February 5, 2014 Snow, Ice, Rain
The second major winter storm in three days affected the region on February 5, with a burst of very heavy snow and thunder in some areas changing over to sleet inland and freezing rain and rain further south, with moderate ice accumulations towards western New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Snow totals ranged from 3-6″ in SE CT to 6-10″ in SW CT; 8-12″ in NW NJ/SE NY; 3-7″ in northeast NJ; 3-6″ in northern NYC, and 1-4″ in southern NYC into Long Island.
Jump to: Storm Synopsis | Forecasting the Storm | Storm Timeline | Storm Impacts
February 5, 2014 Storm Archive
Shortly following the departure of Monday’s system, another system quickly followed by Tuesday into Wednesday, February 4-5. A strong shortwave trough exited the southwest US on Tuesday, tracking northeast into Oklahoma while becoming neutrally tilted with a progressive southwesterly upper level flow, which along with a strong moisture feed from the Gulf of Mexico aided in the development of heavy precipitation over the south central US. A wave of low pressure developed near Louisiana on Tuesday evening, which then quickly tracked NNE towards Kentucky and Ohio on Wednesday morning.
With the presence of a polar vortex over central Canada and confluence over northern New England, the shortwave trough flattened out as it reached the northeast US, which aided in the development of a secondary low pressure off the Mid Atlantic coast which continued to track northeast towards Cape Cod and south of Atlantic Canada. The mid level low persisted into southern NY state before tracking to the east, leading to a southerly mid level flow, while the surface low pressure transferred further south, keeping surface winds over the northern Mid Atlantic from the northeast, which resulted in freezing rain and sleet primarily over Pennsylvania and central-northern New Jersey.
Forecasting The Storm
January 29 – Storm Potential Next Week
January 30 – Wintry Mix Expected Next Weds
January 31 – Snow Likely For Monday
February 2 – Three Storms Coming Up
February 4 – More Snow, Ice Tomorrow
February 5 Storm Updates
This section will be added soon.
Storm Timeline in the Northeast
Regional radar image from 4:28 AM EDT 2/5 from the National Weather Service, showing the heavy snow squall with thundersnow over NE NJ. Mixed precipitation extended up to about I-80.
Precipitation began to spread into the region late on Tuesday, February 4, reaching the NYC area between at least 12:30-2am. With temperatures cold enough, precipitation type fell as snow throughout the area. Towards 3am, snow began to become heavy at times as the most favorable dynamics passed through the area, peaking between 4-5am as a heavy snow squall developed near west central NJ, tracking northeast towards NE NJ, NYC and Rockland/Westchester counties. Radar reflectivity values were as high as 50-55 dBZ, typical of a summertime thunderstorm; this squall produced very heavy snow, mixed with sleet at times, with reports of thundersnow and snow rates near or over 3 inches per hour.
Regional radar image from 8:18 AM EDT 2/5, from the National Weather Service, showing the heavy precipitation over the area with a dry slot over Pennsylvania. This precipitation fell as sleet in northern areas and freezing rain/rain elsewhere.
Following the weakening of the snow squall, mid level warm air advection continued with a southerly flow aloft, with temperatures aloft rising above freezing while surface temperatures remained in the 20s to low 30s, leading to a changeover to sleet slowly advancing northward, reaching NYC, Long Island and I-80 in NJ around 5-6am and the rest of N NJ, SE NY and southern CT by 7-9am. As the precipitation type changeover continued to spread north, another batch of heavy precipitation moved into the area from Pennsylvania, which fell as heavy sleet in northern NJ, SE NY and most of southern CT, freezing rain towards central NJ into Pennsylvania and parts of NYC/northern LI, and rain near coastal NYC and Long Island.
As the favorable dynamics shifted northeast of the area, the heavy precipitation moved out by 9am, with scattered sleet/freezing rain showers continuing through the rest of the morning. An area of moderate precipitation moved through Long Island and NJ between 12-2pm, brushing NYC and northern NJ, associated with the developing secondary low pressure near the coast, which fell as rain in most of Long Island and NYC with sleet/freezing rain further inland. Most of the area dried up after 2pm as moderate to heavy snow continued to fall well into the overnight hours over NY state and New England.
Storm Impact and Precipitation Totals
This storm was the second major snowstorm to affect the region in the first week of February, having come just two days after another low pressure produced up to 6-10 inches of heavy wet snow across the area. Despite a relatively short duration of snow, moderate snow totals were found over northern NJ where the heavy snow band produced snow rates of nearly 3 inches per hour, leading to snow totals between 4 and 8 inches, increasing to 8-12 inches in far NW NJ where snow continued for a longer duration after the I-80 corridor changed to sleet and freezing rain. Long Island and SE CT changed over to rain earlier with a shorter duration of heavy snow, with snow totals generally between 1 and 5 inches.
There were multiple locations of heavy snow axes, one extending from northeast PA into SE NY and western CT with 10-14 inches of snow, and another axis with similar totals extending from north central PA into the Adirondacks. Elsewhere in the central Northeast US, widespread snow totals of over 6 inches were observed, with lower totals near central to northern Maine which was near the northern end of the storm. Besides the snow, freezing rain was another notable aspect of this storm, with over 0.25 inch of freezing rain accumulation from the southern half of Pennsylvania into western New Jersey.
Below is a list of selected snow reports across the area from the National Weather Service, listed by highest total from each county:
6.5″ – Teterboro, NJ (Bergen)
6.5″ – West Milford, NJ (Passaic)
5.5″ – Kearny, NJ (Hudson)
5.1″ – Cedar Grove, NJ (Essex)
12.5″ – Newburgh, NY (Orange)
11.5″ – Somers, NY (Westchester)
9.5″ – Kent Cliffs, NY (Putnam)
7.0″ – Tallman, NY (Rockland)
New York City:
6.5″ – Dodgewood, NY (Bronx)
4.0″ – Central Park, NY (Manhattan)
3.6″ – Huguenot, NY (Staten Island)
3.3″ – LaGuardia, NY (Queens)
2.0″ – Sheepshead Bay, NY (Brooklyn)
Long Island and South CT:
10.5″ – Trumbull, CT (Fairfield)
9.5″ – Southbury, CT (New Haven)
6.3″ – Clinton, CT (Middlesex)
5.3″ – Bayville, NY (Nassau)
5.0″ – Voluntown, CT (New London)
4.5″ – Orient, NY (Suffolk)