New Yorkers dreaming of a White Christmas might first have to navigate a nightmarish winter storm set to strike the region during some of the busiest travel days of the season.
After an uneventful start to the holiday week, with highs in the 40s and lows just below freezing through Wednesday, the Northeast is set to get walloped by a winter storm that could continue into the holiday weekend, according to Fox Weather meteorologist Christopher Tate.
It’s too early to pinpoint exactly how the storm will break, or how much snow could get dropped in the New York Metro area.
One potential scenario is for a fast-moving winter weather system, which leads to rain along the I-95 corridor as early as Thursday afternoon. “Dismal” conditions are expected to wrap up on Saturday afternoon, which is Christmas Eve, leaving Christmas Day dry, chilly and calm, Tate said.
Upstate, in the Buffalo and Syracuse area, snow is expected to begin by Friday and last through the weekend.
Another possibility foresees a nor’easter arriving in the Big Apple on Friday, bringing a wintry mix — or even snow — that could last through Christmas Day, Tate said. Precipitation if this case plays out could lead to “really impactful snow — as in DOT is gonna need salt trucks,” Tate said.
“Something is going to happen and regardless it’s gonna be impactful, it’s going to affect Christmas travel,” said Tate.
AAA estimates 112.7 million people will journey 50 miles or more away from home from Dec. 23 to Jan. 2, with the vast majority of them driving, though demand for flights has also increased despite higher airline prices. The worst travel times will be Friday afternoon and Saturday morning, the organization predicted, or potentially during the height of the storm hitting the New York region.
The last time the city had a White Christmas, officially reached when there is more than an inch of snow on the ground as of 7 a.m., was in 2009, Tate said. That year, residents woke up to 2 inches of snow in Central Park, even though it didn’t actively snow that day.
Saturday, residents across Upstate New York and New England woke to the fallout of a nor’easter that dumped more than a foot of snow across several parts of the region, and left tens of thousands without power, CNN reported.
In New York, more than 29,000 people were without power by Saturday afternoon, according to Poweroutage.us. Tens of thousands more were in the dark across Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine.