The storm will do more than end a recent snow drought in part of the New England. The list is long on storm characteristics and impacts. Some areas will be hit with an all-out blizzard and buried under a couple of feet of snow and massive drifts.
The worst of the storm will hit the Boston-area late Friday and Friday night and will wind down Saturday morning. However, lingering effects from blowing and drifting snow, blocked roads and other travel problems are likely to linger into much of the weekend.
Numerous flight delays and cancellations are possible centered on New England, but these problems will be felt elsewhere across the nation.
Strong winds will not only cause white-out conditions and massive drifts, but also coastal flooding and power outages. Gusts can approach hurricane force in coastal areas. If the power goes out, it could take a while for crews to repair the lines.
At the height of the storm, snow can fall at the rate of 2 to 4 inches per hour and may be accompanied by thunder and lightning.
The intense snowfall rate anticipated is making the forecast especially challenging. A matter of a couple of hours versus 12 hours of intense snow will make the difference between a manageable few inches and a debilitating few feet of snowfall. Nearby to the south of this intense snow, a rain/snow mix or plain rain will fall for a time.
Many people could be caught off guard Friday evening. While the drive in to work or school may be manageable, but slippery Friday morning, weather conditions for the drive home in the evening are likely to grow worse by the minute in southern and central New England. A person traveling northeastward from New York City to Boston Friday evening along I-95 would encounter increasingly challenging and potentially dangerous weather conditions.
With such intense snowfall, vehicles can become stuck and people can become stranded.
The hardest-hit areas are likely to include Hartford and Providence to Boston, Worcester, Concord, Portsmouth and Portland. The worst of the storm will hit coastal areas of northern New England and southern Nova Scotia later Friday night into Saturday.
Coastal flooding is forecast with this storm along the coast of eastern Massachusetts and perhaps along the northern shore of Long Island. The period of strong northeast winds will be occurring within a couple of days of the new moon and high astronomical tides.
Warm air will play a major role in the storm from New York City, Long Island and central New Jersey on south and west in the mid-Atlantic, resulting in rain during part or all of the storm, depending on location.
Only if the two storms sync completely early on would heavy wet snow wrap around into New York City for an extended period, bringing a foot of the white stuff. Even so, without complete phasing of the storms until Friday night, New York City and Long Island will get significant snow. Portions of eastern Long Island could experience blizzard conditions for a time Friday night.
A fresh injection of arctic air will fuel the blizzard over New England. The colder air will cause rain to change to snow on Cape Cod and along the South Coast, as well as cause wet snow to become more dry and powdery with time, making it subject to blowing and drifting in central and southern areas.
In northernmost New England from northern Maine to along the Canada border of New Hampshire, Vermont and northern upstate New York, too much dry air feeding in from the north may limit snowfall or cut off the storm completely.
Snow from the Alberta Clipper part of the storm will still deliver enough snow to shovel and plow over much of upstate New York.
On a brighter note, for those who are able to "get out of Dodge" early on Friday ahead of the worst of the storm, it will be a great weekend for skiing. Hopefully, the roads will be cleared by the time they get back next week.
By Alex Sosnowski, expert senior meteorologist for AccuWeather.com
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