A powerful nor’easter that could to turn into a bomb cyclone threatens to put parts of New England under two to three feet of snow, while burying New York City with up to a foot this weekend.
Officials along the East Coast begged drivers to stay off the roads in hopes of avoiding the traffic nightmare that befell motorists in Virginia after extreme weather hit earlier this month.
The latest major winter storm, which will develop off the Carolina coast late this week, could potentially strengthen as it moves along the East Coast into a bomb cyclone, which occurs when the central pressure of a storm crashes by 0.71 of an inch or more within 24 hours, Accuweather.com reported.
The storm has yet to form and won’t until Friday, but still ‘confidence is increasing that a significant winter storm will create considerable impacts Friday through the weekend from the Mid-Atlantic through the Northeast,’ the Weather Prediction Center said on Tuesday.
Regardless, the heaviest snowfall is expected farther up north in Boston and New England, which will be ‘clobbered’ with as much as two feet of snow, according to Accuweather.
There is a chance the storm could be the biggest January snowfall ever in Boston and a top five all-time storm for the area.
The heaviest snowfall is expected farther up north in Boston and New England, which could come close to 18 inches and as much as two feet of snow
Wind gusts are likely to reach 30-50 mph, with peak winds nearing 50-70 mph in the Boston-area
People from Providence, Rhode Island, to Portsmouth, New Hampshire to Portland, Maine could be faced with up to three feet of the white stuff.
‘Boston is within the bull’s-eye of some of the worst conditions expected, and into Maine,’ meteorologist Mary Gilbert told the New York Post. ‘They’re going to have very strong winds as well, so travel is going to be very difficult.’
The first winter storm watches were issued for parts of eastern Massachusetts on Wednesday at 3 p.m. — some 57 hours before they were set to go into effect at 12 a.m. on Saturday.
New York City could get anywhere between 8 and 12 inches of snow, and parts of eastern Long Island may see up to 18 inches before the ‘quick-hitting’ storm leaves the region.
But forecasters remain cautious and said any small shift in the storm’s track to the east or west could mean the difference between manageable snowfall or a blizzard in the Big Apple, Accuweather reported.
Snowfall is expected to reach the New York area between midnight Friday and 2 a.m. Saturday, with wind gusts up to 45 mph, according to AccuWeather.
New York City’s Office of Emergency Management told residents to start planning for the storm Thursday.
‘Make sure your household disaster plan is ready and all members of your household are familiar with how to contact one another in an emergency,’ the department wrote on Twitter. ‘Winterize your Go Bag by adding a blanket, warm socks and gloves.’
Winter storm watches have been issued from the mid-Atlantic to southeastern New England in advance of a nor’easter that is set to charge up the East Coast Friday night into Sunday. As it chugs along, the storm will strengthen into a bomb cyclone and a full-blown blizzard will ensue in eastern New England
As of Wednesday forecasters are confident that southern New England will face the most significant impacts
As of Thursday, forecasters were confident that southern New England will face the most significant impacts.
‘This is going to be an intensifying storm that will produce a lot of wind, which raises concerns for blowing and drifting snow, power outages and blizzard conditions in some areas,’ AccuWeather Chief Meteorologist Jonathan Porter said. ‘There is also a serious coastal flooding and beach erosion threat, especially in eastern Massachusetts.
The heavy snow will potentially hit the Interstate-95 corridor from Virginia to NYC, possibly affecting travel with the risk of accidents and traffic along the highway.
Friday night through the early part of Saturday should see the heaviest travel delays. Boston, JFK, Newark, LaGuardia and Philadelphia airports stand the highest risk for delays and cancelations, according to the Weather Channel
All airports should be in the clear by early Sunday morning.
New Yorkers are no stranger to snowfall, as Times Square in January of 2014 shows
New Yorkers remember not so fondly the ‘bomb cyclone’ that walloped the east coast in January of 2018
‘It is becoming more likely that it will bring significant snow, sleet and freezing rain to the region, including the I-95 metropolitan areas,’ the Weather Prediction Center added.
Accuweather forecasters recommend avoiding travel across New England during the storm on Saturday and Sunday night as the storm is likely to maintain its intensity for about eight to 12 hours.
The last notable nor’easter to hit the Northeast came in October, and hammered the area with powerful winds and heavy rains that left more than 600,000 homes and businesses without power at one point, USA Today reported.
Earlier, this month hundreds of motorists were stranded 27 hours on I-95 without food or water after a 50-mile stretch of the highway south of DC was blanketed in nearly a foot of snow and ice as temperatures dipped to the teens.