NYC storm breaks 114-year-old snowfall record
A winter storm that pummeled New York City for two days broke a monthly record for snowfall in Central Park that stood for 114 years, according to the National Weather Service.
The storm killed at least three people, knocked out power to more than 700,000 electrical customers across the Northeast, grounded at least 3,844 flights from regional airports and disrupted shipping as far away as Maine. As the city digs out, forecasters are already watching another storm that may hit the U.S. East Coast next week.
“It’s pretty significant for our area to see this kind of snowfall,” said Jeffrey Tongue, a weather service meteorologist in Upton, N.Y. “This is stuff that doesn’t happen too often, maybe a couple of times a century.”
Manhattan’s Central Park had received 36.9 inches as of about 5 p.m. Friday, the most ever for a single month, the weather service said. The previous record for February was 27.9 inches in 1934, and the mark for a single month was 30.5 inches in March 1896.
Almost 21 inches blanketed the city during the storm, which began Thursday morning. The record for a single snowstorm was set Feb. 11-12, 2006, when 26.9 inches fell.
With the storm winding down and moving east, the weather service dropped a winter storm warning and replaced it with an advisory that roads may be slick tonight.
At its peak, the storm was powerful enough to set daily records for both rain and snowfall in Newark, N.J., and blast a 90-mph wind gust past a weather service buoy in the Atlantic. Its central barometric pressure rivaled that of hurricanes.
At Newark Liberty International, a hub for Continental Airlines Inc., 65 percent of today’s 607 scheduled commercial and freight flights were canceled, according to FlightStats.com, which tracks airline and airport performance. At LaGuardia, 61 percent of the 577 scheduled departures were scrubbed, and John F. Kennedy International reported 39 percent of its 579 flights canceled.
Major U.S. carriers scrubbed 2,344 flights today, mostly across the northeast. Delta Air Lines Inc., the world’s largest carrier, trimmed 500 flights, said Susan Elliott, a spokeswoman. The Atlanta-based airline doesn’t anticipate more cancellations this weekend, “although there will be some delays,” she said.
Continental grounded 500 flights, including all 200 of its regional jet flights at Newark, said Mary Clark, a spokeswoman.
Utilities in the Northeast reported a total of more than 700,000 homes and businesses without power Friday morning. New York-based Consolidated Edison Inc. had as many as 40,000 customers lose power in Westchester County, and about 500 in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and the Bronx, said a spokesman, Chris Olert.
New Hampshire was especially hard-hit, and Gov. John Lynch declared a state of emergency. About 330,000 residents lost power because of the storm and accompanying high winds, said Katya Brennan, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Safety.