Nor'easter a Dud for New York City, But Not New England

What was hyped as one of the worst Nor'easters to hit New York City left Central Park with less than six inches of snow. However, New England and Long Island were not spared. NYC subway, buses, and rail shut down, and driving bans took effect.
January 28, 2015, 5am PST | Irvin Dawid
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New Yorkers were warned on Monday (January 26) night by Mayor Bill De Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo to stay home due to the approaching "crippling and potentially historic" storm that turned into an average storm for most of the downstate region, Long Island excepted.

Subways shut down for the first time since Oct. 28, 2012 when preparations for the touch-down of Hurricane Sandy caused "the largest planned shutdown ever of train and bus service in the U.S." [Planetizen]

"Gov. Charlie Baker of Massachusetts echoed those concerns," according to The New York Times.

“This is a top-five historic storm, and we should treat it as such,” he said. “This is clearly going to be a really big deal.”

The new Massachusetts governor got it right. As of late Tuesday, the blizzard was still dumping snow on Boston and other parts of New England.

"The classic nor’easter was expected to dump as much as 30 inches in Eastern and Southeastern Massachusetts," write Boston Globe metro reporters. "But by early Tuesday afternoon, Framingham, Westford, and Lunenburg had already reached that mark, and several other communities were approaching it."

The storm dropped over 21 inches in Boston, making it one of the ten biggest storms ever recorded in the city’s history.

In New York City area, subway, buses and commuter rail were back in service, though operating on a Sunday schedule. Amtrak service was suspended between Boston and New York City as well as on other New England routes.

So how could the forecasters get it so wrong for New York City?

"The answer, the forecasters say — and they are backed up by atmospheric scientists who do not have any reason to be defensive — is that they were not so wrong," writes Henry Fountain, science writer at The Times.

Computer models predicted that the storm would become extremely powerful, which it did, but the intensification occurred 50 to 100 miles east of where the preferred model predicted it would.

“In the big picture, this was not a bad forecast,” said Adam Sobel, an atmospheric scientist at Columbia University, who agreed that the meteorologists were not too far off. “But if you sit in New York City, this was a bust.”

The pounding that eastern Long Island took is a reminder of why "Long Island can be considered the geographical border between the Mid-Atlantic and New England." [About Long Island]

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Published on Tuesday, January 27, 2015 in The New York Times
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