Alright folks, that’s it from us for this pretty darn epic storm. But before we go, here’s a look at the final snowfall totals as they stand at the end of the day:

The overall leader in crazy amounts of snow is Shepherdstown, WV, with a bonkers 40.5 inches.

Balitmore-Washington International Airport had a new single day snowfall record of 25.5 inches, and a new 2-day record of 29.2 inches.

There’s a mystery afoot at Reagan National Airport in Washington, where 17.8 inches was recorded as of 8 p.m. on Sautrday. Specifically, the National Weather Surface has struck up an inquiry into the case of a missing snow board. If the intricacies of snow measurements are your thing (and really, they should be), go read up on the brewing brouhaha with Capital Weather Gang’s Angela Fritz.

Islip Airport on Long Island demolished its previous single day record of 17.4 inches with 22 inches for this storm.

LaGuardia Airport recorded 26 inches and JFK a whopping 29 inches, which is more than the nototriously snowy city of Buffalo has seen all season.

And Central Park just missed out a record, with 26.8 inches of snow, a mere 0.1 inches shy of the all-time total. So close!


And with that, we hope you all stay safe and wish you good luck in digging out and happy sledding tomorrow!


- AT & BK


We shared a time lapse video taken outside Washington, D.C. earlier, but what’s another time lapse between friends while we wait for some new (and potentially final for New York and Washington) snow totals to come in?

This one comes from Purcelville, Va., located about 45 miles northwest of Washington. It shows the absolutely insane amount of snow that piled up over the course of Friday night and Saturday. According to Capital Weather Gang, Purcellville had 32 inches of snow on the ground as of 3 p.m. on Saturday.


This alone makes me want to invest in a GoPro.

- BK


It may seem like it’s going to snow forever for parts of the East Coast, but just a reminder that the weather elsewhere, even in the Lower 48, can be quite different:


- AT


WXshift staffer Brian Kahn ventured out into a snowy, blustery New York City, and took these videos that show how bizarrely deserted the city’s streets are with a travel ban in place:


Because of the ban, snow plows are able to freely patrol, and pedestrians have taken advantage of the relatively clear pathways:


- AT


As Marshall Shephard, a meteorology professor at the University of Georgia and a former president of the American Meteorological Society, notes in a blog post, this storm has largely played out as forecasters anticipated. They knew several days out that it could be a major storm, even if some of the details were (as expected) up in the air until the storm hit.

Forecasters with the National Weather Service are often prepared to spend the night at the office, as a National Weather Service Facebook post notes:



NWS forecasters in the path of the winter storm/blizzard arrived for work on Friday prepared to stay for the duration of…

Posted by U.S. National Weather Service (NWS) on Saturday, January 23, 2016

And some NWS employees even had to be dug out by the National Guard!


That’s dedication!

- AT


Call it a snowdown at the Snow-K Corral. The battle for snowpremacy. The…you get the point.

Washington, D.C. has been in the bullseye for snow forecasts all week but New York has made a late play to challenge it for the biggest accumulations (at least among major cities) from this storm.

As of 7 p.m. on Saturday, New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport (JFK) had accumulated 27 inches while LaGuardia, located 10 miles to the north, had 25 inches. That’s more than Washington, D.C.‘s Reagan National, which had 17.8 inches as of this evening, but behind Washington’s Dulles Airport. That airport had 28.3 inches as of just after 7 p.m.


Proud New Yorkers (are there any other kind really?) might point out that at least the 27.1 inches of snow at JFK all came today alone, beating the airport’s previous single-day record of 21.6 inches set in February 2003. Plus the Mets outbid the Nationals for Yoenis Cespedes. Plus bagels. Plus is Dulles even in Washington? 

 While Reagan’s totals are the lowest, they’re still good enough for this storm to rank as fourth in the record books.

In other record book news, Central Park has had its third-highest snowstorm accumulation. The park, which hosts New York’s longest running weather station, has received 25.1 inches of snow, leading cross-country skiers out to shred the pow (at least as much as shredding the pow is possible on cross-countries skis in a park that’s highest point is 141 feet above sea level). It only needs another 1.8 inches to bump the February 2006 storm from the tops of the record book.


And with snow likely to continue into the night (if not the early morning hours), we’re pretty sure this storm will continue its assault on the upper echelons of record books in Washington, New York and other cities and towns and across the region.



  • This Amazing Time Lapse Shows What a Difference a Day Makes

  • Jan 23, 2016
  • 5:58 PM

Check out this great time lapse video that shows the snow pile up in Washington, D.C. You can really see when some of the heavier bands passed through overnight and into Saturday morning. According to the caption, the time lapse includes almost 3,000 photos taken over 24 hours. What a difference a day makes. 


- BK


The tide is coming in again and it raises the specter of coastal flooding for the second time on Saturday. Earlier storm surge took a bite out of beaches, crippling critical natural coastal defenses. That could make the next round of high surf even more destructive. 


Earlier today, Lewes, Del. set an all-time coastal flooding record and more areas could enter the record books this evening. There’s also one more high tide on Sunday morning that could bring more flooding before the storm finally moves away from the coast. For perspective, 65 percent of all economic costs from winter storms are due to coastal and inland flooding. So while the snow totals are the big story, these coastal areas are also likely to see losses pile up.

Below are the hydrographs for locations along the coast as well as back bay areas. All, save the Battery tide gauge in New York Harbor, dealt with moderate or major flooding earlier on Satuday. Stone Harbor, N.J. — located on the southern tip of the Jersey Shore, has been in some type of flood since early this morning and the waters are rising again. The Battery is expected to see higher waters this evening, though whether it reaches moderate flooding remains to be seen.

Because of their orientation, flooding in back bay areas usually peaks a few hours after oceanfront areas. You can read more about the earlier back bay flooding from storm surge expert Hal Needham right over here.

- BK


  • These People Are Having More Fun Than You During the Blizzard

  • Jan 23, 2016
  • 3:50 PM

We’re sure that you’re having fun in your own way during the blizzard. But these people are really maximizing the good times that only a blizzard can bring.

The West Virginia swim team. Taking the panda bear plunge.


This dogsledder in Washington, D.C.
This might seriously be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Way to go get it.


This car’s owners.
Literally putting their happy face on.


The Duquesne men’s basketball team.
Teams trapped under stressful situations can go south really quick. But it appears the Duquesne basketball team is doing alright despite being stuck on a bus on a highway.


People commenting Speaker Paul Ryan’s webcam.
Like that puddle in England but with better music.


- BK


With the onslaught of snow, ice and sleet across the East Coast, plenty of institutions and services have announced closures and changes to their schedules. Here’s a few we’ve spotted:

The Metro system in Washington, D.C., is down through the weekend.

A Friday game for the Washington Capitals and a Saturday game for the Wizards have both been postponed.


Federal offices in the D.C. area closed at 12 p.m. on Friday.

The National Zoo and all other Smithsonian museums in D.C. closed early Friday and will remain closed through Sunday.


Amtrak is attempting to keep service running on a modified schedule in the affected area.

The MTA in New York has suspended most weekend track work.

And, of course, thousands of flights have been cancelled because of the storm, so make sure to check with your carrier if you have a flight to or through the region.


The city that never sleeps is taking a nap (with one eye open of course).

It’s officially time to be off the road in New York. A travel ban has gone up as of 2:30 p.m. in the city and police are threatening to arrest anyone driving around. So please keep your car in its parking spot, and let plows and emergency workers do their jobs.


All bridges and tunnels connecting New York and New Jersey have have been shutdown until further notice as well.

Public transit is also curtailing service. New Jersey Transit has already closed its system of buses and trains, and the Metropolitan Transit Authority has also stopped bus service within New York. Next up are the Long Island Railroad, Metro North and aboveground subway lines, which will cease operations at 4 p.m. However, underground subway lines and the PATH train service from New York to New Jersey will remain open.


Oh, and all Saturday flights have been canceled at all of New York’s airports

In short, your options for getting around the area are limited but with snowfall rates and winds expected to increase this evening, it might not be such a bad thing to stay indoors and watch a movie.

- BK


This may be a first (but we may very well see more of this tomorrow if this storm keeps up)... 





All eyes on snow piling up in Washington, D.C. but impacts are already mounting in other areas. One of those is North Carolina, where Duke Energy reports 113,159 people are currently without power. Heavy snow has been falling throughout the day. Asheville, N.C. in the mountainous western part of the state set a new daily record for snow with 10.6 inches falling on Friday. Ice is also accumulating and as you can see in the dramatic video below from Raleigh, N.C., wreaking havoc on electrical infrastructure.

As the storm intensifies and spreads to more populous areas, it’s likely that the number of people without power will only grow. For breaking information on North Carolina, meteorologist Nate Johnson is a must follow on Twitter.



The last gasp of power in Oakwood.

A video posted by INDY Week (@indyweek) on

- BK


The staff of WxShift is located around the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast, and we’ve taken a few photos and video showing what the storm is like and how much snow there is where we are. First up, fellow live blogger Brian Kahn ventured down to Time Square in New York City:


Down in New Jersey, meteorologist Bernadette Woods-Placky reported a pretty healthy dose of snow this morning:


And meteorologist Sean Sublette found quite a bit of the fluffy stuff when he opened his front door in Pennsylvania:


- AT


And so it begins. #Snowzilla (or #DavidSnowie depending on your preference) has descended on Washington, D.C. The flakes are flying there, but while the nation’s capital is expected to be the epicenter of the storm, impacts are spreading far and wide. Nashville is dealing with gridlocked roads (and shoveling dinosaurs) this afternoon and blizzard warnings stretch all the way to Long Island.

To help keep track of all the impacts, we’re kicking up a live blog here. In this case, we are Andrea Thompson and Brian Kahn, both senior science writers here at WXshift. Refresh early and refresh often to see what’s going on as a potentially historic storm dumps snow across the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast.

- AT + BK


Good snowy morning! We’re back at the live blog of Snowzilla, David Snowie or whatever you want to call this potentially historic blizzard. No name can compare to this shot from Commander Scott Kelly aboard the International Space Station:


So far, 6 inches of snow has fallen in New York City and 14 inches at Reagan National Airport in Washington, D.C., with the snow still coming down. Winds are also gusting up to 40 mph in New York City, and those same winds have resulted in coastal flooding in Delaware and New Jersey.

Stay tuned for more as the day progresses!

- AT


This storm is really starting to crank in Washington, D.C. What started a flurries then turned to steady snow is now getting into pre-blizzard territory. Yes, the snow is getting heavier, but you can also see the wind picking up in the video below shot by Reed Timmer.


Most folks associate the world “blizzard” with heavy snow, but that’s just crazy talk. OK, it’s not totally crazy talk but it’s not totally accurate either. The National Weather Service defines a blizzard thusly:

A blizzard means that the following conditions are expected to prevail for a period of 3 hours or longer: Sustained wind or frequent gusts to 35 miles an hour or greater; and Considerable falling and/or blowing snow (i.e., reducing visibility frequently to less than a quarter mile) 

So wind can be a key ingredient and Washington and most of the Mid-Atlantic up to New York are in for plenty of it in the coming 24 hours. Winds could gust up to 55 mph, making for near whiteout conditions.

Marshall Shepherd has even more of a blizzard breakdown over at Forbes. Go check it out.

- BK


Alright folks, that’s it from us for the evening. The snows are expected to keep accumulating from D.C. to NYC in the overnight hours. We’ll catch you up on the latest, from #snowpups to thundersnow, starting tomorrow at 8 a.m. Will D.C. break records? Will NYC really see up to 2 feet of snow? Check back with us tomorrow! And stay safe!

- AT + BK


Need some background on just what’s up with this storm and what impacts it might bring? We’ve got you covered. Here’s some of the stories we’ve run so far, including some insights from weather and storm surge experts:

A ‘Dangerous’ Winter Storm Set to Affect More Than 50 Million People

This Winter Storm Could Make It Into Coastal Flood Record Books

Winter Storm Threatens to Slam Mid-Atlantic Coast With Coastal Flooding and High Waves

Winter Weather Impacts Are About More Than Snowfall Totals

A Major Winter Storm Will Hit the Mid-Atlantic This Weekend

- AT


Gov. Chris Christie has returned from the campaign trail to declare a State of Emergency in New Jersey. The state is expected to see 18-24 inches in the southwest part of the state and could deal with major coastal flooding tomorrow morning when high tide hits.

You need to remember to be smart and be safe,” Christie said on Twitter. “So, please stay off the roads tomorrow.”



For those who are fans of the snow (or of the pups):

- AT


Here’s a quick look at where things stand with the storm right now:


New York:

Governor Cuomo has declared a state of emergency.

Subways are running in the city, but bus service stops at noon.

The National Weather Service predicts 18-24 inches of snow for some parts of the city, particularly Brooklyn, and 24-30 for parts of Queens, Staten Island and Manhattan.


Washington, D.C.:

Metro service is suspended through Sunday.

Smithsonian museums and the National Zoo are closed.

There have been numerous reports of thundersnow in the area.

The National Weather Service predicts 18-24 inches to the south and east and 24-30 inches to the north and west.



Officials throughout the affected area are asking people to stay off the roads, both for their own safety and so that snow plows can get through.

Thousands of flights have been cancelled.

Amtrak is attempting to keep a modified schedule on its affected routes.


Other impacts:

Coastal flooding is inundating areas from Delaware up through New Jersey.

Winds are gusting in the 30-40 mph range, with concerns for power outages.

Thousands lost power overnight in North Carolina.


The storm has already proven to be deadly with at least 8 dead in road accidents across the South. The AP reports deaths in Kentucky, North Carolina and Tennessee where road conditions have deteriorated since the start of the day.

All three states have already declared a State of Emergency and governors have been urging people to stay off the roads as winter storm warnings remain in effect through Saturday evening for many locations in the South. 

In Virginia, accidents are mounting and hundreds of vehicles are disabled on roadways there.

- BK 

The National Zoo has possibly made everyone’s day with this delightful look at panda Tian Tian’s reaction to all the snow in D.C. on Saturday morning.


- AT


You guys. This photo.

Astronaut Scott Kelly once again snapped a stunner, this time capturing rare thundersnow (you can see the lightning flash in the storm clouds).

Thundersnow has been reported in the D.C. area with this storm and there is potential for it to make an appearance around New York City.


The next best thing to thundersnow (at least in Jim Cantore’s book)? That would be thundersleet. And the first reports of it are coming in from Reidsville, N.C. according to the National Weather Service Office in Blacksburg, Va.


If you missed it, it’s OK There’s likely more on the way.

- BK


  • 100 Percent of California Now in Highest Stages of Drought

  • May 15, 2014
  • 2:57 PM

It might not seem possible, but California’s drought just got worse. According to Thursday’s release of the U.S. Drought Monitor, 100 percent of the state is now in one of the three worst stages of drought.

The latest report, which indicated that rain had improved conditions in parts of Texas and the Plains states, revealed that California got no relief. In fact, a heat wave likely worsened the impacts of the drought in the state, including the wildfires that flared up this week.

Stages of drought in California
Stages of drought in California

As of May 15, California was completely in the three highest stages of drought, severe, extreme and exceptional. 
Click image to enlarge.

The drought in California, which has been building for the past few years, really took hold this winter. December-March is supposed to be the region’s wet season, but this year turned out to be a bust. At the beginning of April, nearly all of the state was in a drought — nearly 70 percent was in “extreme” or “exceptional” drought, the two highest stages. By the end of the month, the entire state was experiencing at least some form of drought in what has been the driest start to a year in California on record.

“Things are not trending in the right direction,” Mark Svoboda, a scientist at the National Drought Mitigation Center, told Climate Central.

This week, the situation became worse, with 100 percent of the state now in the three worst stages of drought. It’s the first time that has occurred since the inception of the Drought Monitor in 2000. Exceptional drought, the highest stage, runs from Los Angeles to San Francisco and inland to the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains.

A heat wave that descended on the state this week, sending temperatures into the triple digits and setting records in some places, is likely to only make matters worse.

“The heat will exacerbate and accelerate the impact concerns that come with higher demand (for water) and increased fire risk during such heat waves,” Svoboda said in an email.

Since Wednesday, seven fires have broken out between San Diego and San Clemente, their smoke plumes visible by satellite and radar. The risk of wildfires increases because the hot, dry conditions help dry vegetation that can act as fuel for the fires. Gusty winds can, in turn, increase the odds that those fires spread.

The situation in California is unlikely to improve or change much over the summer, which is the dry season for most of the state. Officials are hoping that an El Nino that is expected to develop this summer will bring the return of rains in the cooler season and alleviate water woes.

Stages of drought in the U.S.

The stages of drought across the contiguous U.S. as of May 15. About 38 percent of the country was in some form of drought, mostly concentrated in California and the Southern Plains.

California isn’t the only dry part of the U.S. Another major drought spanning the panhandles of Texas and Oklahoma, as well as parts of Kansas, Colorado, and New Mexico is also still firmly in place.

“Drought is really intensifying pretty rapidly in the Southern Plains,” Jake Crouch, a climate scientist with NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center, told Climate Central.

The first 4 months of the year in Oklahoma were the second driest start to the year on record for the state, Crouch said. The only drier year was 1936, during the Dust Bowl.

Rains that fell earlier in the week did beat back the drought in the eastern portions of Texas, but the drought was not nearly as intense there as it is in the western and central portions of the state.

“East Texas is an interesting case as it has been the area that has literally been ‘sitting on the fence’ each of the past two falls,” Svoboda said. 

He said the region has been going through cycles of rainy fall and winter weather that have kept the more severe drought seen in the Panhandle and West Texas at bay. The recent rains will only bolster its defenses.

Heavy rain also fell in Nebraska and parts of Kansas, with some improvements seen in both of those states as well.


This originally appeared on Climate Central.

A new staff update comes to us courtesy of Abbey Dufoe, WXshift’s web producer extradonaire and self-identified SpongeBob snow slider and Fall Out Boy afficinado.

Heavy snow in Wester Chester, Pa. coupled with a good long run out on the driveway makes for an ideal sled hill. As of 1:15 p.m. on Saturday, 17.4 inches of snow had accumulated in King of Prussia, Pa. located about 20 miles northwest of West Chester. With up to 24 inches expected in the region, the sledding should stay good for quite some time.


- BK


This storm isn’t just piling up the snow, its winds are also whipping up the surf and storm surge. The winds are coinciding with high tide and a full mean, meaning major flooding in coastal locations. Here are some of the reports we’re seeing:






- AT


There’s a new color on New York’s snow map. The National Weather Service New York office has revised its snow totals and purple (or is it pink?) is showing up for the first time this winter.

The snow forecast issued on Friday afternoon showed an area of 12-18 inches as the most like totals in the Manhattan and Brooklyn though Sunday morning. This evening, the forecast has been upgraded to 18-24 inches from northern New Jersey to parts of half of Long Island. That includes all of Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island as well as part of the Bronx. That’s the heart of the metro area that’s home to 20 million.


The uptick in the forecast comes after the latest run of models, which are bullish on the storm pushing further north. It remains to be seen if New York shuts down its subway but Wasington, D.C.‘s metro system went into hibernation mode at 11:00 p.m. and will stay that way through Sunday night.


- BK


Snow has completely overtaken the Washington, D.C. area and Mid-Atlantic and it’s now entering New York. The first bands are approaching the city and snow should start up in Manhattan sometime after 9:15 p.m.

New York isn’t in the snow bullseye but it’s the next ring out on the target. The city could see 12-18 inches by Sunday morning, but there’s a tight gradient between the snow haves and have nots. If the storm tracks slightly south of its current forecast trajectory, New York could easily end up with less than a foot. 

New Yorkers are making last minute preparations and following Washingtonian’s suit by cleaning out grocery stores.


- BK


The moment of truth begins in NYC. How much will they see?


- AT