Published: March 14,2017
Winter Storm Stella is intensifying into a high-impact snowstorm for the Northeast Tuesday. Stella has already brought some snow to the Midwest and dusted parts of the South.
(FORECAST: Winter Storm Stella)
Here are five things to know about the storm right now.
1) When Will the Heaviest Snow Hit the Northeast?The heaviest snow will progress from south to north across the Northeast region through Tuesday.
Snowfall rates of 1 to 4 inches per hour are possible at times during the height of the storm near and west of the Interstate 95 corridor, including Boston and New York City. Those high snowfall rates could also occur near or just northwest of both Philadelphia and Washington D.C. for a time.
(MORE: See Where the Snow is Now)
The three graphics that follow below show the general timing of when the heaviest snow will occur and when travel should be avoided in each respective city.
Washington D.C. Timing
New York City Timing
2) Blizzard Conditions, Tree Damage and Power Outages PossibleStrong winds gusting to 40 to 60 mph could cause near-blizzard or blizzard conditions to occur close to the coast from northern New Jersey to the New York City metro and parts of southern New England.
Blizzard warnings include parts of nine states in the Northeast, including portions of eastern Pennsylvania, northern/central New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, northern Rhode Island, Massachusetts, western Vermont, southeast New Hampshire and southern Maine.
Inland areas away from the coast will also see low visibility and dangerous travel conditions during the storm.
The weight of the snow on branches and power lines in combination with the strong winds may lead to tree damage and scattered power outages in parts of the Northeast.
Wind Gust Forecast
3) Stella Could Be New York City's Fifth March Snowstorm of a Foot or MoreA foot of snow from Stella is possible in a large swath from the mid-Atlantic to New England. Areas that see persistent, heavy bands of snow could see 24 inches or more of total accumulation. This is most likely northwest of Interstate 95, especially in higher elevations such as the Poconos and Catskills.
(INTERACTIVE: Snowfall Tracker)
Stella could be New York City's first March snowstorm of a foot or more since March 3-4, 1960. Just four of the 36 snowstorms that have dumped a foot of snow on the Big Apple since 1869 have occurred in March, the National Weather Service says.
The latest in the season New York City has seen a foot of snow in a single storm was March 12-14, 1888, when 21 inches piled up.
Interestingly, two of the three largest, heaviest Northeast snowstorms since 1956 have happened in March. For more details, see the link below.
(MORE: March Snowstorms Can Be Heavy)
4) Stella a Midwest and Southern Snowmaker, TooStella also brought snow to the Midwest and parts of the South since this weekend.
Up to 10 inches was reported near Watertown, South Dakota, while parts of southern Minnesota and northern Iowa saw more than a half foot of snow.
Chicago had seen 4.3 inches of snow from Stella as of Monday night, marking the first time an inch of snow has been on the ground there since Christmas Day.
(MORE: Chicago's No Snow Cover Streak Ends)
Stella's first phase brought snow to the South Saturday into Sunday. Snow fell as far south as Columbia, South Carolina, Sunday morning, making it only the 17th time it's snowed there in March since 1888.
5) Reconnaissance Flights Providing Extra DataAir Force Reconnaissance Aircraft have provided additional data ahead of the storm for use in computer models that output weather forecast information.
Extra data was provided by five dropsondes over the Gulf of Mexico during a flight there on Saturday. Another flight was scheduled for Monday to provide additional information about the atmospheric environment in the western Atlantic Ocean.
Reconnaissance missions are occasionally performed in the winter when there is the potential for a major winter storm in the United States. This is similar to how these missions are used during hurricane season to collect data on tropical cyclones and the environment around them.