A powerful nor’easter is expected to bring heavy snow, strong winds and coastal flooding to parts of the Northeast this week, prompting New York Gov. Kathy Hochul to declare a state of emergency on Monday. The governor urged residents to stay home, be safe and take the storm seriously, as it could cause travel difficulties and power outages across the state. The storm, which is forecast to impact eastern parts of New York from Monday night to Wednesday morning, could dump up to three feet of snow in some mountain regions and up to three inches in New York City. Hochul said she has activated the state’s emergency operations center and deployed resources and personnel to assist local governments and utilities. She also advised New Yorkers to sign up for emergency alerts and prepare for possible disruptions. The governor said she will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates as needed.
Schools closed, flights canceled
The winter storm forced many schools in the Northeast to close or switch to remote learning on Tuesday, disrupting the plans of students and parents. Some colleges and universities also canceled classes or moved them online. The storm also affected air travel, as hundreds of flights were canceled or delayed at major airports in the region, including Boston, New York, Philadelphia and Newark. Travelers were advised to check their flight status before heading to the airport and to expect possible disruptions.
Power outages, coastal flooding
The heavy, wet snow combined with strong winds posed a threat to power lines and trees, causing widespread power outages in some areas. According to PowerOutage.us, more than 100,000 customers were without electricity in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Connecticut as of Tuesday morning. Utility crews were working to restore service as quickly as possible, but some customers could face prolonged outages. The storm also brought coastal flooding to some parts of the Northeast, especially along the Long Island Sound and the Jersey Shore. High tides and storm surges caused water levels to rise above normal, inundating roads and properties.
Climate change link
Some scientists have suggested that the recent increase in winter storms in the Northeast could be linked to climate change. A study published in 2018 found a strong relationship between episodes of Arctic warming and severe winter weather events in the Northeast. The researchers argued that when the Arctic warms faster than the mid-latitudes, it disrupts the jet stream and allows cold air to spill southward, creating favorable conditions for snowstorms. Another study published in 2020 found that climate change could make nor’easters more intense and frequent by increasing the moisture available for precipitation. The authors warned that this could have significant impacts on infrastructure, transportation and public health in the region.