A major winter storm is spreading across much of the U.S. from Texas and New Mexico to the Northeast affecting more than 100 million people.
It is more good news for skiers and riders, and a nightmare for those who do not appreciate snowsports. Once again the midweek timing is favorable for weekend skiing and riding, and just a disaster for commuters, businesses, and schools.
On the plus side: Conditions on the slopes of the Northeast are as good as they ever get. On the down: There's so much snow everywhere else that highway crews and homeowners are running out of places to put snow cleared from roads, driveways, and walks.
"This is just ridiculous," said meteorologist Jeremy Davis. "It's getting to the point of where are you going to put it. It's unsafe to drive around in, snow piles make visibility difficult at intersections, where are you going to put any more snow, and then in the Spring, if melting is sudden you can have serious flooding."
Davis is an avid skier and ski area historian who founded NELSAP, the New England Lost Ski Areas Project, a decade ago while in college.
"Blue Hills Observatory (in Milton, Mass.) has had 71 inches so far, which is their normal for the year. Their record is 144 inches in '95-'96, which is the benchmark year for snowiest winter in Southern New England," Davis said.
Boston had 108 inches and Chelmsford had 122 inches that year.
"That's incredible. Here in Albany or Glens Falls there aren't any seasons that high," he said.
Davis and the National Weather Service say the storm will come in two phases.
It will begin this morning, Tuesday, Feb. 1, as overrunning snow when warmer air rides up over colder air, and dump 4 to 8 inches of snow by nightfall.
A second wave of snow will arrive late tonight and continue into late afternoon Wednesday, Feb. 2, dropping another 8 to 12 inches of snow.
"When all is said and done the snow's going to be in the foot-and-a-half zone, and potentially more than that. Northern New England is going to get a good event, but the jackpot for this storm is going to be the Catskills (in New York state), the Berkshires, Central Massachusetts, and Northern Connecticut," Davis said.
The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning that states accumulations will be in the 12-to-20-inch range by the time the storm is over.
"Snow will overspread the region by 7 a.m. this morning (Tuesday) and impact part of this morning's rush hour. Snow will continue through the day, followed by a brief break in the steady precipitation this evening. More snow then should arrive very late tonight into Wednesday. The snow will likely fall moderate to heavy at times during the Wednesday morning rush hour. The snow may change to sleet Wednesday afternoon, but most of the heavy precipitation will have already occurred. Any sleet will change back to light snow Wednesday night before ending."