Just days after the official end of one of the snowiest winters on record, another storm began its trek up the Interstate 95 corridor Tuesday, prompting the National Weather Service to issue a rare blizzard warning for Maine’s eastern tip.
Forecasters say Washington County is expected to be pounded by strong wind and snowfall that could top a foot on Wednesday.
Snowfall amounts will be negligible on the southern coast but the entire coastline will be buffeted by strong wind gusts. Meteorologist Mike Kistner said gusts upward of 50 mph will cause scattered power outages.
Forecasters say the center of the storm, to the south of Maine, could see hurricane-force winds.
The storm on Tuesday morning dropped flurries on Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia on its way to Cape Cod, which was expected to see some of the highest snow totals.
A blizzard warning also was in effect for Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket beginning Wednesday after midnight. Forecasters warned of wind gusts as high as 70 mph with near-zero visibility at times, including during the Wednesday morning rush hour. As much as 10 inches of snow could fall there.
With the calendar finally saying spring, many residents were dismayed to hear that another big storm was coming.
“I’m ready for summer,” said 25-year-old nurse Krystina Smith as she rode the subway in Boston on Tuesday. “When will it stop? I have to work tomorrow, and I don’t want to have to shovel again before I go in.”
But the National Weather Service insisted the timing, though unwelcome, wasn’t out of the ordinary.
“It is not unusual to have storms this late in the year,” weather service spokesman Bill Simpson said, adding that April has seen quite a few big storms in the past. The Boston area got more than 2 inches of snow in an April storm last year and was blanketed with almost 2 feet the same month in 1997.
“The snowfall can go early or stay late,” said William Babcock of the weather service. “When you are in New England, it all depends on the year.”
A powerful low-pressure system was expected to develop off the mid-Atlantic coast Tuesday night. Where and how much snow falls will depend on the storm’s track, according to the weather service. But wind and temperatures 20 to 25 degrees below normal were expected to cover the mid-Atlantic states and New England as the storm trekked from the Blacksburg area of southern Virginia to Maine.
More than half a foot of snow was forecast to hit southeastern Massachusetts on Tuesday evening into Wednesday, as well as parts of coastal Maine. The weather service also warned of coastal flooding and significant beach erosion along the Massachusetts coast.
Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket also are expected to be hit hard, starting Tuesday evening and lasting until Wednesday morning, Simpson said. The heaviest snowfall is expected early Wednesday, and that could make it a rough commute into work, Simpson said. Snowfall totals there could range from 8 to 10 inches.
Boston and northern Massachusetts could get 2 to 4 inches of snow, and coastal New Hampshire may see 1 to 2 inches. Areas west of Boston to Worcester are forecast to get about an inch and far eastern Maine could get 8 to 14 inches.
Coastal Rhode Island, Connecticut and eastern Long Island in New York are expected to get 2 to 5 inches, while New York City is expected to get less than an inch. Portions of New Jersey and Pennsylvania could get 2 to 4 inches of snow.
By Tuesday night, 3.8 inches of snow had fallen at Dulles International Airport, bumping the total for the season to 52.8 inches, said meteorologist Amy Bettwy in Sterling, Va. That tops the 50.1 inches that fell during the 2002 season, making this the unofficial third-snowiest winter in the Washington area since record-keeping began in 1962, Bettwy said. The ranking will become official after midnight.
The Northeast has had below-normal temperatures this spring. And, with Easter less than a month away, many people are ready to say so long to snow and frigid temperatures.
“I’ve had enough. It’s been a tough winter,” said 65-year-old Robert Larkin of Winchester, Mass., as he walked through Boston’s Financial District on Monday.
Businesses on Cape Cod have had it particularly rough after weathering a number of snowstorms this year.
“Business has been down almost 10 percent,” said Bill Zimmer, owner of multiple restaurants and hotels on the Cape. “Enough is enough.”