Main points of the story
Heavy snow is expected from Pennsylvania to Massachusetts on Tuesday
Snowfall rates of 2 inches per hour or more are possible
The weather service warns that travel may be “very difficult or impossible.”
A fast-moving but intense storm could bring the heaviest snowfall in more than two years to parts of the Northeast on Tuesday, including New York City.
But forecasts are difficult and subject to last-minute changes. With heavy snow falling over a narrow area, small shifts in the path will make a big difference in the amount of snow falling.
A nor’easter — an East Coast storm driven by winds from the northeast — was expected to develop Monday night from the same sprawling system that drenched the Gulf Coast and Southeast over the weekend and Monday.
Rain began to fall in New York City by Monday night, and is expected to continue for much of the night before turning to snowfall early Tuesday morning, according to the National Weather Service.
Widespread heavy snowfall is expected to begin overnight into Tuesday from Pennsylvania through southern New York and northern New Jersey, where winter storm warnings have been issued.
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The Weather Prediction Center said more than two inches of snow per hour could fall across the affected area Monday night and Tuesday morning — along with wind gusts of up to 40 mph.
“Travel may be very difficult or impossible. Patchy snowfall could significantly reduce visibility. Hazardous conditions will affect Tuesday morning and evening,” the National Weather Service said in an alert.
The bulk of the snow is expected to be very narrow. Snowfall totals can vary greatly for cities that are only 20 to 30 miles apart, and snow may have difficulty accumulating at first before eventually accumulating quickly due to spring temperatures leading up to the storm.
For New York City, heavy snow is expected north of the densely populated metro. But a slight southward shift in the storm’s track is possible and will mean more snow for the city.
A winter storm warning was issued for the city Monday afternoon — the first in more than two years.
5 to 8 inches is expected in the New York City area. Even if the city only accumulates two inches of snow, it will be the largest storm the city has seen since January 2022.
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On Tuesday, the threat extends to southern New England, where parts of Connecticut, Rhode Island and southern Massachusetts could see significant amounts of snow.
Heavy snowfall in Boston looked a little less likely Monday afternoon as forecast models continue to hint at a southward shift in the storm’s track.
Some heavy snow could end up falling south of Boston, targeting Providence, Rhode Island, or New Haven, Connecticut.
The snowy weather will be a big change of pace for the region, as many cities in the Northeast are dealing with their warmest winter on record. But February is historically the snowiest month of the year for many of the region’s larger cities due to the presence of northern residents like this one.
Moderate coastal flooding is also possible during high tide on Tuesday, as strong winds blow across portions of the New Jersey, New York and New England coasts.
Storm cancels schools and issues travel warnings
Local officials began preparing for snowfall.
The city’s Emergency Management Department said a travel advisory has been issued for New York City from Monday night into Tuesday during heavy snowfall.
“If you don’t have to be on the roads tomorrow, please stay home, and if you are a property owner, remember to clear your sidewalks,” New York City Mayor Eric Adams said in a press release.
Adams said all New York City public schools will operate via distance learning on Tuesday.
Boston Mayor Michelle Wu announced Monday that classes were also canceled Tuesday in Boston Public Schools.
Wu said the city is mobilizing the Department of Public Works to treat roads several inches ahead of expected snow, and that a snow emergency and parking ban will go into effect at 10 p.m.
“Please stay off the roads tomorrow, wherever possible,” Wu said during a news conference on Monday. “Make plans to stay inside, stay off the roads. It looks like it’s going to come down really hard and fast.”
Travel restrictions will likely be imposed in Rhode Island on Tuesday, with specific restrictions scheduled to be announced later Monday afternoon, Rhode Island Gov. Dan McKee said in a news conference Monday.
“This storm will have a significant impact on the commute Tuesday morning and throughout most of the day,” Mackey said.
CNN meteorologists Sarah Tonks, Elissa Rava, Selena Tibor and Sarah Dewberry contributed to this report.