January 27th, 2015

Winter Storm – January 26-27, 2015

Posted at 4:10 PM ET

winterstorm-1-26-27-2015-smallA deep coastal storm formed off the Outer Banks on January 26, 2015 and moved northward to impact many areas of the U.S. Northeast and Atlantic Canada. Blizzard warnings remain active from Rhode Island to Atlantic Canada, according to The National Weather Service (NWS) and Meteorological Service of Canada (MSC). Snowfall rates as high as two to three inches per hour, together with strong winds continue to restrict visibility and impose dangerous travel conditions. Conditions should improve for Boston this afternoon into the evening, and gradually clear from south to north over the next 24 hours or so.

The storm is now just off the coast of Eastern Massachusetts. The surface low remained far enough east to keep the worst of the snowfall offshore, with the exception of Eastern Long Island and Eastern Connecticut and points north and east. This has resulted in a sharp decline in snowfall amounts west and south of these areas, west of the Hudson and south of I-80, and especially in Southeast Pennsylvania and Southern New Jersey. However, Eastern Long Island, Eastern Connecticut, and points north and east into Maine have not escaped the worst of this system. Aggressive storm mechanics and ample moisture feed from the Atlantic are expected by the NWS to produce storm total accumulations exceeding two feet in the Greater Boston area, with at least 12 inches in Maine. Snowfall amounts have been shown to be highly variable due to banding features within the storm.


48-hour Forecast Snowfall Probability for Amounts Exceeding 18 inches. Ending 7 a.m. EST (12 UTC) Thursday (U.S. Weather Prediction Center).

Hazard data illustrated in the CAT-i map was taken from i-aXs®, Guy Carpenter’s web-based risk management platform. i-aXs users can view impacted areas on any map as well as see how their portfolios were affected. Please contact your broker or GC Analytics® representative for assistance or go to www.i-axs.info for further information.


The governors of Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York all declared states of emergency on Monday ahead of the storm. Many Northeast states issued a state of emergency and enforced travel bans. More than 7,700 flights in and out of the Northeast were cancelled. As of Tuesday morning, utility companies across the region reported minimal power outages.


In Massachusetts, 26.2 inches of snow was measured in Shrewsbury. Wind gusts exceeded 60 mph in Edgartown and Yarmouth, with a peak gust of 78 mph in Nantucket. Coastal flooding closed some roads, and significant flooding was also reported in coastal communities south of Boston. Storm total accumulations have already exceeded two feet in some locations in Massachusetts, and this could be one of the top snowstorms on record for the state. 


Cities in eastern Connecticut including Norwich and Groton accumulated more than a foot of snow. Snowfall amounts include 16 inches in Norwich and 20 inches in Killingly.

New York

Snow amounts in New York ranged from 7.8 inches in Central Park in New York City to more than 28 inches in Eastern Long Island. The ban on travel issued at 11:00 p.m. Monday in Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Ulster, Westchester, Nassau counties and New York City was lifted at 7:30 a.m. EST Tuesday. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo advised that travel was not recommended if nonessential due to possible snow and ice on the roadways.

Thomas Prendergast, the CEO of New York’s MTA, said the LIRR, Metro North, subways and buses would phase-in service starting at 9 a.m. EST, becoming fully operational by noon Tuesday. Normal weekday service would resume Wednesday, except possibly for portions of the LIRR in Suffolk County. Islip Airport on Long Island reported more than 20 inches of snowfall as of Tuesday morning, with La Guardia Airport in New York City reporting only 11 inches.

New Jersey

In New Jersey, the highest total snowfall was 8 inches as of Tuesday morning in North Bergen. Travel bans were lifted early Tuesday morning.

Selected Unofficial Wind Gusts

Source: NOAA/NWS


Wind Gust (mph)



Nantucket, MA


Edgartown, MA


Yarmouth, MA


Provincetown Municipal Airport, MA


Block Island Municipal Airport, RI


Westhampton Airport, NY


Islip Airport, NY



Selected Unofficial Snowfall Amounts (Storm Total)

Source: NOAA/NWS


Amount (inches)



Shrewsbury, MA


Worcester, MA


Mattituck, NY


Littleton, MA


Medford, NY


Windham, NH


Hudson, ME


Islip Airport, NY


Baltic, CT


Baltic, CT


Killingly, CT


Burlington, MA


Burrillville, RI


New Bedford, MA


Plainview, NY


West Glocester, RI


Upton, NY


Norwich, CT


Essex, CT


Charlestown, RI


Portsmouth, RI


Portland, ME


Manchester, CT


La Guardia Airport, NY


Central Park, NY


New Haven, CT


Newark Airport, NJ


Norwalk, CT



Sources: Reuters, Associated Press, The Weather Channel, U.S. National Weather Service, Meteorological Service of Canada.

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Guy Carpenter publishes CAT-i reports for major natural catastrophes worldwide. These reports cover catastrophes including worldwide tropical cyclones, earthquakes, major UK and European floods and any other natural event that is likely to incur a significant loss to the (re)insurance industry. Please email CAT.i@guycarp.com if you wish to be added to the free email distribution list.

Guy Carpenter compiles RISK-i reports for major technological or man-made events worldwide. These reports cover risks to property, transport and life including explosions, fires, crashes, engineering disasters and terrorist attacks that are likely to incur a significant loss to the (re)insurance industry. Please email RISK.i@guycarp.com if you wish to be added to the free email distribution list.

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