Northeast gears up for its first bomb cyclone of the winter season

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Heavy snow, bitterly cold wind and freezing rain is forecast to hit parts of the South and Northeast overnight in what could be the region's first bomb cyclone of the 2022 winter season. The severe weather is expected to start Thursday night through Friday morning and hit some of the same areas that were slammed with a large winter storm only days ago.

"It's becoming a stronger storm very quickly," AccuWeather's chief meteorologist Jonathan Porter told CBS News Thursday. "The pressure of the storm is reducing very quickly and that means that you can end up with heavier amounts of rain or snow."

A fast-moving system will bring the chance for accumulating snow to northern portions of the area Thursday night, in many of the same areas that were hit hard earlier this week. Winter WX Advisories have been issued from Fluvanna eastward to the MD Eastern Shore #vawx #mdwx pic.twitter.com/QJS7A3Fo4h

— NWS Wakefield (@NWSWakefieldVA) January 5, 2022

The National Weather Service has issued winter weather advisories for multiple cities across several different states, including West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland, New York and New Jersey, with many taking effect Thursday night. The agency warns of mixed precipitation, sleet and sizable snow and ice accumulations for certain areas.

Residents in parts of Connecticut, Maine, Rhode Island and Massachusetts could see up to a foot of snow, while snow accumulation in portions of Virginia and Maryland are forecast to reach up to 6 inches, Porter said.

Cities in Kentucky and Tennessee have already seen up to 6 inches of snow on Thursday with more forecast to come overnight. On Thursday, 20 to 30 cars piled up in Elizabethtown, Kentucky, amidst snowy conditions, according to CBS affiliate WLKY. No injuries have been reported.

The National Weather Service says the heaviest snow in the D.C., Virginia and Maryland area is expected overnight, when snowfall rates could reach 1 inch per hour. All public schools in Washington, D.C., will be closed on Friday.

Porter warned Friday morning commuters could see "major disruptions to travel caused by low visibility."

"It's going to be a mess," he said. "When it's snowing that fast despite the best efforts of road crews, it's hard to keep up with that accumulation to keep roads clear of snow."

The incoming bomb cyclone, which developed in the Rocky Mountains, comes on the heels of a winter storm that left hundreds of drivers in Virginia stranded in below-freezing conditions for more than 24 hours on a stretch of Interstate 95 on Monday and Tuesday. Up to 11 inches of snow fell in the area during the winter storm and thousands of Virginia residents are still without power, according to PowerOutage.us, which tracks national outages.

James Penn, of Annapolis, Maryland, cross country skis in Annapolis on Monday, January 3, 2022. A winter storm packing heavy snow rolled into the District of Columbia, northern Virginia and central Maryland overnight, bringing at least 3 to 7 inches of snow to the area through Monday afternoon. / Credit: Susan Walsh / AP
James Penn, of Annapolis, Maryland, cross country skis in Annapolis on Monday, January 3, 2022. A winter storm packing heavy snow rolled into the District of Columbia, northern Virginia and central Maryland overnight, bringing at least 3 to 7 inches of snow to the area through Monday afternoon. / Credit: Susan Walsh / AP

Porter warned that the incoming severe weather is forecast to be less localized than the storm seen earlier this week, and that it could have a "broader impact" as it moves along the coast. He encouraged residents in the storm's track to avoid all travel if possible on Thursday and Friday.

"We saw the kind of impact that can happen as a result of snow," he said. "Let's encourage everyone to be as proactive as possible."

Multiple major airlines including Delta, Southwest, Frontier and Spirit have offered flight waivers and accommodations for the storm. Southwest told CBS News that it canceled roughly 540 flights Thursday. Meanwhile, New York City's LaGuardia Airport tweeted Thursday night it had canceled 143 flights due to the incoming weather.

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam on Wednesday declared a state of emergency in anticipation of the severe storm, which he said "is expected to continue to exacerbate damage from the first one."

"Having two bouts of snow and icy weather back to back makes it more likely communities will need additional help as they continue to recover from the first round of tree-snapping wet snow and ice that we saw Monday," Northam said in a statement Wednesday.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy and Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear also issued state of emergencies ahead of the storm. And Maryland Governor Larry Hogan said the state has prepared to address the incoming system by pre-treating roads.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul on Tuesday directed state agencies to start preparing for the heavy snow and winds as well by assembling snow plows and additional troopers. The New York City Emergency Management Department issued a travel advisory Thursday night urging pedestrians and travelers to exercise caution on roads and sidewalks on Friday.

"Now is the time for people to begin preparing, and I encourage everyone to closely monitor their local forecasts, use caution while traveling and take the steps necessary for keeping their households safe," Hochul said in a statement.

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