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National

Meteorologist Tracks 'Beast' Of A Winter Storm

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And an update now on that big snowstorm in the Northeast. At this hour, two feet of snow has fallen in parts of New England. But further south, many dodged the worst of it. Travel bans have been lifted in New Jersey and New York City. Watching all of this is meteorologist Ryan Hanrahan of NBC's affiliate in Hartford CT, and we reached him by phone. Good morning.

RYAN HANRAHAN: Good morning, Renee.

MONTAGNE: Now, there's been a lot of hype leading up to this storm. New York City mayor Bill de Blasio is just one of the many public officials to say that the snowfall - or to predict that it would be historic. But I must say, at the moment, the snow in New York doesn't seem to be living up to that billing.

HANRAHAN: It really doesn't, Renee. It would be fair to say that this storm is going to be a big bust for New York City. And the reason why is the storm actually took a last-minute jog about 100 or 150 miles east. And so that's putting the heaviest snow up toward Boston and not New York City. So unfortunately for New York, they shut the city down. They shut mass transit down last night. And really it's sort of just a run-of-the-mill snow event for New York City now.

MONTAGNE: Although I guess the upside for that is at least they did not fail to meet the challenge of an historic storm.

HANRAHAN: Well, absolutely. Yeah, I mean, and you look at what happened during Sandy. And there was a lot of criticism that the city and the mayor weren't necessarily prepared for the storm, that they didn't take the warnings from the weather service seriously. So they may swung to the other side of the pendulum here where they were looking at the forecast and said we need to shut everything down to make sure we're prepared.

MONTAGNE: So the Northeast, though, is being hit pretty hard although that is a region that is used to snow.

HANRAHAN: Yeah, absolutely. And so the worst the storm is going to be from Boston down through portions of Rhode Island, eastern Connecticut, Worcester, MA, and then up into portions of New Hampshire and Maine. But it's not terribly unusual to get a big snowstorm or a blizzard in southeastern New England. We're looking at snowfall anywhere between 20 inches and as much as 30 or even 35 inches in some areas. So it'll be a big storm. It'll cause a lot of problems around Boston this morning. But it's something that they'll probably dig out from relatively quickly. We've certainly seen bigger storms in the last few decades.

MONTAGNE: You know, let me just ask you briefly - quote you, really, from your blog this morning. It's a beauty from a meteorologist's perspective and a beast from a normal person's perspective. A beast we get. Why a beauty?

HANRAHAN: Well, beauty - you know, when we look at storms as meteorologists, we sort of look at them as incredible creatures that mother nature is able to develop. And so we're looking at the satellite loop and the radar loop and the storm comes together, and it looks like a perfect storm as we went through last night and early this morning. So it was very textbook-like. It was very classic, with strong jet stream diving down through the East Coast of the U.S. and forming this very powerful nor'easter off the coast. So the meteorologists and the weather geek in us wants to refer to a storm like this as just beautiful. But we know that most people aren't meteorologists that are standing outside their door, looking at two feet of snow they need to shovel. So we get that most normal people don't look at a storm as a beautiful thing.

MONTAGNE: Well, it's definitely beautiful from the outside. I'm glad I'm not there.

HANRAHAN: (Laughter) Absolutely.

MONTAGNE: Thanks very much. Meteorologist Ryan Hanrahan of NBC's affiliate Hartford, CT. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.