As you may have heard, the National Weather Service has issued a blizzard warning for the city and surrounding suburbs from midnight tonight until midnight tomorrow. The culprit is an unusually deep and wide nor'easter that is expected to form off the Carolinas this evening and pass south of the city and Long Island tomorrow. Before the storm arrives we should have a sunny, cool and windy afternoon. For today, the anniversary of 1993's storm of the century, the high will be in the mid 30s with wind chills closer to 20 degrees. High clouds later today will be the first sign of the developing storm.
Tomorrow's storm is showing all the signs of becoming a classic nor'easter. A low has formed in the Gulf of Mexico, as it moves east it will transfer its energy and moisture to a secondary low forming off of the Outer Banks of North Carolina this evening. That secondary low will become the nor'easter as a trough in the jet stream causes it to explode in intensity. When the storm approaches New York and New England it will push all its moisture and energy up over the cold air mass that has been in place the last few days, releasing all sorts of precipitation.
As of now, the storm's path just south of Montauk should give the city one- to two-feet of snow. Snowfall rates could be around 2-4 inches per hour for several hours Tuesday morning. As is often the case with nor'easters there will likely be a sharp boundary, as shown on the map above, between snow to the west and rain to the east. For now that boundary is expected to be at the eastern end of Long Island. A jog a bit further west than expected could turn our snow into rain as the storm progresses.
Along with the snow we can expect northeasterly winds at 35-40 mph. The combination of falling and blowing snow will make travel nearly impossible as visibility will be reduced to near whiteout conditions. Plows will also not be able to keep up with the blowing and drifting snow.
The snow will wind down tomorrow evening as the storm heads away from New England. In the storm's wake it looks like we will have an extended period of cold weather. Wednesday will be the coldest day with a high only in the 20s but any return to 50 degree weather, let alone 60 or 70 degrees, won't happen anytime soon.