Dynamic Storm Brings Heavy, Wet Snow and Strong Winds to New England

A storm system that was already delivering significant amounts of springtime snow to parts of the Great Lakes region this week moved east on Wednesday, bringing heavy snow, soaking rains and high winds from northern New York State through northern New England, the National Weather Service said.

  • Roughly four million people, mostly in New England, were under a winter storm warning late Wednesday night and going into Thursday.

  • Snowfall accumulation between one to two feet was expected for much of northern New England and the northeast Adirondacks through Thursday.

In the New York City area, weather forecasters expect two to three inches of rain to fall through Thursday evening, the Weather Service said. High wind warnings were in effect on Wednesday for the New York City area, including Long Island, New Jersey and southern Westchester County, N.Y., and coastal Connecticut, with wind gusts reaching up to 60 miles per hour along the coast. Flood watches were issued on Wednesday afternoon for most of those areas.

Weather officials said the strong winds could result in widespread flooding of roads along the coast and leave some roads impassable.

It will be soggier farther north, including around Buffalo. Steady rain totaling between 1.5 and 2.5 inches could cause flooding in western New York through Thursday afternoon, and could cause flooding in urban areas and along rivers and creeks, meteorologists said.

Parts of western Massachusetts, including Worcester and Fitchburg, and southern New Hampshire, including Portsmouth and Keene, were under a winter storm warning on Wednesday night, according to the Weather Service in Boston.

“Snow will be wet and dense,” the office said, noting that the greatest chance for snow accumulation would be on Wednesday evening.

The strongest winds, reaching up to 59 m.p.h., were expected through midday Thursday in Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

A winter storm warning was also in effect for the Burlington, Vt., area through Friday morning.

“For us, the hazards are really two-pronged,” Rodney Chai, the lead meteorologist with the Weather Service in Burlington, said early Wednesday.

“One is the heavy snowfall that would begin late this afternoon, pretty much into most of tomorrow,” he said. “And then the other hazard would be the strong to damaging winds, along the spine of the Green Mountains.”

Wind gusts up to 70 m.p.h. along the western downslope areas overnight could cause widespread power outages, Mr. Chai warned, adding that those winds could lead to localized whiteout and blizzard conditions across the higher passes of Vermont.

Snow accumulations will depend on elevation. Up to seven inches could fall in valley areas in the region, Mr. Chai said, and six to 15 inches of snow were expected above 1,000-foot elevations, and as much as two feet of snow by Friday morning in some areas.

Travel across Vermont may be difficult, and most likely impossible on mountain passes. Hazardous conditions will also complicate the Thursday morning commute.

“The combination of wet snow, a high snow load and the strong wind gusts could also cause tree damage and power outages,” the Weather Service said Wednesday evening.

The Weather Service office in Gray, Maine, issued similar warnings, and said that wet flakes had started falling in southwestern New Hampshire earlier on Wednesday afternoon.

While some New England residents may be caught off guard by the nor’easter, just days after the Easter holiday and during spring break for many school districts, Mr. Chai said snow in April was not uncommon.

“It may come as a little bit of a shock to people because we have had a stretch of nice springlike weather and this winter has been anomalously mild,” he said. “People might have gotten a little too comfortable.”

Johnny Diaz and Orlando Mayorquín contributed reporting.

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