Parts of New York and Pennsylvania are bracing for the first major snowstorm of the winter season on Monday, which is expected to disrupt post-Thanksgiving travel.
On Sunday, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul warned the storm could dump more than a foot of snow in parts of the state, hampering travel for the next two days.
Hochul urged New Yorkers to exercise caution when traveling, especially during morning commutes, as it could reduce visibility and cause hazardous road conditions.
According to the NWS’ Monday update, between 12 to 18 inches of snow are forecast in the heaviest bands of the storm, although as much as 2 feet of snow may be reported in certain local areas.
The heavy snowfall is expected to disrupt travel after Thanksgiving weekend, although data from FlightAware suggests the weather is yet to have an impact on air travel, with only 24 flight cancellations reported across the country as of early Monday morning.
Lake effect snow is a common weather phenomenon witnessed across the Great Lakes region during winter, as cold air from the north moves above the comparatively warmer water of the lakes. Moisture from the lakes is drawn into the atmosphere, causing it to form rapidly growing clouds as the air moves over the water bodies. This often results in several narrow but intense bands of snowfall. One of the most extreme examples of lake effect snow was seen in November 2014, when areas around Buffalo, New York received several feet of snow. Parts of Erie County received nearly 80 inches of snow during the storm. New York state was forced to declare an emergency, and later officials said the snowstorm caused $46 million in damages.
“There is still some uncertainty where and when snow bands will form and the heaviest snow will fall, so use extra caution when traveling and stay on top of the forecast throughout this event, so you can plan your travel and other activities accordingly,” Gov. Kathy Hochul said.