Snowstorm pounds mid-Atlantic, eyes New England as a blizzard

By Alex Sosnowski, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
January 04, 2018, 1:07:56 PM EST

A major storm will track close enough to the Northeast Coast of the United States to bring everything from heavy snow to blizzard conditions and frigid winds into Thursday night.

The storm has undergone rapid strengthening, referred to as bombogenesis. Pressure within the center of the storm crashed 0.95 of an inch of mercury (32 millibars) in nine hours from late Wednesday evening to near daybreak Thursday.

"As of noon, Thursday, the current storm had a central pressure of 28.08 inches (951 mb) and was more intense than the 1991 Perfect Storm and the Blizzard of '93," according to AccuWeather Meteorologist Jesse Ferrell. "These storms had pressures of 28.70 inches (972 mb) and 28.34 inches (960 mb) respectively."

The storm will affect areas from Virginia to Maine and Atlantic Canada on Thursday.

Snow and an icy mix made the southeastern coast of the U.S. a winter wonderland on Wednesday and Wednesday night.

Storm impact to be significant in mid-Atlantic, severe in New England

In the Northeast, impact from snow and wind will increase dramatically through Thursday.

Stay up-to-date on the most recent impacts here.

AccuWeather meteorologists believe the heaviest snow and strongest winds from the storm will occur in New England, on Long Island, New York, and part of Atlantic Canada.

Static Snowfall Map US 11 am

Road conditions will range from slippery and snow-covered along the mid-Atlantic coast to completely blocked with snow and massive drifts in eastern New England, New Brunswick and part of eastern Quebec.

All flight operations may cease for a time at Boston Logan International Airport during the height of the storm.

Airline delays and cancellations have begun in the Northeast and will continue to mount. Ripple-effect delays may occur across the nation. Some aircraft and crews are likely to be displaced by the severe storm in New England. Deicing activity, slippery runways, poor visibility and gusty winds will lead to flight delays in New York City, Hartford, Connecticut, and Philadelphia.

From eastern New England to Atlantic Canada, there is a risk of widespread power outages. Tremendous blowing and drifting snow is likely, and some communities may be isolated for several days in the wake of the storm in the bitter cold.

Increasing winds along the New England and upper mid-Atlantic coast will cause overwash, which will freeze, in addition to causing major shoreline flooding.

Winds in the strengthening storm have already gusted between 50 and 65 mph in eastern North Carolina and southeastern Virginia. Up to 9 inches of snow has fallen on part of southeastern Virginia as of 7 a.m. EST.

Prior to 10 a.m., hurricane-force gusts have been measured. Gusts reached 76 mph on Nantucket and 75 mph on Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

New England to be hit with formidable blizzard

Blizzard conditions are likely from portions of Long Island, New York, through eastern Connecticut and Massachusetts to northeastern Maine, New Brunswick and western Nova Scotia.

Static Blizzard US Noon

Coastal New Jersey and part of the New York City area will experience blizzard conditions at times.

There is the potential for 12-24 inches (30-60 cm) or more of snow to fall in Maine and New Brunswick. At the same time, the risk of hurricane-force gusts and frigid air will pound these areas.

Heavy snow, blowing and drifting in store for mid-Atlantic coast; coastal flooding and severe beach erosion expected

The storm is tracking close enough to the coast to throw snow on the area from eastern Virginia and the Delmarva Peninsula to New Jersey, eastern Pennsylvania, eastern New York and western New England.

Winds will continue to pick up during and after the storm.

Static Storm Canada 9 am

In the coastal states from Virginia to New York, areas farthest east are likely to have the greatest amount of snow from the storm.

The snow will fall at the rate of 1-2 inches per hour in coastal New Jersey and the New York City area. At this rate, crews may have difficulty keeping streets passable.

Little is likely to fall in the swath from Binghamton, New York, to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and Manassas, Virginia. However, the amount of snow will increase substantially near and east of a line from Richmond, Virginia; Annapolis, Maryland; Philadelphia and Albany, New York.

Coastal communities that usually receive wet snow or a rain/snow mix from storms can expect dry, powdery snow from this storm that will be subject to blowing and drifting.

In addition, the powerful storm will stir up the ocean and cause waves to batter the coastline leading to beach erosion and coastal flooding. The greatest threat for coastal flooding will be from Cape Cod northward to Maine around high tide. Roads near the coast can become flooded and some basements will take on water. Minor coastal flooding can also occur along the mid-Atlantic and rest of the Northeast coastline.

Cold blast, gusty winds to follow the storm

Snow showers may occur from the mountains of central New York to the southern Appalachians and parts of the Midwest. However, these will be more of a product of a fresh injection of cold air, rather than from the storm at the coast.

Minor airline delays from snow showers may occur in the Chicago, Detroit, Pittsburgh and Cincinnati airports.

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Lake-effect snow is forecast to ramp up once again near the Great Lakes.

As the storm strengthens, winds will increase hundreds of miles away from the center of the circulation beginning Wednesday night.

Winds alone are likely to become strong enough to trigger airline delays in the major hubs of the Northeast, from Washington, D.C., to Philadelphia, New York City and Boston from Thursday to Friday.

Static US Late Week

Strong offshore winds may lead to blowout tides along the mid-Atlantic and New England coasts.

Blustery and cold conditions are in store as far south as Florida, the Bahamas and Cuba.

The strong winds and arctic air will add to the frigid weather pattern.

Seas will build to dangerous levels for small craft off the mid-Atlantic, New England and southeastern Canada coasts.

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