A powerful winter storm barreled through the northeastern United States on Saturday, bringing heavy snowfall, freezing rain and wind gusts and creating treacherous travel conditions.
Nearly 20 million people from the northeastern United States to northern New Mexico and California were under winter storm warnings.
Ahead of the storm, residents scrambled for snow-removal supplies and officials discouraged travel. For several days, officials and forecasters in the Northeast had warned of dangerous conditions, with the region getting either heavy snow, freezing rain or a mix of the two.
Which areas of the Northeast got snow and which got rain varied. Parts of Northeastern Pennsylvania and northwestern New Jersey got at least three inches as of Saturday night.
The National Weather Service office in Mount Holly, N.J., said the storm on Saturday night would bring snowfall rates of up to an one inch per hour, with some areas getting two inches per hour, in the Lehigh Valley and southern Poconos in Pennsylvania and Northern New Jersey.
As of 7 p.m. on Saturday, the National Weather Service office in New York reported .2 inches of snow had fallen in Central Park and La Guardia Airport, and .1 of an inch had fallen at Kennedy Airport. It has been almost 700 days since Central Park last received an inch of snow in a single day.
New Jersey restricted commercial vehicle travel on multiple highways beginning on Saturday afternoon. To ease traffic for snow plows and utility crews, the governor, Phil Murphy, asked residents to stay home, particularly overnight Saturday, when precipitation was predicted to be at its heaviest.
Gov. Ned Lamont of Connecticut said that “hundreds of plows” were deployed to clear roads and highways of the snow.
In Rhode Island, where less snowfall was predicted, the state’s Office of Energy Resources said it was closely monitoring the storm’s affect on power and fuel supplies.
Unitil, a natural gas and electricity company based in Hampton, N.H., advised customers to fill up their tanks and store three days’ worth of essentials for each member of their households.
“While our region has managed to dodge recent early rounds of true wintry weather, we all knew that could change at any moment,” Alec O’Meara, a company spokesman, said in a statement.
The next storm system is expected to be stronger and warmer, and its effects will be much more widespread, intensifying into a dynamic storm over the Great Plains and affecting the East Coast from the early to middle parts of the week, forecasters said.
Excessive rainfall from Texas to the Northeast will be a significant factor, meaning that snow from Sunday could be washed away by heavy rain by Wednesday, increasing the chances of floods in places hit by both.
Forecasters also predicted significant river flooding from excessive rainfall on Tuesday across large parts of Pennsylvania, Washington, D.C., and Maryland.
“Powerful onshore winds will also likely lead to coastal flooding along much of the East Coast,” the Weather Service said.