By Brian K. Sullivan
BOSTON - A weather system that may drop more than a foot of snow in parts of the U.S. Great Plains is expected to move into New England tomorrow, the region’s third winter storm in as many weeks.
Kansas City International Airport was scheduled to remain closed until at least 10 a.m. local time as the system moved toward the Northeast. Winter storm warnings and advisories stretched from South Dakota to New Jersey, including Chicago, St. Louis, Cleveland and Pittsburgh, the National Weather Service said.
A winter storm watch, meaning snow and sleet may affect travel, has been posted for central Massachusetts to Maine starting tomorrow. The watch may be extended to include Boston later today, according to the weather service.
“This will be the third significant snow storm for many locations,” said Charlie Foley, a weather service meteorologist in Taunton, Mass. “It will be a heavy wet snow. There may be winds of 40 to 50 miles per hour, and that increases the risk of power outages.”
Hannibal, Mo., received 13.5 inches (34 centimeters) of snow yesterday and St. Louis got 5.7, the weather service said. Parts of Kansas reported snow falling at rates of 4 inches per hour to a depth of 14 inches, accompanied by thunderstorms.
Chicago may receive as much as 5 inches today, according to the agency.
As of 9 a.m. East Coast time, 425 flights had been canceled, 237 of them passing through Chicago’s O’Hare airport, according to FlightAware, a Houston-based airline tracking company. Ninety-minute delays are being reported at O’Hare, according to the Federal Aviation Administration
Yesterday, 831 flights in the U.S. were scrubbed, with 256 of them arriving at or departing from Kansas City International in Missouri, FlightAware’s website showed.
New York City will get mainly rain starting tonight into the next morning, said Dan Hoffman, a weather service meteorologist in Upton, N.Y. There may be periods when snow falls during the night, he said.
“You could see some flakes at the beginning and at the end, but nothing is going to stick,” Hoffman said. “It’s not a major storm; it is an inconvenience for the weekend.”
Foley said the storm’s track will determine how much snow an area gets because forecasters expect mostly rain on the eastern side. That’s made it difficult to predict how much snow will fall in Boston.
Yesterday, the weather service released a forecast calling for only an inch of snow in Boston and its southern suburbs. That was revised overnight to 2 to 4 inches.
Foley said the storm won’t have the power of the blizzard that struck New England starting Feb. 8, killing at least seven people and dropping 24.9 inches of snow on Boston.