The worst snowstorm of the season moved out of the Northeast on Wednesday, leaving a messy region to dig out, transportation systems to return to normal after thousands of flight delays and cancellations and winter-weary residents to cope with even nastier weather -- biting cold.
From Kentucky to New England, subfreezing temperatures moved in where hours earlier snow fell, clogging roads and upsetting routines in one of the nation’s most populated regions. Especially hard hit was the Interstate 95 corridor that includes the nation’s capital, where many offices were closed, to Philadelphia to metropolitan New York, the nation’s financial and media center.
Snow began falling at midmorning Tuesday in Philadelphia and dumped as much as 14 inches by Wednesday morning, while New York City had slightly less, up to 10 inches. Manalapan, N.J., had the highest snowfall reading with nearly 16 inches, according to the National Weather Service.
“Cold temperatures are settling in behind the storm system that brought more than a foot of snow to some locations from the Mid-Atlantic to New England. Gusty winds will cause wind chills to plummet as far south as Florida. Behind all this, the next clipper system is set to impact the northern Plains today where ground blizzard conditions are forecast," the weather service warned.
“On the East Coast, the biggest snowfall event of the season thus far is wrapping up,” the weather service said. “The developing surface low responsible for this plethora of snowfall is forecast to develop into a strong ocean storm over the Canadian Maritimes. The tightening pressure gradient will result in gusty winds in addition to the snow, thus causing wind chills to plummet.”
Temperatures in the single digits were common throughout the Northeast on Wednesday and few forecasts called for temperatures to rise beyond the low teens. Gusting winds made it feel like the temperature was below zero in many places.
More than 3,000 commercial flights were canceled on Tuesday into and out of some of the nation's busiest airports, including in Washington, Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York and Boston. By Wednesday morning, another 1,600 were canceled and more than 3,500 were delayed, according to the flight tracking website, Flightaware.
Amtrak told passengers on its busiest line, the Northeast Corridor between Washington and Boston, to expect fewer trains.
Earlier in January, the nation was socked by the polar vortex, winds that rage around the North Pole that got out of control and allowed biting cold to move into the Midwest and Northeast. This week’s storm was more typical of the region’s winter pattern, pulling down Arctic air.