January 2-3, 2014 Storm Summary

January 2-3, 2014 Snow

1.3.13_0508The second major snowstorm of the winter affected the region on January 2-3, marking the first major January snowstorm for the northeast US region since 2011. Overrunning snows initially set up north of the area with ocean effect-enhanced snow to the east, before a developing coastal low spread moderate snow over the NYC area at night with very cold temperatures and blizzard-like conditions. Snow totals generally ranged from 6 to 12 inches across the area.

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January 2-3, 2014 Storm Archive

NWS Regional Radar
WPC Surface Analysis


Storm Synopsis

jan2trackThis storm originated in the northwestern US, with a low pressure developing near the central US as a northern stream shortwave interacted and phased with another shortwave extending southward from the Midwest. There was some interaction with moisture from the southern stream near the southern US, but with no full connection between the two streams.

A weak low pressure initially developed near Oklahoma, deepening slightly to 1009 mb by Thursday morning, January 2; by Thursday afternoon, a broad area of low pressure extended from West Virginia to the New England coast, with multiple weak centers of low pressures, including one just south of New England. By the evening hours, a dominant low pressure center began to develop near eastern North Carolina, steadily deepening as it quickly tracked to the northeast, reaching a minimum pressure of 971 mb as it approached Newfoundland.


Forecasting The Storm

December 28 – Coastal Low, Heavy Rain Tomorrow
December 30 – Snow, Mix Possible on Thu-Fri
December 31 – Snow Returns Thursday
January 1 – Heavy Snow, Cold To Start New Year
January 2-3 Storm Updates


Post-Storm Archive

This section will be added soon.


Storm Timeline in the Northeast

Regional radar image from 8:18 AM EDT 1/2, from the National Weather Service, showing the overrunning snow over NY state, ocean effect snow in eastern New England, and the approaching second round over western PA.

1.2.13_1318Snow first spread into the northeast US late on Wednesday, 1/1, beginning to fall over northwestern PA and western NY, with overrunning snow then spreading east to cover most of central NY into VT/NH by Thursday morning, 1/2. In between the overrunning snow, additional snow over the Ohio Valley associated with the low pressure, and southern stream moisture in the southeast US, a large dry slot covered most of the Mid Atlantic for most of the day. Despite this, a weak surface low pressure was present just south of Long Island, with snow showers developing and affecting Long Island, southern CT and parts of NYC/NE NJ on Thursday morning before shifting northeast towards Cape Cod and eastern Massachusetts. Along with enhancement from ocean effect snow, persistent moderate to heavy snow with very high snow to liquid ratios set up throughout most of the day, leading to much higher than expected snow totals in that area.

Regional radar image from 8:18 PM EDT 1/2, from the National Weather Service, showing moderate to heavy precipitation from the coastal low developing over the eastern parts of the region.

1.3.13_0118As the main low pressure approached from the west, precipitation began to develop and expand over central Pennsylvania in the early afternoon hours, with snow spreading into the area by 4-6pm. By that point, a tightening pressure gradient resulted in strengthening northerly winds, allowing frigid surface temperatures and a cold air mass aloft just north of the NYC area to advect southwards into the area, while locations under the overrunning snow bands observed sub-zero temperatures. Initially, a band of heavy snow spread into eastern NJ, NYC and Long Island around 7-8pm before collapsing as a band of heavy precipitation set up over southern NJ. Meanwhile, parts of northern NJ, SE NY and southern CT were under the influence of subsidence, with snow rates struggling to pick up despite increasing radar reflectivity values. This continued until about 11pm when the heavy precipitation over southern NJ weakened and shifted offshore, with light to moderate snow resuming; these locations ultimately observed the lowest snow totals in the area. Snow continued to fall through at least 8-9am on Friday as a weak inverted trough signal set up from eastern New Jersey to NYC and Long Island.


Storm Impact and Precipitation Totals

1.2.14_snowThe storm produced widespread moderate to heavy snow totals across the region from the different rounds of snow associated. A large axis of 8-14 inches of snow extended from central NY state into southern VT/NH, where steady light to moderate snow fell for at least 24-30 consecutive hours, which along with high snow to liquid ratios and temperatures near to below zero degrees amounted to higher snow totals than locations further south despite lighter snow rates. The highest totals were found over northeast Massachusetts associated with the ocean effect-enhanced snow, with 23.8″ of snow reported in Boxford, MA (Essex).

A second maximum of snow totals was found over Long Island into NYC and eastern NJ, where heavier snowfall from the developing coastal low and some enhancement from the inverted trough resulted in higher snow totals of at least 8-13 inches, with the highest totals found near Long Island. Moderate snow accumulations extended into northern Virginia and Delaware, which was further south than expected, but with Reagan National Airport in Washington DC failing to report over 2 inches of snow despite surrounding locations doing so, continuing a nearly 3-year streak of no snowstorms near or over 2 inches

Below is a list of selected snow reports across the area from the National Weather Service, listed by highest total from each county:

Northern NJ:
9.5″ – Kearny, NJ (Hudson)
9.0″ – Paramus, NJ (Bergen)
8.5″ – Newark, NJ (Essex)
8.4″ – Elizabeth, NJ (Union)
7.8″ – Bloomingdale, NJ (Passaic)

Southeast NY:
10.5″ – Rye, NY (Westchester)
8.0″ – Goshen, NY (Orange)
7.8″ – Nanuet, NY (Rockland)
5.7″ – Brewster, NY (Putnam)

New York City:
11.6″ – Bedford Park, NY (Bronx)
11.5″ – South Ozone Park, NY (Queens)
10.0″ – Marine Park, NY (Brooklyn)
9.5″ – Dongan Hills, NY (Staten Island)
6.4″ – Central Park, NY (Manhattan)

Long Island and South CT:
13.5″ – Eastport, NY (Suffolk)
12.4″ – Oceanside, NY (Nassau)
9.5″ – Darien, CT (Fairfield)
9.5″ – Milford, CT (New Haven)
6.0″ – Gales Ferry, CT (New London)
5.0″ – Haddam, CT (Middlesex)

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