Friday, January 5, 2018

Nor'easter socks Queens with a foot of snow, power outages

Posted: Thursday, January 4, 2018 5:22 pm
As of 5 p.m. — when the storm's final band of snow moved into Queens — Flushing had about 14 inches on the ground, while Rego Park picked up exactly 1 foot by 3 p.m. Much of Queens saw similar amounts.
The precipitation, combined with wind gusts around 40mph, forced the suspension of NYC Ferry service, as well as air travel at both Kennedy and LaGuardia airports. 
The whipping winds also knocked out power to many in northern Queens on Thursday afternoon, including about 600 people in College Point, 500 in Whitestone and 100 in Flushing north of Kissena Park. 
By 5:30 p.m., the vast majority of College Point and Whitestone residents had their power restored, according to Con Edison. Those in Flushing can expect to have power back around 10 p.m.
According to the Sanitation Department, more than 2,300 employees working 12-hour shifts to keep the roads clear throughout the day. But in some parts of Flushing, they were fighting a losing battle.
A Chronicle reporter witnessed multiple motorists get stuck in snow drifts throughout the day. The hill on 33rd Avenue at 153th Street was especially tricky for some. One driver repeatedly tried to drive up it to no avail, eventually sliding down and into a snow bank.
But it was all fun and games in Bowne Park, as a number of kids could be seen making snow angels and throwing the white stuff at each other.
After closing schools Thursday, Mayor de Blasio said he expects the city's youngsters to return to the classroom on Friday.
Once the flakes stop falling between 7 and 9 p.m., Queens residents will have to deal with another hazard, one they've felt in their bones for almost two weeks.
For 10 straight days beginning Dec. 26, the temperature at Kennedy International Airport has failed to reach 32 degrees — the third-longest streak since records have been kept there.
Even coastal sections of Antarctica, the coldest region on Earth, have recorded readings at or just barely above the freezing mark during that time.
The record of 16 straight days, set in 1961, won’t be broken this year, as temperatures around 40 degrees are in store for both Monday and Tuesday.
But make sure you’re prepared for one final, hellish blast of cold air on Friday and Saturday, as the mercury isn’t expected to break 15 either day.
According to the National Weather Service, tonight’s temperature will dip to about 10 degrees in Queens. And even though Friday will see plentiful sunshine, it won’t bring any warmth to the borough, as the day’s high should hover around 14 — nearly 30 degrees colder than average.
But the real cold blast comes that night, when the NWS says the temperature in Queens will fall to a bone-chilling 3 degrees.
Will that be a daily record? You bet. The coldest Jan. 5 in Queens history was in 1968, when the lowest reading on the thermometer was a balmy 8.
However, the all-time records for the coldest temperature at both JFK, -2 on Jan. 21, 1985, and LaGuardia, -7 on Feb. 15, 1943, most likely won’t fall.
The wind will certainly make it feel that frigid, however, thanks to Thursday's nor'easter
The combination of its large size and strength that will allow it to yank down copious amounts of Arctic air from Canada over our area in the form of a brutally cold, sharp wind.
Gusts could reach as high as 40 mph Friday, resulting in dangerous wind chills between 0 and -10 degrees during the afternoon and between -10 and -20 at night.
That’s cold enough to cause hypothermia and frostbite in a short amount of time.
Saturday appears to be more of the same, with a high temperature of just 12 and a low reading of 5 that should break daily records at both airports.
But consider yourself lucky, Queens residents. Residents of Connecticut and the Hudson Valley will have to endure highs around 0 and lows between -5 and -12 on both Friday and Saturday.
Sunday here will look more like late December with temperatures in the low to mid 20s, before more seasonable weather comes our way next week — followed by another shot of incredible cold.
New York winters can be historically harsh, but why have the last two weeks been so brutal?
The answer can be found thousands of miles away in the form of a massive ridge of high pressure over the northern Pacific Ocean that has provided Alaska with record warmth.
That slow-moving giant ridge created a kink in the jet stream — the west-to-east band of air that weather systems normally move along — tilting it southwestward over Canada.
In recent days, that has allowed low pressure systems moving along the jet stream to transport both frigid air and snow from the Arctic to the central and eastern United States.

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