New England On Alert For Robust Nor’easter Early Week
Residents in the Northeast and New England are bracing for a powerful nor’easter as this week kicks off. Two components will join forces in the coming days across New England, one element tracking across the Upper Midwest and into the interior Northeast and then the primary piece marching across the Southeast and off the Carolina coast before swinging northward and intensifying.
The leading feature will push northward along the mid-Atlantic coast late Sunday night into Tuesday, with the storm’s center deepening as it swings into coastal New England. AccuWeather forecasters say that this storm will have the potential to develop into what forecasters call a “bomb cyclone” and pack a punch in terms of damaging winds, snowfall amounts and coastal impacts.
“When a storm undergoes bombogenesis, the central pressure of a storm experiences a pressure drop of 0.71 of an inch of mercury (24 mb) in 24 hours or less. When the pressure drop occurs in the center of the storm, it creates a giant vacuum effect. Air then rushes toward the center in the form of powerful winds, sometimes similar to how a hurricane develops,” explained AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski.
Blustery winds will range from 40-50 mph across portions of the Appalachians, northern Virginia, Maryland, central and eastern Pennsylvania and southern New York on northward to interior Maine. Gusts can reach speeds of 50-60 mph along the spines of the Appalachians, parts of New Jersey and far southeastern New York on northward to areas of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia in Canada.
The strongest winds will be isolated to the Connecticut, Rhode Island, southeast Massachusetts and Maine coastal areas, as well as southern Nova Scotia, ranging as high as 60-70 mph at times with the AccuWeather Local StormMax™ of 80 mph. There is heightened concern for numerous power outages across the region, downed trees and blowing snow as this potent nor’easter ramps up along the coast. In Boston, the winds will begin to pick up on Monday and are expected to reach peak gusts on Tuesday.
From Sunday into Monday, the feature tracking eastward out of the Great Lakes Region will bring snow across Ohio, the higher terrain of West Virginia, Virginia, Pennsylvania and New York.
Rain will mix with snowflakes across southern Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia, and southeast Pennsylvania eastward into southern Massachusetts on Monday, with plain rain focusing across Washington, D.C., Baltimore, and much of New Jersey.
Coastal flooding will be a concern as the nor’easter tracks northeastward along the mid-Atlantic and New England coastline. Forecasters say that tides will have the potential to rise 2-3 feet above the historical average for mid-March, particularly during times of high tide from Monday to Tuesday.
“Even coastal locations just to the south to Virginia will be at risk for tides 1-2 feet above normal,” noted Sosnowski.
Conditions will rapidly deteriorate across southern New England Monday night into Tuesday night, when the heaviest snowfall will likely fall from New York to Maine. Hourly snowfall rates on the order of 2-3 inches per hour may be possible at times from Monday night into Tuesday night in the highest elevations of the Adirondacks, Catskills, Berkshires, Green and White Mountain ranges with the AccuWeather Local StormMax™ of 36 inches possible.
“The snow will be heavy and wet in nature, which can lead to snapped branches and downed power lines,” explained AccuWeather Meteorologist Renee Duff.
Widespread power outages will be possible from far southeastern Connecticut to the Massachusetts Cape on northward across the entire coast of Maine. Inland parts of the Northeast U.S. will also face a risk of localized and regional power outages. However, with “drier” snow expected to fall in this region, this risk gradually declines from western Pennsylvania to western New York.
Even though the strongest gusts will not reach across interior New England, winds will stand the chance of reaching up to 40 mph in places where heavy snow is spreading. Forecasters warn that this combination can lead to blizzard conditions with times of reduced visibility and blowing and drifting snow in parts of New Hampshire and northern Massachusetts.
“For a blizzard to be officially declared, there must be blowing and/or falling snow with winds of at least 35 mph and reduced visibility of a quarter-mile or less for at least three consecutive hours,” explained Sosnowski.
The morning commute on Tuesday in southern New England could prove quite challenging, with hefty snowfall and gusty winds spreading across the region. Roads will likely be slippery east of the lakes across western New York and parts of northwestern Pennsylvania on Tuesday, including Erie, Pennsylvania, and Buffalo, New York. Heavier snowfall accumulating rapidly to the east from central New York to southern Maine on Tuesday will likely produce disruptions to various modes of travel.
Locations forecast to see wind gusts upwards of 50 mph with this storm will be at risk for substantial airline delays and cancellations. Transportation hubs such as Boston and New York City could face challenging weather conditions, and travelers are urged to call ahead to check on the status of their flights.
Temperatures in New York City on Tuesday can climb to a high of 42 degrees Fahrenheit, but that daily maximum will likely not occur in the afternoon as it typically does. The daytime high in the city could be recorded during the early morning hours and crash throughout the day as rain mixes with snow. The variability of the track of the storm can have a significant impact on conditions in northern New Jersey and southeastern New York. Any slight shift could spell trouble for how much snow the region receives, and residents are urged to continually check back to AccuWeather for the most up-to-date information on this impactful storm.
Produced in association with AccuWeather