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Travel-halting blizzard eyes New England with heavy snow, ferocious wind

By Kristina Pydynowski • Mar 13, 2018 at 3:41 PM

The disruptive snowstorm that targeted parts of the mid-Atlantic on Monday will lash eastern New England with blizzard conditions on Tuesday.

The storm rapidly strengthened from early Monday to early Tuesday and underwent bombogenesis. While the storm is not the strongest of the winter to affect the region, it will still pack a punch and is producing snow all the way to Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

Eastern New England is bracing for the worst of the storm with more than a foot of snowfall, blizzard conditions and strong winds.

Minimal storm impacts expected from Philadelphia to New York City

The track of the storm will allow the Interstate-95 corridor from Philadelphia to New York City to escape the worst of the nor'easter.

Occasional wet snow is in store for Philadelphia into Tuesday morning. Any accumulation will be less than an inch and mainly confined to grassy surfaces. However, patchy icy spots could exist on roads in the suburbs for the Tuesday morning commute.

Snowfall will persistent enough from Trenton, New Jersey, to around the New York City area with amounts into Tuesday averaging one to three inches. Locally heavier bands of snow are in store for this swath with local amounts to six inches, mainly on grassy surfaces. Where and when the snow comes down hard in this zone, roads will be slippery and snow-covered.

Much heavier snow is forecast for eastern Long Island, New York where snowfall may top a foot.

"A moderate snowfall will catch the northeastern corner of Pennsylvania, while areas from Scranton and Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, are likely to receive a couple of inches or less," AccuWeather senior meteorologist Alex Sosnowski said. "Roads in the valley cities will be mainly wet during the midday and afternoon on Tuesday."

New England to face another nor'easter; Blizzard conditions to lash eastern areas

Regardless of the amount of snow that falls between Philadelphia and New York City, the storm is expected to be more disruptive and damaging across New England.

The strengthening nor'easter will drop enough snow to plow, shovel and cause slick travel over New England into Tuesday night. The snow may continue to pile up across northern New England and parts of northern New York state on Wednesday and Thursday as the storm stalls over southeastern Canada.

Snowfall in northern and eastern New England may exceed two feet in some locations into the middle of the week. Travel will be extremely difficult as the snow clogs roads.

As is the case with many nor'easters, a span of 25 miles may be the difference between a manageable amount of snow to one that severely hampers travel and daily activities.

Roofs, especially flat ones, that have not been cleared of the excessive snowfall from the last nor'easter may fail during this heavy snow event.

Strong winds are expected to create dangerous blizzard conditions along the eastern coast of New England. Travel can be brought to a halt in Boston and Portland, Maine, on Tuesday. The ripple effect of flight cancellations at these major airports may impact air travelers elsewhere in the nation as crews and aircraft are displaced by the storm.

The combination of the wind and snow can lead to renewed power outages and tree damage, especially where wires and branches have been weakened by the recent nor'easters.

Winds can gust between 45 and 55 mph along the New England coast with gusts to around 70 mph possible on Cape Cod and the nearby islands.

Motorists that venture out during or just prior to the storm's arrival will be at risk for getting stranded. A winter survival kit is a must for those who must travel.

The storm will cause winds and waves to increase along the New England coast on Tuesday. Residents along the coast can expect moderate to major flooding for two high tide cycles. Tides are expected to average two to four feet above normal with this storm.

"As has been the case with the prior nor'easters in the past couple of weeks, small craft should remain in port as the storm approaches," Sosnowski said. "Large ocean-going vessels may want to consider altering their schedule until the risk of heavy seas subsides."

While the impending nor'easter is expected to avoid the central Appalachians and Great Lakes, these areas will not escape cold winds, snow showers and localized squalls early this week.

Cold air with brisk to blustery conditions is forecast to linger into the St. Patrick's Day weekend in the wake of the storm.

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