(Bloomberg) -- A powerful winter storm has grounded more than 1,800 flights and threatens to bring heavy snow to New York and Boston while raking the Atlantic coast with blizzard conditions.
As much as 10 inches (25.4 centimeters) of snow could fall across New York City, while eastern Long Island and Boston could see 18 inches, said Rob Carolan, owner of Hometown Forecast Services, which provides outlooks for Bloomberg Radio. Washington may pick up a few inches Friday afternoon, but it will miss the heart of the storm, he said.
Snow will start in earnest in New York about 7 p.m. Friday and overnight in Boston. Eastern Massachusetts, including Cape Cod, may end up with two feet, according to the National Weather Service.
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Blizzard warnings stretch from Virginia to Maine, including the Delmarva Peninsula and Boston. Winds gusting up to 70 miles per hour in places are forecast to rake the coastline, knocking down trees and power lines as snow falls at rates of up to 4 inches per hour from the bomb cyclone. This is Boston’s first blizzard warning since March 2018, Carolan said.
“We are very easily going to gust over hurricane force on Cape Cod,” he said. “It definitely looks like it is going to be a doozie.”
Snow will be falling so fast and winds will be blowing so hard along New England’s coast that plows won’t be able to keep up, Carolan said.
The nor’easter will rapidly intensify as it comes northeast with its central pressure dropping at least 24 millibars in 24 hours, a process called bombogenesis, which forecasters shorten to “bomb out.” It already caused 1,849 flights for Friday and Saturday to be canceled, according to FlightAware, an airline tracking service. The majority of the scrubbed trips are for Washington, Newark, New York and Boston.
Winter storm warnings extend into Canada’s Maritime provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island, as well as parts of Newfoundland, according to Environment and Climate Change Canada. As much as 40 centimeters of snow could fall in Halifax, with winds gusting to 100 kilometers per hour through Sunday, the agency said.
The National Weather Service is warning people to stay off the roads and if they do travel to “have a winter survival kit with you.” Widespread power outages are possible, with wind gusts near hurricane-strength of 74 mph.
PJM, the largest U.S. grid, told generators to ensure they have sufficient fuel supplies and asked transmission companies to cancel maintenance plans across the southern and Mid-Atlantic region ahead of the storm.
“It still looks like a pretty good hit along coastal areas,” said Marc Chenard, a senior branch forecaster at the U.S. Weather Prediction Center.
Temperatures will remain below freezing across much of the Northeast until at least Tuesday, meaning not a lot of snow will melt for a few days, Chenard said.
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