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NYC, Philly: Storm to cause burst of heavy snow

Millions from the Mississippi and Ohio valleys to southern New England are bracing for a storm with the potential for heavy snow that AccuWeather meteorologists have been tracking for at least two weeks. In much of the mid-Atlantic, the storm began as rain Monday night, but an anticipated, quick change to snow brought a rapid accumulation at the tail end of the storm.

A southward shift in the storm track that AccuWeather warned about this past weekend has caused the band of heavier snow to reach the New York City metro area and graze a portion of the Philadelphia area. Residual warmth, a result of recent temperatures in the 50s and 60s, was fighting with the heavy snowfall rates and leading to a wide range in road conditions, ranging from wet to slushy to snow-covered over short distances.

The snow managed to come down at the rate of 1-3 inches per hour into Tuesday midday from New York City to Philadelphia.

"How much snow accumulates in the heart of New York City and Philadelphia will be greatly affected by the rate of snow," AccuWeather Chief On-Air Meteorologist Bernie Rayno said, adding, "Where it snows lightly, the air will not cool so fast, and the snow will melt as it falls on most paved surfaces. However, where it snows at a heavy rate, it can overcome the warm ground, and conditions will transition rapidly from wet to slushy to snow-covered in an hour or two."

New York City Public Schools have announced that Tuesday will be a virtual learning day, according to ABC7.

At this time, Manhattan is projected to pick up about 3 inches of snow, and Philadelphia can expect 1-3 inches. Snow may increase substantially on the northern and western fringes of the metro areas to the more distant northern and western suburbs. From 6 to 10 inches will fall just north and west of New York City with 3-6 inches in the boroughs surrounding Manhattan, especially on non-paved surfaces. Snowfall will increase to the north and west of Philadelphia with the Lehigh Valley picking up 6 inches.

Airline passengers should expect flight delays due to deicing operations. Some flights may be cancelled nationwide as crews and aircraft are displaced in the Northeast hubs from New York City to Boston and Philadelphia. In areas where several inches of snow falls and melts during the day, runoff may freeze each night, leaving dangerous icy patches for motorists and pedestrians.

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Whether roads are just wet in some neighborhoods or blanketed with several inches in others, the pattern this week and the next will favor more seasonable temperatures and additional opportunities for snow or mixed precipitation events.

Colder air will filter across the Northeast in the wake of the early-week storm. Typical highs this time of the year are within a few degrees of 40 F with overnight lows ranging from the upper 20s to the lower 30s. The colder, more seasonable conditions will allow some who enjoy winter sports, such as skiing, to hit the slopes through the end of the month.

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