Winter Storm Stella blasted up the East Coast Tuesday, providing much of the region with its biggest snowfall of the winter. Here is what you need to know:
The latest forecast
The late-season snowstorm continued to dump snow, sleet and freezing rain from the Carolinas to New England Tuesday, including many of the big cities in the Northeast U.S., the National Weather Service said. Blizzard warnings and winter storm warnings remain in effect for heavy snowfall accumulations from the northern Mid Atlantic through the Northeast U.S., with some areas from eastern Pennsylvania to southern New England likely getting in excess of a foot. Coastal flooding is also possible from the system.
Things are closed
The storm has closed schools in many cities and towns and has prompted dire warnings to stay off the roads. Entertain your kids and keep your sanity in tact.
Because The Weather Channel said so. No other private firms, nor the weather service, use this name. The Weather Channel is calling the system Stella as part of its winter storm naming system.
Snow vs. ice
Many areas are getting less snow than predicted, but in its place is a messy mix of sleet and freezing rain, which has led to downed trees and power lines and caused power outages in some areas.
Ice coated the cherry blossoms around the Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C., the Capital Weather Gang tweeted.
Blame the 'sandwich'
Sleet and freezing rain forms due to a "warm-air sandwich" in the atmosphere above our heads. Precipitation starts as snow in the cold layer at the top, then melts to rain as it falls through the warm layer, then refreezes into sleet or freezing rain as it falls through the cold layer near the surface.
In the dark
Stella has knocked out power to over 100,000 customers from Virginia to Pennsylvania, according to the Associated Press.
The not-so-friendly skies
As of Tuesday morning, airlines canceled 7,746 flights this week, disrupting travel plans for 400,000 passengers, according to FlightAware.com, an online tracking service.
More than 80% of the schedules in New York and Boston, and half the flights to and from Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia were canceled Tuesday, according to FlightAware. Plans for Wednesday are still fluid, with more than 600 cancelations already.
What happens next?
Sorry, spring lovers. After the storm exits, a second blast of arctic air will keep the eastern half of the nation in its clutches for the rest of the week. “Winter will hold a tight grip on the Northeast in wake of the significant snowstorm early this week,” AccuWeather Meteorologist Max Vido said. Blowing snow could also complicate road crews' work.
The nor'easter comes a week after the region saw temperatures climb into the 60s, and less than a week before the official start of spring.