A storm set to dump heavy, wet snow on millions of people in the Northeast will also scream with high winds in coastal and some inland areas this weekend.
While far from the worst windstorm ever, this screamer will knock out power, down trees and cause damage in New England, New York, New Jersey, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.
The storm that will likely break records for October snowfall in New England and the mid-Atlantic will spawn its share of strong winds as it strengthens rapidly over the region.
When we gaze at satellite photos and examine winds during this nor'easter, it may resemble a minimal hurricane or strong tropical storm, complete with an eye developing off the New England shore.
A satellite photo of a nor'easter along the New England coast March 1, 2010. Image courtesy of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
As the storm "bombs out" near Cape Cod Saturday afternoon and evening, sustained winds in that area will increase to 20-40 mph (30-65 kph), but peak gusts can reach 65 mph (105 kph). Areas on eastern Long Island and in Nova Scotia/southeastern New Brunswick may also experience winds close to this strength.
Areas from coastal New Jersey and the lower Delaware Bay northward to the New York Metropolitan area to Boston, interior Maine and New Brunswick will experience 15- to 30-mph (25- to 50-kph) sustained winds with gusts to 50 mph (80 kph).
Winds will shift around from northeast to north, and then northwest as the storm approaches and moves by the region spanning Saturday and Saturday night.
Even in areas that receive little or no snow, the force of the wind on fully leafed trees standing in saturated soil will lead to falling timber.
This could end up being worse than Irene in terms of downed trees and power outages, because winds will be stronger over a larger area.
Trees and limbs can crash down on power lines, houses, vehicles and passing pedestrians. Avoid wooded areas and tree-lined streets during this storm.
People located in areas to be hit by this storm either with snow, rain, wind, or all three may want to have a contingency plan in place in case the power goes out for an extended period of time.
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Mid Atlantic/ Northeast (1966)
Strong coastal storm (Jan. 29th-30th). Blizzard conditions with gale-force winds; over 50 deaths, 1-2 feet of snow with drifts to over 10 feet. Snowfall amounts and wind speeds: Washington, DC 12.0 inches Baltimore, MD 12.0 inches Roanoke, VA 17.0 inches West Virginia 12-20 inches Chesapeake Bay 10-16 inches Charlotte, NC 4.4 inches Reading, PA 11.7 inches & 54 mph winds Harrisburg, PA 10.2 inches & 42 mph winds Philadelphia, PA 8.3 inches & 38 mph winds Williamsport, PA 13.0 inches & 32 mph winds Pittsburgh, PA 6.0 inches & 35 mph winds Allentown, PA 11.5 inches & 46 mph winds State College, PA 10.0 inches Newport, PA 16.0 inches
Kenner, LA (1991)
Severe damage from a tornado over a five-block area.