How To Track Winter Storm Toby, Because It's Shaping Up To Be Another Big One
For the fourth time in three weeks, the northeast region of the United States has found itself preparing for a nor'easter. As of Tuesday afternoon, everywhere between Appalachia and Boston have winter storm warnings in place, so if you live within that region, you're going to want to know how to track Winter Storm Toby.
Precipitation is slated to begin in Virginia early afternoon on Tuesday before moving up the East Coast over the next day and a half, according to the National Weather Service (NWS). The NWS website offers macro and micro live warnings and snowfall predictions for all of the United States and its territories. It also provides detailed storm warnings for all parts of the United States where a warning is in place. These include timelines, as well as precipitation characterizations, which explain things like whether snowfall in an area will be heavy or wet.
The NWS also runs Twitter accounts for many regions, which are easy enough to find using Twitter's search feature. NWS also operates a series of similar Facebook groups, which are similarly searchable by major city or region. So if you want to get storm updates on either of your social media feeds, following the accounts that track your region might be the way to go.
Another go-to website for keeping track of major weather events would be AccuWeather.com, which allows its users to simply enter their zip code and instantly access localized maps, temperatures, and precipitation. At AccuWeather, or even weather.com, which operates similarly, users can track storm changes by the hour. This is done by using the "hourly" feature that appears after navigating to the zip code pages. Hourly predictions are prone to rapid changes, however, so it's important to check back frequently throughout the day or storm.
Something to keep in mind as you track Winter Storm Toby is that meteorologists can't possibly predict everything. Snowfall estimations for New York City, for example, have ranged everywhere from three to 16 inches. Large storm systems can shift at a moment's notice, dramatically increasing or decreasing their effects. This is why frequently refreshing whatever website you use to keep tabs on Toby is important, because a forecast from earlier in the day could easily be incorrect several hours later. The only thing known for sure as Toby approaches the northeastern United States is that it's coming at all, and the heart of wherever it hits is going to be subject to wind and heavy, wet snow.
That being said, many are taking warnings about Toby seriously. As of Tuesday morning, more than 340 flights around the United States were reportedly canceled, according to TIME. However, the good news is that many major airlines were reportedly already offering to waive the fee associated with changing flight times for those scheduled to fly to and from areas expected to be impacted by Winter Storm Toby. For many of the airlines, making the change is as easy as going to their websites or contacting their respective customer service departments.
The impact of the last several nor'easters has been varied, with places like New York City being largely spared, relative to many northeastern suburbs, which were walloped several times over in March. These types of storms are sweeping, and often are particularly harsh on coastal areas, which can experience heavy flooding and vicious waves.
While weather predictions shift around, it's imperative to know what's going to hit your area so that you can properly prepare. Keeping enough nonperishable food on-hand in the event that there is a prolonged power outage, storing water in a tub or via bottles, and stocking up on flashlights (or candles) are all great ways to prepare for the worst side effects of large storms. The bright side is that, even if where you live isn't hit particularly hard, you'll definitely be in good shape for next time.