Holiday weekend storm generating dangerous travel across Northeast

By Chaffin Mitchell, AccuWeather,

Jan. 18 (UPI) -- Snow and ice sweeping through the Northeast will likely bring travel difficulties for travelers during the long holiday weekend, even in cities like Philadelphia, New York City and Boston.

New York City Emergency Management issued a travel advisory for Saturday as a winter weather advisory took effect in the city.


The winter weather advisories were in effect from midmorning Saturday until Sunday morning for northeastern New Jersey, the upper boroughs of New York City, the Lower Hudson Valley in New York, and southern Connecticut, for 2 inches to 5 inches of snowfall.

"As we head into the weekend, I want to advise New Yorkers to prepare for the winter weather that's moving into our area. With snow in the forecast for Saturday, give yourself some extra travel time, exercise caution, and use public transportation where possible," said New York City Emergency Management Commissioner Deanne Criswell.


Enough snow and freezing rain will accumulate on trees and power lines in some areas which can lead to tree damage and the loss of power for several days.

Strong winds will continue to develop into Saturday as the area of low pressure strengthens across the Great Lakes. This could lead to blowing and drifting snow in the storm's wake, resulting in a whiteout and perhaps localized blizzard conditions.

The Mackinac Bridge in Michigan, which is the longest suspension bridge in the Western Hemisphere, is requiring escorts for high-profile vehicles due to high winds of almost 50 mph on Saturday morning. Bridge personnel were stationed at both ends of the bridge to give instructions.

"Since temperatures are well below freezing in advance of the storm, snow is expected to start accumulating shortly after it begins. As a result, untreated surfaces can quickly become slick," AccuWeather meteorologist Adam Douty said.


The snowfall will spread into upstate New York and northern New England through the day on Saturday and Saturday night, according to AccuWeather meteorologists.

Due to winter weather conditions, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation said the speed limit on Interstates 90, 86 and 79 in Erie, Crawford, Venango, and Mercer counties has been temporarily reduced to 45 mph.

The National Weather Service in Pennsylvania recorded 1.1 inches of snow in Moon, Pa., early Saturday morning.

"As warmer air pushes into the cold air, it will cause snow to mix with sleet and freezing rain across much of Pennsylvania and western New York during the day on Saturday," Douty said.

If the storm strengthens more than expected, wind gusts could be a problem. High winds mixed with snow could create white-out conditions and even blizzard conditions if the storm is strong enough.

"Across New England, where cold air will be more stubborn to leave, snow is expected to be the primary precipitation type," Douty said.


The mountains of northwestern Pennsylvania and southwestern New York could also have 6 inches to 12 inches of snow due to lake enhancement.

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