Mother Nature is about to hand some New Englanders their first meaningful snow of the 2019 season. Places such as Buffalo and Syracuse, New York, Burlington, Vermont, and Concord, New Hampshire, as well as much of Maine, haven’t seen measurable snowfall — at least one-tenth of an inch — since the middle of spring. A strong cold front will change this for the next two days.
The storm will likely move into areas of upstate New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine and adjacent areas of Canada on Thursday morning and afternoon, Nov. 7. Then, the snow will head south toward coastal New England through the late afternoon and evening hours. However, temperatures will be too warm for snow to develop in most coastal communities. Some snowfall may extend as far south as State College, Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh and Morgantown, West Virginia. By Friday, the storm will lose steam. However, residual snow showers will be scattered across the region, adding minor additional accumulation.
Snowfall will be heavy at times, but should amount to normal accumulations for the first storm of the season in this part of the country. This is what Brooke Taber, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service (NWS) in Burlington, Vermont, told FreightWaves. Totals will only reach two inches or so in many of the valleys, up to four inches in some mid-slopes, and six to eight inches in some of the highest elevations of the Green and White mountains.
Taber said the snow may be wet as the storm begins on Thursday. As the snow gets fluffier by evening and the winds pick up, blowing and drifting snow could lead to reduced visibility. Taber added that this storm is “right on schedule” for being the first of the season, just a week earlier than the average mid-November arrival.
Since this is a fast-moving system, the total period of impacts will be fairly brief — 24 to 36 hours in most locations — not lasting too long after the storm ends. However, during the storm, the combination of snow and wind will give drivers a tough time on portions of I-87, I-91, I-95 and the Trans-Canada Highway. There’s a good chance of delays due to reduced speeds, possible traffic jams and potential road closures that could last several hours.
The storm will probably slow down the loading and unloading of freight at some intermodal ramps, and potential flight delays and cancellations may impact air cargo in the region.
The storm may cause moderate to major disruptions to local and regional business operations and supply chains. On a national level, the storm’s impact on freight should be negligible. The latest Outbound Tender Market Share (OTMS.USA) data from FreightWaves SONAR, seen on the map below, shows the volume of trucking freight leaving markets that are in the path of the snowstorm is much lower compared to that of other parts of the country. This is expressed as a percentage for the past seven days. In other words, carriers haven’t been sending a lot of trucks into the region to pick up loads to be delivered elsewhere.
Wind gusts up to 40 mph could blow down trees, especially in areas where trees still have a lot of leaves. Utility lines may also topple, leading to scattered power outages and roadblocks.
This early season winter-like storm may stress outdoor livestock in the impact zone. As for agriculture, any remaining late-summer-crop harvesting will likely be delayed.
Look for updates on this storm on the FreightWaves website and social media accounts.