Winter Storm Quinn to batter the Northeast

March 06, 2018

Winter Storm Quinn will hammer the storm-weary Northeast with heavy snow and strong winds, triggering additional power outages and tree damage just days after another nor'easter knocked out power to over 2 million.

Quinn has brought heavy snow to the Mountain West since last week and pounded the northern Plains and upper Midwest Monday into Tuesday.

Snowfall and gusty winds from Quinn continue to linger in the upper Midwest as of Tuesday evening. Some light snow has also spread into parts of the interior Northeast.

Tuesday night into Wednesday, the jet stream energy from Quinn will trigger the development of an intensifying area of low pressure near the Northeast coast.

The exact track of that low is still a tad uncertain and is making the snowfall forecasts for parts of the Interstate 95 corridor quite tricky.

Areas closer to the coast have a greater chance of seeing significant accumulating snow from Quinn when compared to Riley.

The National Weather Service has issued winter storm warnings from eastern Pennsylvania and northern New Jersey to central and eastern New York and much of New England. This includes Philadelphia, New York City, Hartford, Albany, Portland and much of the Boston metro area.

A winter weather advisory has also been posted for parts of northwestern Maryland, eastern West Virginia, adjacent portions of western Virginia, northern Maryland, northern Delaware, central Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey, Long Island and southeastern New England, with the exception of Cape Cod.

Quinn's coastal low is not expected to be as powerful or as slow-moving as the one we saw during Winter Storm Riley last week, but it'll still pack a punch. In general, the magnitude of the winds and coastal flooding from Quinn will not rise to the level we saw in Riley.

However, some additional tree damage and power outages cannot be ruled out given the combination of strong winds and heavy, wet snow.

Here's a look at what we know right now about Quinn's potential Northeast impact.

Timing  

Snow from Quinn will first begin to spread into the interior Northeast Tuesday evening and Tuesday night, but the lion's share of the storm will occur Wednesday into Thursday.

Wednesday-Wednesday Night

  • Quinn's coastal low will intensify while tracking northeastward through the day.

  • Snow is likely across the Northeast, but the heaviest snow will be just northwest of where the low-pressure system tracks.

  • A greater likelihood of seeing precipitation remain in the form of snow, rather than beginning as or mixing with rain, is expected near or just west and northwest of Interstate 95 from eastern Pennsylvania and northern New Jersey northeastward into all but far southeastern New England.

  • This snow will become heavy Wednesday into Wednesday night.

  • In the New York City Tri-State area, precipitation is currently forecast to begin as rain or a rain/snow mix, then change over to snow Wednesday, with the Wednesday evening commute most impacted.

  • In the Philadelphia metro area, rain will develop and persist into Wednesday morning, then precipitation should change over to wet snow by early Wednesday afternoon. This will affect the Wednesday evening commute.

  • Farther north, the potential for significant snow in Boston and Providence, Rhode Island, will depend on the track of the low. If the low tracks too close to the coast, rain could cut down on accumulations in those cities, with heavier totals just to their northwest. A farther offshore track of the low would bring heavy snow into those cities.

  • Rain is expected in the southern mid-Atlantic, including the Washington D.C. metro.

Thursday

  • The area of low pressure will track offshore of coastal Maine toward Nova Scotia.

  • Snow is expected from Massachusetts to Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine, likely heavy in northern New England. Rain could mix in near the coast, including in Boston and Portland, Maine.

  • The snow will taper from south to north during the day, lingering in Maine, Vermont and New Hampshire overnight.

  • Gusty winds will continue to affect parts of New England.

Snow Total Forecast

Most of the Northeast near, west and northwest of Interstate 95 from eastern Pennsylvania, northern New Jersey and central and eastern New York to parts of Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine has a good chance of picking up at least 6 inches of snow. 

The heaviest accumulations of a foot of snow or more are most likely from parts of northern New Jersey, the Poconos and the Catskills into western and northern New England, including western and northern Connecticut, western and central Massachusetts, New York's Hudson Valley and parts of southern Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine.

At times, this snow may fall at the rate of 1 to 2 inches per hour or heavier.

The still somewhat uncertain placement of the rain vs. snow line and the timing of the changeover to snow in those areas make the snowfall forecast challenging from southeastern New England to parts of Long Island and the lower Delaware Valley.

A more inland penetration of above-freezing air would lessen snowfall totals near the coast.

Here is how snowfall totals could vary across three major Northeast metro areas: 

  • Boston: Snowfall may range from over a foot in the western suburbs to an inch or less along the south shore.

  • New York City: Accumulations may range from over a foot in parts of northern New Jersey and the lower Hudson Valley to a few inches, if that, in parts of Long Island.

  • Philadelphia: Accumulations may range from over a foot in the far northern suburbs to less than 6 inches closer to the city and in the New Jersey suburbs.

Other Impacts

  • Wind: The strongest winds (gusts at times over 40 mph) from Quinn are expected near and just inland from the immediate Northeast coastline from the Jersey Shore to coastal New England. The winds could contribute to air travel delays and lead to blowing snow. Some power outages and tree damage cannot be ruled out from the combination of heavy, wet snow and gusty winds.

  • Coastal Flooding: Some minor to locally moderate coastal flooding is possible along the Northeast coastline Wednesday and Thursday. The main high tide of concern will be in the pre-dawn hours early Thursday morning. A less intense and more progressive low, along with lower astronomical tides, should keep coastal flooding from reaching the levels we saw during Winter Storm Riley. That said, the battering Riley provided along the coastline may make some areas more vulnerable to any coastal flooding that does occur.

Why Will the 'Q' Storm (Quinn) Affect the Northeast After the 'R' Storm (Riley)?

Winter Storm Quinn was named last Wednesday, Feb. 28, as it began to impact the Sierra Nevada and other parts of the Mountain West with heavy snow and strong winds.

It has been tracking across the country over the last several days, and it will finally conclude its journey as a Northeast coastal storm.

The Weather Channel and weather.com did not assign a name to Winter Storm Riley until early the following morning, Thursday, March 1, when the Buffalo National Weather Service office issued winter storm warnings for about 2.8 million people in western and north-central New York. That exceeded the population criterion (2 million) to name Riley.

Had the naming criteria been reached for last week's nor'easter before it was met for the western storm, last week's nor'easter would have become Quinn and the current storm would be Riley. Since that wasn't the case, the Northeast will actually be impacted by the "Q" storm (Quinn) after the "R" storm (Riley).

With files from The Weather Channel

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