Northern U.S. braces for weekend storms as heavy rain forces major delays at New York City airports

A powerful weather system is battering the tri-state area with heavy rain and strong winds Saturday as a fast-moving storm blankets northern New England with snow.

A flood watch went into effect Saturday morning for the New York City metro area through central and southern New Jersey. The storm could dump up to 4 inches of rain on parts of the region.

The heaviest rainfall is expected in the afternoon and early evening, and minor flooding in low-lying areas such as roads and yards is possible.

Isolated flooding late Saturday and into Sunday is also expected.

The New York City area is also under a wind advisory, with winds up to 25 mph expected throughout the day, according to the National Weather Service.

The weather agency cautioned that winds of that speed could cause flying debris, power outages and could send unsecured objects flying into the air.

Even stronger wind gusts of 45-50 mph are expected.

Weather conditions are causing major delays across New York City airports. Arrivals at John F. Kennedy International Airport are delayed an average of three hours as of 5 p.m. EDT, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. La Guardia Airport is also experiencing delays in arrival and departure flights.

Philadelphia already surpassed a daily rainfall record and is experiencing its wettest day in March since 1872, with 3.06 inches of rain, according to National Weather Service.

Elsewhere, a fast-moving storm is dumping snow across parts of northern New England. More than 30 million people from the northern Rockies and Upper Midwest through the central Great Lakes into New England are under winter alerts.

Light to moderate snow is expected for the Upper Midwest to the Great Lakes, where 2 to 7 inches will fall. In the northern New England area, snow as high as 12 to 18 inches is expected.

The Maine Emergency Management Agency said the storm could bring the largest snowfall of the season and urged motorists to use caution.

“Mixed precipitation in some areas will make for especially hazardous travel conditions,” the agency said in a post on X. “Check your local forecast for conditions.”

In the Twin Cities area, the storm could bring more than 12 inches. Combined with a 2.9-inch accumulation from a “teaser” snowstorm Thursday night and Friday morning, snow totals could exceed the 14.3 inches that had fallen in the previous season.

While the weather begins to let up in New York, more than 80,000 power outages have been reported statewide, with the majority concentrated near Albany, Gov. Kathy Hochul said in a statement Saturday evening.

“State emergency response officials are in constant contact with impacted counties and utility companies, especially National Grid, which has informed us that most outages will be restored later tonight,” Hochul said.

She urged New Yorkers to “stay off the roads, don’t crowd the plow and avoid downed power lines.”

Meanwhile, a storm behind it swept down the California coast as it moved east, bringing ½ an inch to 1 inch of rain to the Bay Area. More than 6 inches of snow was also recorded in the Sierra Nevada mountain range, with the Heavenly Lake Tahoe resort reporting 10 inches of fresh powder Saturday morning.

In Oxnard, a city along the coast northwest of Los Angeles, a reading of .59 inches of rain set its modern record for rain recorded on this date. Same for Lancaster, a high desert city in Los Angeles County, which measured .53 inches of rain.

Orange and San Diego counties posted mostly smaller fractions of an inch of rain by the time the bulk of the storm passed Saturday evening.

The same front was moving east and forecast to bring “heavy snow and strong winds, and possible blizzard conditions to the Northern Plains and Upper Midwest through Tuesday morning,” the National Weather Service said in a forecast discussion.

From Kansas to Texas the storm could churn up scattered, severe thunderstorms on Sunday, the weather service said.

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