Powerful blizzard shifts north, takes aim at southern New England

Residents in the Northeast woke up to a major winter storm Saturday as snow piled up along the East Coast, with blizzard conditions felt from New York City to Maine.

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Update 11:04 a.m. EST Jan. 29: The National Weather Service confirmed late Saturday that blizzard conditions are possible into early Sunday from eastern Massachusetts to eastern Maine.

Meanwhile, “dangerous” wind chills, some dipping below zero, are expected Sunday morning before the storm dissipates, CNN reported.

Portions of Rhode Island, Long Island and eastern Massachusetts recorded more than two feet of snow and whiteout conditions during the day Saturday, and a few areas of Massachusetts experienced hurricane-force winds. Cape Cod and Sharon were among the hardest hit areas of Massachusetts, with the former reporting the strongest gales and the latter confirming more than 30 inches of snow by Saturday night, the network reported.

Update 9:40 p.m. EST Jan. 29: Snowfall in Boston set a new record Saturday with 23.3 inches accumulating, or more than six times’ the 3.7 inches recorded on that date in 1928, WFXT reported.

Update 9:33 p.m. EST Jan. 29: At least five U.S. locales broke snowfall records Saturday for Jan. 29, CNN reported, citing National Weather Service data. Per the report:

Atlantic City recorded 14 inches of snow, or nearly twice the 2014 record of 7.3 inches.

New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport recorded 11 inches, breaking the 2014 record of 1 inch.

New York’s LaGuardia Airport recorded 9.4 inches, or nearly 10 times the 1966 record of 0.9 inches.

New York’s Central Park recorded 7.3 inches, breaking the 1904 record of 4.7.

Philadelphia recorded 5.8 inches of snow today, breaking the 1904 record of 5.

Atlantic City’s monthly total is now 33.2 inches, or nearly 64% more than the prior January 1987 record of 20.3 inches, CNN reported.

Update 9:04 p.m. EST Jan. 29: By Saturday night, the brunt of the powerful winter storm remained concentrated over New York, Rhode Island and southern Massachusetts, but a northward shift is expected overnight, The New York Times reported.

“The focus is becoming more and more Maine and northern Massachusetts,” NWS meteorologist David Roth told the newspaper, noting that the snow system is expected to linger over southern New England overnight before dissipating around noon on Sunday.

According to the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency, roughly 89,000 customers were without power statewide by 8 p.m. EST, the Times reported.

Meanwhile, central and eastern portions of Maine are expected to receive between 12 and 18 inches of snow, while parts of Rhode Island and eastern Massachusetts have already reported nearly two feet of powder.

Update 8:37 p.m. EST Jan. 29: The National Weather Service officially declared a blizzard in Boston, Worcester, Beverly, Hyannis, Marshfield and Martha’s Vineyard just before 6 p.m. EST Saturday, WFXT-TV reported.

According to the TV station, this is the first blizzard declared in Massachusetts since 2018, and winter storms must feature wind gust of 35 mph or more with less than a quarter-mile of visibility for at least three hours to receive the designation.

Meanwhile, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker advised that deteriorating conditions throughout the day made it difficult for crews to keep roads clear, meaning residents should expect “extremely hazardous” travel conditions throughout the night.

Update 1:59 p.m. EST Jan. 29: Winds gusted at 70 mph, nearly at hurricane force, or higher at several spots in Massachusetts, including Nantucket Island and Provincetown on Cape Cod, according to The Associated Press.

On the southern end of the Long Island Sound, high winds and waves were lashing the northern coast of Long Island. Lt. Jr. Grade Sarah Dupre of the U.S. Coast Guard told The New York Times that the Sound was seeing 5-foot waves, but waves about 20 miles from Montauk were cresting at 20 feet.

“That’s pretty big,” Dupre told the newspaper.

Update 1:38 p.m. EST Jan. 29: Flights out of Boston’s Logan International Airport for Sunday have been canceled, according to FlightAware, a website that tracks flight delays and cancellations. The 155 cancellations account for 36% of the airport’s departing flights, The New York Times reported.

Update 1:31 p.m. EST Jan. 29: The storm hit parts of 10 states and some major metropolitan areas, including New York, Boston and Philadelphia, according to The Associated Press. By noon, more than 18 inches of snow had fallen on eastern Long Island and parts of the Jersey shore, The New York Times reported.

Original report: According to the National Weather Service, the winter storm is expected to “intensify rapidly” over the next 24 hours, with up to two feet of snow expected in the Northeast, NPR reported.

“It’s going to be a big one,” Boston Mayor Michelle Wu said in a news conference Friday. “This has the potential to be a historic storm. A huge one.”

The snowstorm hit New York City early Saturday and was heading north along the East Coast, preparing to hit Boston and the rest of New England, The New York Times reported.

Dave McGillivray, race director for the Boston Marathon, jokingly invited the public to his suburban Boston home on Saturday for a free snow shoveling clinic, The Associated Press reported.

“I will provide the driveway and multiple walkways to ensure your training is conducted in the most life-like situation,” he said.

This weekend’s snowstorm is the fourth to hit parts of the East Coast this month, the newspaper reported.

The Long Island Rail Road suspended service Saturday morning, advising customers to stay home unless it was necessary to travel, the Times reported.

Two weeks ago, the South was pummeled with a strong winter storm. Snow showers and ice hit the area before moving north and dumping snow over parts of the Northeast and Canada, the Times reported. Gusty winds made travel dangerous, the newspaper reported.

Airlines canceled more than 3,000 flights, the AP reported. Amtrak suspended or limited service from Boston to Washington, the news outlet reported.

In Providence, Rhode Island, between 2 to 5 inches of snow had fallen in the area, with wind gusts exceeding 40 mph, WPRI-TV reported.

A statewide travel ban is in effect in the state until 8 p.m. EST, the television station reported.

The National Weather Service issued winter storm warnings statewide in Connecticut, with snow expected to fall at a rate of 1 to 2 inches per hour, the Hartford Courant reported.

“Blizzard conditions are possible in eastern parts of the state,” Gary Lessor, chief meteorologist at Western Connecticut State University’s weather center, told the newspaper.

The storm is expected to be the biggest to hit the state since 2017, when 19 inches of snow fell in East Hartford, Lessor added. It also has the potential to be the biggest blizzard since February 2013, when more than 2 feet of snow fell on the state. Forty inches fell in Hamden during the weekend of Feb. 8-9, 2013, the Courant reported.

The storm will be the biggest since 2017, when 19 inches of snow fell in East Hartford, Lessor said. It has the potential to be the biggest storm since the Feb. 8-9 blizzard in 2013, which dumped more than 2 feet of snow around the state and more than 3 feet — 40 inches — in Hamden.

In West Hartford, Connecticut, a tractor-trailer jackknifed on Interstate 84, closing several westbound lanes, the AP reported.

Residents in Maine were already experiencing snowdrifts at 4 a.m. EST Saturday, WGME-TV reported. The heaviest snow was expected in the state between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m., the television station reported.