Spring Weather? Snowstorm? New York Schools to Close on Thursday

Joshua Bright for The New York Times
Joshua Bright for The New York Times
The topsy-turvy weather in New York City saw a record-setting 62 degrees on Wednesday, but a significant snowstorm expected to move in overnight prompted Mayor Bill de Blasio to close schools on Thursday.

The announcement came after the National Weather Service on Wednesday posted a winter storm warning for the city and a blizzard warning for the eastern part of Long Island. Forecasts called for 8 to 12 inches of snow throughout northern New Jersey, the Hudson Valley, Long Island, coastal Connecticut and the city.

The heaviest snow was expected from early Thursday morning through afternoon, with wind gusts up to 35 m.p.h., the service said on its website.

On Wednesday, the temperature reached 62 degrees in Central Park, beating the previous record of 61 degrees set in 1965.

Around the city on Wednesday, people were taking advantage — walking around in T-shirts and tank tops, sitting outdoors at cafes, enjoying parks and promenades.

For children who longed for a snow day, the news of the snowstorm was a reason to cheer.

Libby Courtemanche had taken her two sons, Christopher, 2, and Bradley, less than a year old, to a park in Huntington, Long Island, on Wednesday.

“You know what’s gonna happen tomorrow?” she asked the 2-year-old. “It’s gonna snow. And we’re gonna get to play in the snow.”

And this roller coaster ride of extremes is sure to provide fuel for those who gripe about the weather. It will be unseasonably warm Wednesday and unpleasantly wintry Thursday, but neither will be just right, of course.

Tim Morrin, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said the drastic shift in weather was “unusual, but it’s certainly not unprecedented.”

The extremes should not be seen as a sign that the gods are angry. Mr. Morrin said it could be explained by two competing weather patterns: cold air masses descending from the North that will push out a low-pressure, warm air mass in time to chill the city and turn precipitation to snow.

“Air masses move,” he said. “It’s just the timing.”

At Cozy Coffee in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, patrons headed straight for the back patio, where owner Migdalia Medina ran cups of coffee and small plates of food plates to people seated at picnic tables under a canopy of bare tree branches.

“As soon as they feel it they start coming out,” Ms. Medina said of her customers. As for Thursday’s forecast, she said the patio seating “also looks good under snow.”

The New York weather historian Steve Fybish, who keeps records of the city’s weather dating to the 19th century, agreed that the weather swing was not unusual. He rifled through his records to find other days of similar extremes: a snowstorm and a 70-degree afternoon within a couple of days in 1984; 69 degrees on a November day followed by five inches of snow in 1896.

In February 2014, when the Super Bowl was at the Meadowlands, in East Rutherford, N.J., the weather swung sharply. While there had been concerns that the outdoor game at MetLife Stadium would be affected by the cold, game day registered a mild 49 degrees at the stadium and 57 degrees in the city. But the next day, the temperature plunged to 27 degrees followed by a cold snap that was punctuated by eight inches of snow.

On Thursday, the snowfall is likely to be heaviest during the morning commute, Mr. Morrin said.

“I don’t think there’s going to be anyone rushing anywhere,” he said. “The commute time will be impacted.”
source : https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/08/nyregion/NYC-school-closings-winter-storm.html
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