in Tennessee also were experiencing significant delays because of the weather.
As much as 8 inches of snow was possible in some inland areas of the Northeast, while areas farther south and closer to the coast were expecting a wintry mix of snow, sleet, freezing rain and rain.
Brittany Thayer, 20, was buying winter boots at Lenny's Shoe and Apparel in Barre, Vermont, on Saturday as the snow was just starting to fall.
"I think it's stupid," she said of the snow. "I'm ready for spring."
The eastern United States did not have the market cornered on misery, however: A winter storm is threatening to bring 2 feet or more of snow to parts of Colorado by the beginning of the work week. Heavy snow up to 3 inches an hour began falling Saturday on the Front Range, while in Wyoming, a 50-mile stretch of Interstate 80 between Cheyenne and Laramie was closed.
The wintry precipitation could create more issues in New England, which has been slammed by several strong storms in recent weeks — Boston has seen more than 8 feet of snow. Three to 6 inches of fresh snow was forecast for much of New England, as well as a wintry mix including rain as temperatures climb.
Kim Buttrick, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Taunton, Massachusetts, said existing snowpack will become heavier as it absorbs any rain that does fall and endanger strained roofs.
"It especially will be problematic for flat roofs," she said. "On a sloped roof, with that loading, the weight of the snow may just come falling down, and could be a hazard with icicles. It could also take the gutters with it."
The higher temperatures won't last, either.
"We have a little teaser with this warmup," Buttrick said, "but temperatures are going to go back to being below normal on Monday and Tuesday."
Shipkowski reported from New Jersey. Associated Press writer Lisa Rathke in Vermont contributed to this report.