Monday, December 27, 2010

Digging Out

The sun has come out and the winds are still howling, but the snow has finally stopped in my corner of New Jersey. It was a Nor'easter to remember and the New York City Metro area is beginning the tough task of digging out from a major snowstorm that has crippled transportation throughout the region and affect air travel around the US and across the globe.

The storm dumped the heaviest snows across much of New Jersey, with the heaviest amounts running from Mahwah, New Jersey south through Monmouth County. New York City saw at least a foot of snow in most places. Long Island got a little less, but they saw some of the strongest winds during the storm. The storm has set all kinds of records throughout New Jersey.

This is a snowstorm that developed just before Christmas across the South, so the storm's wintry effects were felt across much of the country. This puts the storm's intensity way up there on a scale of Northeastern storms. The Northeast Snowfall Impact Scale measures the effect of snow and takes storm totals and measures them against the population impact:
The Northeast Snowfall Impact Scale (NESIS) developed by Paul Kocin and Louis Uccellini of the National Weather Service (Kocin and Uccellini, 2004) characterizes and ranks high-impact Northeast snowstorms. These storms have large areas of 10 inch snowfall accumulations and greater. NESIS has five categories: Extreme, Crippling, Major, Significant, and Notable. The index differs from other meteorological indices in that it uses population information in addition to meteorological measurements. Thus NESIS gives an indication of a storm's societal impacts. This scale was developed because of the impact Northeast snowstorms can have on the rest of the country in terms of transportation and economic impact.
It will probably be a few weeks before the storm totals are plugged into the formula to determine the intensity, but this storm appears to have the characteristics of a major to crippling storm due to the high storm totals through New Jersey and New York City, along with the widespread snows from the Southeast through New England.

Despite the fact that the subways and buses and trains were canceled throughout the City and some commuters were stuck on subway cars for hours, Mayor Mike Bloomberg had not declared a state of emergency. Snow plows are having a tough time getting through side streets because of stranded cars; had the state of emergency been declared, people would have been less likely to be on the streets and the plows would have a better chance of getting through the streets.

It was a mistake for him not to declare a state of emergency, even as his Department chiefs and OEM were busy telling people to stay off the roads.
A Blizzard Warning is in effect for New York City from Sunday, December 26, until Monday, December 27, at 6 PM. Stay off the roads. The city needs to clear the roads of snow and abandoned vehicles so public safety can respond to emergencies. Use mass transit and exercise caution. Be safe when clearing snow.
It's tough to use mass transit when they aren't operating.

You know it's bad when there's snow deep into subway stations underground.

While only NYC area airports are closed (EWR, LGA, and JFK), and there aren't delays elsewhere in the nation, passengers are going to find that it may take days before they can return to NYC because of all the cancellations and delays.

Still, for those who don't have to dig out, it is truly a winter wonderland out there and a beautiful sight to behold. I'll be posting photos through the day.

The NJ Turnpike was a mess as a closure of the George Washington Bridge overnight meant that trucks and other vehicles couldn't go across and were stranded all along the northern stretch of the Turnpike.

Good luck finding shovels, snow brushes, or snow blowers as they're sold out all over the area. I probably should have bought a snow blower at Costco back in November, when an electric model was on sale for about $200. Oh well.

New Jersey drivers are reminded to clear all the snow off their cars. Under a recently enacted law, drivers will be fined for driving with snow on their roof tops.

No comments: