Boston snow piling up, adding to travel woes, work disruptions

Published 10:43 am Monday, February 9, 2015

BOSTON – A slow-moving winter storm zeroed in on the Northeast, scrubbing more than 1,500 flights and threatening another foot of snow for Boston, where the governor asked people to work from home for the day.

As of midnight, Boston’s Logan International Airport had received 7.4 inches (19 centimeters), the National Weather Service said. An additional 12 inches or more may fall Monday, said Patrick Burke, a meteorologist with the U.S. Weather Prediction Center in College Park, Maryland.

“With the wind coming in off the ocean, eastern and northeast Massachusetts are in line to get the heaviest amounts from the storm,” Burke said.

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker closed non-emergency state offices and urged residents to avoid commuting to offices. The Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority operated subway and trolley lines at reduced service and will try to run its commuter rail trains on a normal weekday schedule.

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh closed schools through Tuesday.

Across the U.S., 1,552 flights were canceled as of 8:36 a.m. East Coast time, according to FlightAware, a Houston-based airline tracking service. At least 510 trips to and from Boston were scrubbed and 464 into and out of LaGuardia Airport in New York, where slushy ice coated sidewalks and streets.

Winter storm warnings and weather advisories stretched from western New York to New England’s Atlantic Coast. A large part of that region may receive 8 to 10 inches of snow by the time the storm ends later, the weather service said.

There’s a chance Boston won’t get any more heavy snow Monday, said Steve LaVoie, a meteorologist with Hometown Forecast Services Inc. in Nashua, New Hampshire. The outlook for heavier amounts is predicated on ocean-effect snow bands forming at the coast, he said.

“We really do not see that,” LaVoie said.

Even if the heaviest snow doesn’t fall Monday, Boston may still end up with 18 inches of snow, LaVoie said. He added it is just unlikely that it will get the 24 inches predicted at the higher end of the weather service forecasts for the three-day event.

Since the final week of January, Boston and New England have been hit by storms that have crippled transportation, closed schools and left streets framed by high snowbanks. Boston had its snowiest seven-day period on record starting Jan. 27, when 40 inches fell at Logan International Airport. Through Sunday, Boston had received 62.5 inches of snow this season, or 36.2 inches more than normal. The city’s snowiest season was 1995-1996, when 107.6 inches fell.

While the snow piles up in Boston, New York may get 1 to 2 inches of snow, as well as a coating of ice from the storm. Areas in the lower Hudson Valley and across northern New Jersey may get 4 to 6 inches.

Following Monday’s storm, temperatures will remain cold across the Northeast on Tuesday with lows in Boston falling to 16 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 9 Celsius) and to 23 in New York’s Central Park, the weather service said.

Burke said there is another chance of snow for Boston later this week. New York may get a mix of snow and rain from that system.

“We remain locked into this weather pattern where it remains cold for the rest of the week,” Burke said. “We are really locked in until we get the sun angle coming up in March to start changing the weather pattern.”