Long Island blizzard with 16 inches of snow, 50 mph wind gusts, and thundersnow 3 years ago today:
Blizzard conditions occurred on Thursday, January 4, 2018 over Long Island as well as portions of New York City, the Lower Hudson Valley, and southern Connecticut.
Snowfall totals ranged from 8 to 12" in New York City and 12 to 16" across Long Island and southern Connecticut.
Snowfall rates ranged from 1 to 2 inches per hour with locally 3 inches per hour at times. This resulted in near whiteout conditions at times when combined with strong gusty winds 35 mph to 55 mph.
Thundersnow was observed across portions of Long Island and southern Connecticut.
The development of the blizzard began along the southeast coast on Wednesday, January 3rd. An amplifying upper level trough spawned low pressure off the coast of Florida. The low underwent rapid intensification from Wednesday night through the Thursday morning as it moved north-northeast along the coast. The low passed just east of the 40°N 70°W benchmark Thursday afternoon. The central pressure when the storm developed was around 1004 millibars at 1 pm Wednesday. 24 hours later, the central pressure fell to 950 mb, which is a 54 millibar drop. The rapid intensification of the storm led to the heavy snow and blizzard conditions across portions of the region.
The blizzard occurred in the middle of an arctic outbreak that began in late December and lasted into early 2018 with many new record lows and record lowest maximum temperatures.
At Republic Airport in Farmingdale on Long Island, blizzard criteria were reported from 8:06 AM to 3:31 PM EST.
The storm originated on January 3 as an area of low pressure off the coast of the Southeast. Moving swiftly to the northeast, the storm explosively deepened while moving parallel to the Eastern Seaboard, causing significant snowfall accumulations. The storm received various unofficial names, such as Winter Storm Grayson, Blizzard of 2018 and Storm Brody. The storm was also dubbed a "historic bomb cyclone".
After forming, the extratropical cyclone continued to explosively deepen, tracking northward parallel to the United States East Coast By the morning of January 4, the powerful storm system had deepened by 53 mbar in 21 hours—one of the fastest rates ever observed in the Western Atlantic—to a pressure of 952 mbar, with a coastal cold front focusing heavy snowfall and thundersnow along immediate coastal regions. The drop in pressure was over twice the threshold (24 mbar in 24 hours) for bombogenesis. Onshore, the inland extent of wintry precipitation gradually increased as the storm intensified. As the day progressed, the development of several intense snow bands allowed for heavy snowfall rates of up to 3 in (7.6 cm) per hour over New England, which were enhanced further by the influx of warm low-level air due to the cyclone's circulation. The storm bottomed out at a pressure of 950 mbar when it was centered about 120 mi (190 km) southeast of Nantucket Island, with an eye-like feature evident. Being the most geographically proximate to the storm's track, Massachusetts bore the highest impacts of all American states. Winds gusted to hurricane-force at 76 miles per hour (122 km/h) on Nantucket and over 70 mph (110 km/h) on mainland Massachusetts.
At least 17.0 inches (430 mm) of snow fell on the Boston area, and 14.1 inches (360 mm) fell in Providence, Rhode Island. In Boston, a storm tide of 15.16 ft (4.62 m) was recorded during the blizzard which flooded areas of the financial district, including a subway station. This beat the previous record set in 1978 by the Blizzard of 1978. Significant coastal flooding occurred in Maine and New Hampshire.