Blizzard warnings issued for millions as east coast braces for ‘bomb cyclone’

·3 min read

Millions of Americans are in the path of a powerful winter storm that could bring dangerous heavy snow, ice and winds with hurricane-like force threatening to flood coastal areas, knock out power, and cancel travel.

Following this week’s fluctuating forecast, the Nor’easter is on track to develop off the coast of the Carolinas on Friday and rapidly build strength as it traces along the east coast overnight into Saturday, according to the National Weather Service (NWS).

Blizzard warnings are in effect this evening through Saturday night, covering millions of residents along coastal areas of New England, while the heaviest snowfall is likely to fall across the eastern shore of Maryland up to Maine, where 6 to 12 inches are likely, according to the Weather Prediction Centre (WPC).

Winter storm watches, affecting more than 45 million people, extend from North Carolina to eastern Maine.

Watches were upgraded to warnings along coastal New Jersey and Maryland.

More than 2,000 flights scheduled for Friday and Saturday have been canceled, including 85 per cent of flights out of Boston’s Logan International Airport on Saturday.

More than half of all of Saturday’s flights out of Newark Liberty International, which services New Jersey and the New York City area, are grounded. more than half of Saturday's flights have been grounded.

Parts of coastal New England, particularly on coastal Massachusetts and the Boston area, could see up to 2 feet of snow, the centre announced.

Boston Mayor Michelle Wu declared a “snow emergency” on Friday and urged residents to “to take precautions to keep everyone safe.”

Wind gusts could reach up to 70mph in parts of Massachusetts and up to 45mph in New York City, which could see up to 12 inches of snow. The rest of the state could get up to 14 inches.

The Philadelphia area is expected to see up to 11 inches of snowfall, with up to an inch of snow an hour, along with wind gusts of 35mph.

Wind chills on Saturday morning could make temperatures feel like they are in single digits or below 0F (-18C).

Conditions in the northeastern US are expected to peak on Saturday morning into the afternoon.

Officials have warned residents to check if their car exhaust pipes are obstructed by snow to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning, and to ensure generators have proper ventilation if they’re being used to keep power running in the event of outages,

A so-called “bomb cyclone” is caused by rapid drop in air pressure, and often occurs close to the ocean because it requires warm moist air colliding with cold, dry air, along with volatile weather from the jet stream.

The climate changed-fuelled phenomenon – called bombogenesis – is the result of a cold front from Canada colliding with a warming Atlantic Ocean. The world’s oceans absorb a vast majority of the heat that from greenhouse gases, accelerating chaotic weather events.

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