First Major Snowstorm of 2017 Brought NYC a Case of Weather Whiplash

The first major winter storm of the season rolled through New York City on Thursday. The powerful, but quick hitting, system brought strong winds and heavy snow to the area.

According to the NWS, 9.4 inches of snow was measured in Central Park. The city, on average, gets 9.2 inches of snow for the entire month of February.

This classic nor’easter intensified quickly as it moved up the coast, drawing energy from both the clash of different air masses and the relative warmth of the Atlantic Ocean. Its unusually strong convection was reflected in the high number of thundersnow reports across the region.

As powerful as this storm was, it could have produced even higher snow totals if there was an area of high pressure to the north to block or hold it in place longer.

Nonetheless, this event has secured its place in NYC weather history. Never before has the city experienced a major snowstorm ( >6 inches) less than 24 hours after setting a new record warm temperature. This was a case of extreme weather whiplash!

More than 9 inches of snow blanketed Central Park, NYC on Feb 9, 2017. Credit: Melissa Fleming.

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About Melissa Fleming

Melissa Fleming is an environmental communicator and visual artist working at the intersection of art and science. She is passionate about exploring, learning, and sharing information about the natural world. She has presented her interdisciplinary work in a variety of mediums at venues and conferences around the world.