If you were one of the hundreds of passengers who had flights departing from Palm Beach International Airport canceled on Tuesday, blame bombogenesis.
That’s a term meteorologists use to describe a storm that rapidly intensifies as its center moves out over the ocean.
Flight cancellations — resulting from a major winter storm blasting the mid-Atlantic and Northeast — began at PBIA on Tuesday morning, and by late afternoon 21 incoming flights had been wiped off the boards. At least 15 arriving flights had also been canceled, according to FlightAware.com.
The story was much the same at south Florida’s two other major airports. At Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International, 76 flights had been canceled and dozens of others delayed, some by more than three hours. Miami International Airport reported more than 60 cancellations and nearly as many delays.
Nationwide, weather forced 3,200 flight cancellations and 5,700 delays Tuesday. More than 1,500 flights alone were scrapped in among New York metro airports. Airport travel figures to be snarled today as well.
“Every once in a while these little winter storms go bananas, and we think this might be the one,” Weather Channel lead meteorologist Kevin Roth told NBC News.
Winter storm warnings and watches were in effect Tuesday for all or part of 13 states from the mid-Atlantic to New England.
And while there won’t be any snow and ice in Palm Beach County today, the blast of arctic air will be felt locally this morning with temperatures bottoming out in the low to mid-40s, according to National Weather Service meteorologist Dan Gregoria. A 15-20 mph wind will make it feel as low as 38.
The National Weather Service said the storm could drop 10 inches of snow in Philadelphia and up to a foot in New York City and Boston. Philadelphia has already received 20 inches of snow this winter, matching its annual average. In New York City, overnight lows could reach the single digits with the wind chill making it feel like 5 to 10 below.
Washington D.C. is expected get more snow than its seen in three years — around 6 to 7 inches, according to AccuWeather.com senior meteorologist Dan Kottlowski. The system could dump as much as a foot of snow on southern New England.
“The good news is that the storm is going to hightail it toward the northeast pretty quickly, but in the meantime, it’s going to create some pretty heavy snowfall,” Kottlowski said.
It’s not only snow that will be falling in the eastern half of the United States. Temperatures are expected to be 10 to 25 degrees below normal.
The storm led some school districts in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Connecticut, Virginia, West Virginia and Kentucky to cancel classes or send students home early Tuesday.
The bad weather also caused New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to call off a celebration Tuesday night on Ellis Island in honor of his second inauguration.
In Philadelphia, a Tuesday night game between the Philadelphia Flyers and Carolina Hurricanes was postponed because of the snow emergency declared in the city while federal workers in Washington D.C. were told to stay home.
The cold front could drop temperatures below freezing as far south as Jacksonville.
For Palm Beach County, it’s the fourth burst of cold air in the past week that will significantly drop temperatures. Gregoria says temperatures in West Palm Beach will top out around 60 “despite plenty of sun.”
Things will get downright frigid tonight with a low of 42 in West Palm Beach and plunge into the mid-30s in Belle Glade, which could also see some frost, Gregoria said.
Temperatures should begin to rise a bit by Thursday, but not by much.
“We’ll start to get back to average and maybe even above average temps by the middle or end of next week,” Gregoria said “If you don’t like the cool, just hold on for a week or so. It will really start to warm up.”