I went running in Brooklyn in shorts and a t-shirt this morning, and though that very pleasant experience has had me convinced spring's arrived early, it appears, as always, that March is playing a trick. A nor'easter is heading to the Northeast tomorrow, which means a number of states will be hit with rain, snow, and high winds over the next few days.
A nor'easter, for the uninitiated, is a storm caused by very strong winds stirring up off the Atlantic Ocean and blowing toward the northeast, according to the Weather Channel (despite what I thought when I was a child, the name has nothing to do with Easter, though often storms do hit in March). Often, nor'easters are accompanied by snow, but the white stuff doesn't have to be present for the storm to be characterized thus, and they usually take place from September through April.
This isn't the first nor'easter this area's seen this winter — in fact, the bomb cyclone that hit the Northeast in January was deemed a "classic Nor'easter." Luckily, this upcoming storm won't be paired with quite the same chill as the last one, which locked me in my apartment with naught but some soup cans for four straight days, but it does look like it'll bring with it a significant flood risk for coastal cities in New England.
According to the Weather Channel, the upcoming nor'easter will affect a huge swath of the East Coast. Along the coastline, everywhere from Maine to the Outer Banks in North Carolina is expected to experience high winds of up to 60 miles per hour. The winds will start in the Appalachians down in North Carolina, then move up to Washington D.C. and Baltimore on Friday morning, then to Philadelphia and the New York tri-state area later in the day. Southeast Massachusetts, including Cape Cod, Nantucket, and Martha's Vineyard, will see winds possibly up to 70 miles per hour by Friday night, while southern Maine to the mid-Atlantic will get occasional 60 mph gusts into Saturday morning. If you're farther inland in the Northeast, you can expect "heavy, wet snow," according to the Weather Channel, which means you need to watch out for downed trees and power lines.
There's a big risk of coastal flooding from southern Maine to the Outer Banks, and along the Eastern Seaboard — both regions are starting to get flood warnings from officials, with flooding expected to begin Friday morning and persist into Saturday, and possibly even into Sunday. In eastern Massachusetts, water levels could climb as high as 2 to 5 feet above normal tides, and the Boston Harbor is expected to break longstanding records. Long Island and the Jersey Shore will also likely be at risk for significant coastal flooding, as is the Virginia Tidewater, parts of Delaware and Maryland, and Highway 12 in the Outer Banks, which officials say could see flooding in some parts.
Deeper inland, some parts of the Great Lakes region can expect a significant amount of snow, particularly in Detroit and in Albany. You can also expect to see snow in western and northern Pennsylvania, Indiana, and Ohio. The Catskills and Poconos could get hit with over a foot of snow. And lest you think only colder regions will get slapped with this storm, eastern Florida and the northern Caribbean will likely feel the effects of the nor'easter next week.
For those of us on the Northeast who are about to get the brunt of it, though, be sure to stock up on water, food basics, and batteries, should power go out in your area this weekend. I have at least 10 soup cans right now, so I am ready.