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Nor’easter intensifies offshore as snowfall rates hit 2 inches per hour

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For the second time in less than a week, a nor’easter is tearing up the East Coast. The last one blasted New England with gusts up to 97 mph and knocked out power to 2 million homes and businesses. This one will dump more than a foot of snow from Philadelphia to Boston.

By the time this storm is over late Thursday morning, New York City will be under 8 to 12 inches — but the heaviest snow will fall in New Jersey and parts of Upstate New York. As much as 24 inches is possible in those areas.

  • Snowfall rates topped 2 inches per hour this afternoon in New Jersey
  • Power outages are possible as branches break under the weight of the snow
  • Combined wind and snow will lead to whiteout conditions at the height of the storm

Snow forecasts: Philadelphia and New Jersey[1] | Tri-State area[2] (NYC) | Southern New England[3] (Boston)

We’re updating this story through the day…

8:00 pm. — Storm hits its stride from NYC to Boston

Once the sun went down, temperatures dropped and snow started to stick in New York City. Accumulation there so far is roughly 3 to 6 inches. To the west, snow totals have met or are approaching 24 inches in Bergen, Essex and Passaic counties. Areas farther inland were expected to get more snow — it’s colder there because it’s farther away from the water and the elevation is higher.

Rain also changed over to snow from eastern Connecticut to Boston. Thunder and lightning are still cracking along the rain-snow line (rain to the east, snow to the west), and was captured marvelously by this kind stranger who shared the video with Weather Nation[4].

This map below shows snow totals (in inches) that were reported between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. in the Tri-State area. A few highlights:

Franklin Lakes (Passaic Co.) — 24 inches
Sloatsburg (Rockland Co. ) — 23 inches
Highland Mills (Orange Co.) — 21.2 inches
North Caldwell (Essex Co.) — 19 inches
Little Neck (Queens) — 4.7 inches
Newark Airport — 4.4 inches
JFK Airport — 2.6 inches
Central Park — 2.5 inches


Snow accumulation reports between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. (National Weather Service)

5:01 p.m. — Heaviest snow yet to come for N.Y.C. and points north

The forecast looks like it will have been pretty good in the Philadelphia area and New Jersey. That region got hit with what will probably be the most intense snow band of this storm as it rapidly intensified just off the coast. Visibility fell to a few hundred feet and snowfall rates exceeded 2 inches per hour.

Philadelphia was forecast to get 6 to 8 inches, and what fell was easily in that range, although some areas may have gotten a little more. In Trenton and points north, the forecast was more like 8 to 12 inches and it looks like that was also broadly correct, though we’ve seen some reports that exceed 12 inches.

The heaviest snow has yet to fall in the immediate New York City metro area. Temperatures will drop as the sun goes down and places that haven’t seen much accumulation yet (we’re looking at you, Manhattan) will start to see snow coat the ground this evening.

Farther north in Boston, rain will change to snow around and after 8 p.m., though it’s been snowing at a good clip in western Connecticut and Massachusetts, where totals thus far range from about 3 to 6 inches.

Here’s what the clouds looked like this afternoon, seen in high-res from NOAA’s GOES-16 satellite.

A nor’easter is dumping heavy snow from Philadelphia to Boston and New York. (Claritza Jimenez/The Washington Post)

4:30 p.m. — Staten Island is getting plastered

Heavy wet snow is falling in Staten Island now, while just across the river there’s barely a trace on the ground. It’s warmer in Manhattan than all of the surrounding area — Midtown’s temperature is around 35 degrees. Snow is falling but it’s melting on contact. The storm will ramp up in New York City before it ends, and temperatures are dropping as the sun goes down. More accumulation will build up through the evening.

4:05 p.m. — Whiteout

This video came from Sourland Mountain in New Jersey, which is west of New Brunswick and north of Princeton. It’s on the north end of the snow band we were talking about in the previous update. More than 6 inches of snow is on the ground in Princeton, according to local reports. Sourland Mountain looks like it’s at least approaching 12 inches.

3:50 p.m. — A truly remarkable snow band over New Jersey

As the storm intensifies offshore, it’s dumping snow on New Jersey. This snow band shown on radar below is exceptional. From Princeton to Ocean City, snowfall rates have surely topped 2 inches per hour. On the right is a precipitation type view that tells us it’s all falling as snow. On the left is the actual intensity — the more red it is, the more intense the snow is. Those values in the orange and red (up to 60 dbz, for the weather nerds following along) are something we usually see in summertime thunderstorms, not snow.

Visibility within this snow band is down to a few hundred feet. Driving in this kind of snow is extremely dangerous.


(Radarscope)

3:25 p.m. — An “eye” just appeared in this winter storm

It’s not like a hurricane eye, but this dry slot does signal that this storm is rapidly intensifying. This is a classic nor’easter with a comma-like shape, which is why you’ll sometimes hear meteorologists refer to the comma head — the part of the storm at the top where the heaviest precipitation is located[21]. This afternoon, the comma head is over New Jersey and the Tri-State area.

Temperatures have so far been just above freezing in this region, but we’re seeing them steadily fall. The heavy snow is cooling the air and its allowing more snow to accumulate on the ground.


A satellite image of the storm Wednesday afternoon. The comma shape is outlined in red. The eye-like feature is over the ocean toward the top of the “comma.” (NOAA)

2:35 p.m. — This storm is a pain. It’s also quite beautiful.

Thanks to Philly.com’s Michael Boren for sharing his videos with us this afternoon. As much as 7 inches of snow had been reported in the Philadelphia area through 1 p.m.

2:15 p.m. — New snow totals are coming in

And they’re pretty impressive for a storm that only really got started a few hours ago. Areas to the east of I-95 have the lowest accumulation so far because temperatures stayed relatively warm into the late morning. A lot of the snow that fell early in the storm melted on contact, too. We’re seeing more accumulation now that the snow has brought ground temperatures down.

Philadelphia area

Clifton Heights — 8.1 inches
Coatesville — 8 inches
Springfield — 6 inches
Gilbertsville — 5.1 inches
Philadelphia International — 1.6 inches
Bellmawr — 1.1 inches

Tri-State area

Monroe, N.Y. — 7.5 inches
Franklin Lakes, N.J. — 4.5 inches
Cedar Grove, N.J. — 5.3 inches
Stony Point — 1.8 inches
LaGuardia Airport — 0.7 inches
Newark Airport (through 1 p.m.) — 0.6 inches
JFK Airport — 0.5 inches
Central Park (through 1 p.m.) — 0.5 inches

Are we missing a snow report you think we should include? Tell us in the comments[26].

1:40 p.m. — Snowfall rate approaches 2 inches per hour

As forecast, the snow is accumulating rapidly this afternoon. In the Trenton area, 1.5 inches accumulated in 40 minutes, according to a trained weather spotter. In just the past few hours, the accumulation on the ground has reached 6 inches in the N.Y.C. area.

Orange County, N.Y. — 6 inches
Bergen County, N.J. — 5 inches
Trenton area — 2 inches

If you’ve taken a recent snow measurement, let us know in the comments.

 1:15 p.m. — This storm is a powerhouse

Check out the radar. The heaviest snow is falling from Philadelphia to New York City. Thunder is cracking[38] up and down the I-95 corridor. There are some incredible dynamics at play here, but suffice to say this storm is ripping and it will continue through the afternoon. Roads have become treacherous and visibility is low. I’ll be back soon with some snowfall totals thus far.

12:56 p.m. — Snow is coming down in buckets

From Philadelphia to New York City, heavy wet snow is coming down in buckets. It’s sticking to the streets in Philly and just starting to accumulate in New York City and its suburbs. Roads may become impassible very quickly.

This is what the scene looked like just north of Philadelphia at 12:50 p.m.

12:25 p.m. — The first thundersnow of the day

That didn’t take long. Thunder and lightning are dialing up over New York City. Reports have come in from Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn. Snow may not be sticking to the ground in the boroughs yet, but it’s about to get very heavy and accumulation will be rapid once the ground temperature gets colder.

12:18 p.m. — Heavy snow is overtaking the I-95 corridor

Giant snowflakes are falling in Philadelphia, where the forecast is 6 to 8 inches. Michael Boren, a reporter at Philly.com, shared this photo with us from the newsroom downtown. Now that precipitation has changed over to all snow, it will accumulate quickly in a short amount of time. Snow looks like it will last through the evening in Philadelphia, tapering off by around 9 p.m.

11:50 a.m. — Thundersnow is likely

This is how you know a storm is going to be big — forecasters start getting excited about thundersnow, which is exactly what it sounds like: thunder and lightning when it’s snowing. Usually, these things only happen during the summer in, well, thunderstorms. But if a winter storm is strong enough it can happen there, too, along with incredibly heavy snowfall, as we wrote earlier this morning[46]:

Warm air is spiraling into the developing storm from the southeast, swirling in the all the way from the Gulf of Mexico. This air will ride up over the chilly air on the backside of the storm, climbing high into the sky in a region called the “comma head.” This is where heavy snow wraps in on the west side of the storm — the overlap of cold air, moist flow at the mid-levels, and dynamic lift in the atmosphere.

The combination of these three features will lead to prolific snowfall rates from northern New Jersey and New York City, as well as in western Connecticut and central Massachusetts. Anyone along Interstate 95  in the Northeast away from the immediate coastline is in play for a four-hour period of two to three inches per hour snowfall rates.

Of course there is lightning involved, which means thundersnow is just as dangerous as thunderstorms.

11:15 a.m. — Yet another increase in the snowfall forecast for NYC

It might be raining right now in parts of the Tri-State, but this thing is just getting started. Based on the position of the storm and how things have played out so far, the National Weather Service increased the snow forecast for the region (again). They’re now calling for 8 to 12 inches of snow as far east as Suffolk County. Their forecast of 12 to 18 inches is creeping precariously close to Manhattan, and already includes the Bronx, Hudson, Bergen and points north and west.

Forecast as of 11 a.m.

Manhattan — 8 to 12 inches
Staten Island — 8 to 12 inches
Brooklyn — 8 to 12 inches
Queens — 8 to 12 inches
The Bronx — 12 to 18 inches
Newark — 12 to 18 inches
New Brunswick — 8 to 12 inches
Paramus — 12 to 18 inches
White Plains — 12 to 18 inches

We’re watching temperatures closely because once they fall below freezing, all of the precipitation will come down as snow. At 11 a.m., parts of the Tri-State area were still seeing a lot of rain. That will change through the afternoon as temperatures drop.

By 3 or 4 p.m., rain will change over to heavy snow for virtually all of New Jersey, the entire New York City metro area and Long Island.

10:15 a.m. — The snow forecast increased for Tri-State

The Tri-State area woke up to higher snow forecasts Wednesday morning. The storm shifted slightly southeast — just 20 to 40 miles, but every mile matters in nor’easters. Because of the shift, temperatures will be colder in the Tri-State and thus more of the precipitation will fall as snow.

The National Weather Service also noted that if the storm continues to shift southeast, they might have to increase the forecast snow totals even more.

Here are the latest National Weather Service forecasts for the Philadelphia, Tri-State and Boston areas:


Snow forecast through Thursday morning. (National Weather Service in Mount Holly)

Snow forecast through Thursday morning. (National Weather Service in Upton)

Snow forecast through Thursday morning. (National Weather Service in Boston)

References

  1. ^ Philadelphia and New Jersey (www.weather.gov)
  2. ^ Tri-State area (www.weather.gov)
  3. ^ Southern New England (www.weather.gov)
  4. ^ shared the video with Weather Nation (twitter.com)
  5. ^ #ctwx (twitter.com)
  6. ^ pic.twitter.com/VhePadjeb4 (t.co)
  7. ^ March 8, 2018 (twitter.com)
  8. ^ #GOESEast (twitter.com)
  9. ^ #noreaster (twitter.com)
  10. ^ #thundersnow (twitter.com)
  11. ^ https://t.co/mbgRYot60A (t.co)
  12. ^ pic.twitter.com/vOm9WYe3Wp (t.co)
  13. ^ March 7, 2018 (twitter.com)
  14. ^ #NYwx (twitter.com)
  15. ^ @nynjpaweather (twitter.com)
  16. ^ pic.twitter.com/XRm1aljxyf (t.co)
  17. ^ March 7, 2018 (twitter.com)
  18. ^ @nynjpaweather (twitter.com)
  19. ^ pic.twitter.com/jXXfBE518F (t.co)
  20. ^ March 7, 2018 (twitter.com)
  21. ^ the heaviest precipitation is located (www.spc.ncep.noaa.gov)
  22. ^ @capitalweather (twitter.com)
  23. ^ @phillywx (twitter.com)
  24. ^ pic.twitter.com/XyJKrIp1qT (t.co)
  25. ^ March 7, 2018 (twitter.com)
  26. ^ Tell us in the comments (www.washingtonpost.com)
  27. ^ @capitalweather (twitter.com)
  28. ^ pic.twitter.com/70gc7jRxq5 (t.co)
  29. ^ March 7, 2018 (twitter.com)
  30. ^ @lc_storyteller (twitter.com)
  31. ^ #NYC (twitter.com)
  32. ^ #noreaster (twitter.com)
  33. ^ @capitalweather (twitter.com)
  34. ^ pic.twitter.com/uZ1LACofZN (t.co)
  35. ^ March 7, 2018 (twitter.com)
  36. ^ pic.twitter.com/rkiDKaP9vr (t.co)
  37. ^ March 7, 2018 (twitter.com)
  38. ^ Thunder is cracking (twitter.com)
  39. ^ pic.twitter.com/r7Jie8aPMt (t.co)
  40. ^ March 7, 2018 (twitter.com)
  41. ^ pic.twitter.com/ciWMlwaLa8 (t.co)
  42. ^ March 7, 2018 (twitter.com)
  43. ^ @phillydotcom (twitter.com)
  44. ^ pic.twitter.com/TGckM74byI (t.co)
  45. ^ March 7, 2018 (twitter.com)
  46. ^ as we wrote earlier this morning (www.washingtonpost.com)
  47. ^ pic.twitter.com/LlVb0X6uxU (t.co)
  48. ^ March 7, 2018 (twitter.com)

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Houston Recalls Legacy of George Bush, Its Lone Star Yankee and Senior Booster

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HOUSTON — Inside the airport that bears his name, George Herbert Walker Bush looks, at a distance, as if he’s wearing a cape.

An 8-foot-tall bronze statue at the Houston airport shows Mr. Bush, who , Barbara Bush[4], who died in April at the age of 92. After Mr. Bush’s death on Friday, Houston lost its two most famous residents in the span of seven months.

“George H.W. Bush served with valor and integrity as the 41st president of the United States,” Houston’s mayor, Sylvester Turner, said in a statement. “But to Houstonians he was one of our most esteemed and relatable neighbors. He and his wife, Barbara Bush, were our sports teams’ biggest fans, and boosters for everything Houston.”

This was the man whose most memorable quote in years had to do with men’s hosiery. In 2012, as his fondness for wearing bright eye-catching socks was going strong, he explained that he simply “likes a good sock.” At his wife’s funeral at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church in Houston, Mr. Bush wore a pair of socks with a colorful stack-of-books design, a tribute to Mrs. Bush’s advocacy work for family literacy.

In Houston and its surrounding suburbs, Mr. Bush had not only an airport in his name but a park, a high school and a few more life-size statues. Above Buffalo Bayou, a bronze statue of Mr. Bush looks out into the distance with his hand in his pocket, gazing at, of all things, James A. Baker III, the former secretary of state and Mr. Bush’s tennis partner at the Houston Country Club. The statues of the two close friends face each other in the downtown park, separated by about 100 yards, in Houston’s oddest and longest-running staring contest.

“All I can do now,” Mr. Bush told The New York Times in 2011 about the statue, “is hope that the pigeons will be kind and gentle.”

Charles C. Foster, a Houston immigration lawyer and a longtime friend of the Bush family, came up with the idea for the George H.W. Bush Monument, which was unveiled in 2004. Mr. Foster recalled the day he sat in Mr. Bush’s office at 10000 Memorial Drive and asked for his blessing for the project.

Image
Mr. Bush in 1970, when he was a congressman.CreditAssociated Press

“He looked at me and he sort of looked up at the ceiling,” Mr. Foster said. “He pointed to the ceiling and said, ‘Shouldn’t you wait until I’m up there?’ And then he said, pointing downward, ‘Or perhaps down there?’”

In 1990, Mr. Bush helped turn the eyes of the world to Houston.

As president, he brought thousands of reporters and foreign dignitaries to Houston that summer for the Economic Summit of Industrialized Nations, an annual gathering of the world’s economic powers. The summits had been held in a number of global cities — London, Tokyo, Paris, Venice — and Mr. Bush made the case that his adopted hometown belonged among such world-class company.

Houston was scrappier back then. The city was rebounding from an oil bust in the 1980s that crippled the economy, and it tried hard to present its best, and cleanest, face to the cameras and the visitors, picking up millions of pounds of trash, repaving roads and enlisting the aid of 12,000 volunteers.

“That was huge for Houston,” Mr. Foster said of the 1990 summit. “When the president had a chance, he could have picked some mountain retreat. But he picked his hometown. He was well aware of the chip on our shoulders that we didn’t feel like Houston got the recognition that it should.”

Now, with 2.3 million residents (compared with 1.6 million in 1990), Houston is the fourth-largest city in America, known as much for its diversity as its energy-capital status. George Bush High School, part of the Fort Bend school district, is 43 percent Hispanic, 38 percent black, 12 percent Asian and 4 percent white. More than 90 languages and dialects are spoken in the district.

Early Saturday morning in the upscale Tanglewood area, Houstonians paused at the gates at South Post Oak Lane and North West Oak Drive — the entrance to the gated community where Mr. Bush lived. Someone draped an American flag in the center of the gates, decorated for the holidays with Christmas wreaths.

Shirley Matthews, 66, a lifelong Houstonian who lives nearby, walked up and took a picture of the memorial for her mother. “He was just a good person,” she said. “He wasn’t perfect. But it’s family, and we love each other.”

References

  1. ^ died at his home here on Friday (www.nytimes.com)
  2. ^ Read the obituary of George H.W. Bush. (www.nytimes.com)
  3. ^ the funeral for his wife (www.nytimes.com)
  4. ^ Barbara Bush (www.nytimes.com)

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A Close Race, a Mysterious Ballot and Control of Alaska’s House at Stake

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With a crucial legislative seat in Alaska teetering toward a tie earlier this month, lawmakers in Juneau braced for the possibility of a coin toss deciding control of the state’s House of Representatives. Then a mysterious extra ballot emerged that threw the process into further disarray.

Amid several counts, the latest coming on Friday afternoon, a single ballot drew scrutiny across the state.

The state’s review board certified the race, between Kathryn Dodge, a Democrat, and Bart LeBon, a Republican, as a tie earlier this week, with exactly 2,661 votes going to each candidate. The extra ballot, for Ms. Dodge, could have settled the race for the Fairbanks-area district seat.

Later on Friday, the mystery appeared to have been solved — but the standoff over who won the election continued.

Samantha Miller, a spokeswoman for the state elections office, said that workers at Fairbanks’s No. 6 precinct told officials that a woman had come into the polling place to request a special needs ballot on behalf of her husband, who was outside in a vehicle.

The woman came back into the precinct. Her husband had made a mistake, she told the precinct worker, and needed a new ballot. She left behind the one he had already marked, thus making it a spoiled ballot.

The precinct chair told the worker who took the spoiled ballot to put it into a secrecy sleeve, “and that they would deal with it later in the day,” Ms. Miller said.

But instead, the spoiled ballot was put into a compartment with other questioned ballots.

Typically, Ms. Miller said, spoiled ballots are destroyed once they are accounted for. So, because the mystery ballot was found to be spoiled, it will not be counted, she said.

Still, that left the question of what happens if the recount that began on Friday afternoon ends in a tie — again.

Ms. Miller said that both candidates had five days to file a legal challenge to the results. And if the court decided the recount went as it should have, and the race was still a tie?

The prevailing candidate would be determined “by lot,” Ms. Miller said. “It could be a coin toss or some other way of deciding, as long as it’s random.”

It would not be the first time an Alaska race was determined by coin toss.

In 2006, State Representative Bryce Edgmon[1], a Democrat from Dillingham, beat the incumbent, Carl Moses. Mr. Moses’s name was drawn, so he got to make the call: Heads.

The state’s elections director at the time flipped an Alaska Mint medallion — the side with a walrus being heads and the side with the state seal being tails. It landed state seal side up.

Ms. Miller would not speculate about when the recount would be complete, but said both candidates were present, along with observers and officials.

Mr. LeBon did not respond to requests for comment on Friday.

Sara Harriger, a spokeswoman for Ms. Dodge, said in a statement that during Friday’s recount, one additional vote was found for Ms. Dodge and a challenged ballot was allowed for her opponent, Mr. LeBon, which meant that the tally stood at 2,662 apiece. Still tied.

Ms. Dodge said in a statement that she believed every legally cast ballot should be counted. “I just want everyone watching this process to take away a sense of confidence in our democratic system and a commitment to cast their votes in future races,” she said, “and knowing that their votes will matter.”

Ms. Dodge had said earlier on Friday that legal action “unfortunately” seemed probable.

“It’s certainly not what any of us expect when we set out to campaign, to find ourselves in a squeaker of this nature,” she said. “I hope we don’t have a coin toss. I don’t know quite what to say, but it doesn’t feel like it’s an appropriate way to settle an election.”

In Alaska, the repercussions of this race will be felt into the next legislative session, though party control of the House in Juneau will be far from clear-cut.

Political coalitions in Juneau do not always come down to party-line votes like in other state houses. Even if Ms. Dodge wins the race, Democrats would still not have an outright majority, and so members of the House will still be tasked with negotiating a coalition majority.

References

  1. ^ Bryce Edgmon (akleg.gov)

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3 Killed After Pickup Truck Fleeing Border Patrol Hits Tire Spikes and Crashes

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Three people in a packed pickup truck were killed on Thursday afternoon after the driver ran over tire spikes and crashed on a Southern California highway while trying to flee Border Patrol officers, the authorities said.

The officers turned on their vehicle’s emergency lights and began chasing the pickup truck on Interstate 8, near Boulevard, Calif., at around 4:20 p.m., according to the United States Customs and Border Protection. The authorities said they believed that the pickup truck had been illegally driven over the southern border and had crashed through an “iron bar vehicle barrier.” They said they identified it by matching a piece that was missing from the truck to one agents had spotted on the ground near the border, though they did not elaborate.

The pickup truck reached speeds of over 100 miles per hour, weaving between cars and bypassing others on the side of the highway, before it drove over spikes that the Border Patrol had placed on the road, the California Highway Patrol said. About a mile later, the truck spun out of control and flipped over, ejecting the nine people who were riding in the truck’s bed, the authorities said.

A woman inside the truck, who was not wearing a seatbelt, was killed, as were two people riding in the bed, the police said. Seven people who had “multiple serious injuries” were taken to the hospital, a spokesman for Customs and Border Protection said.

The driver, a United States citizen whose name was not released, was the only person wearing a seatbelt, the agency said. The California Highway Patrol took the man into custody, but it was not clear whether he had been charged. The identities of the passengers in the truck have not been released either.

“The investigation into the smuggling incident is ongoing,” the spokesman said in an email, “and the Border Patrol is fully cooperating with the CHP in their investigation of the collision.”

About an hour after the crash, the Border Patrol stopped another vehicle that officers believed had crossed over the border with the pickup truck, the agency said. The driver of that car was also arrested.

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