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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

‘Potent’ nor’easter to bring heavy snow this week, forecasters say

A satellite image provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows part of the U.S. northeast, on Sunday, March 12, 2023.

By Christine Chung

Starting Monday night and lasting into Wednesday, a late-winter nor’easter was expected to bring widespread heavy, wet snow, rain and gusty winds to parts of the Northeast that had otherwise had a largely snowless season, according to the National Weather Service.

Heavy snow rates and strong winds will likely produce dangerous or near-impossible travel in parts of the Northeast, the Weather Prediction Center said.

The storm is expected to bring severe thunderstorms to the Southeast and Gulf Coast on Sunday night before intensifying. Then, on Monday, the storm, which forecasters described as “potent,” will most likely strengthen over the Northeast, where the heaviest snowfall is expected across inland areas of the region, the weather service said.

Bob Oravec, a meteorologist at the Weather Prediction Center, said the weather system will probably start with rain that may transition into heavier snow in some places.

“At the moment, there’s predominantly rain forecast for New York City and for Boston, rain changing over to snow with some accumulation,” Oravec said, adding that this system would probably not be the winter event of the season for the New York metro area, where snow has been scarce.

“It just happens to be that the storm track has been such that it has not favored the Northeast so far and, in a sense, we’re running out of time,” Oravec said. “We are definitely fighting the calendar and fighting the season.”

Nor’easters, which most frequently occur between September and April, are storms where winds off the East Coast collide with surface winds from the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states amid areas of low pressure.

With this nor’easter, snow rates of up to 2 inches per hour are possible, and in higher elevation areas, snowfall could ultimately surpass 1 foot of accumulation, the weather service said.

Total snowfall could be even higher in the Catskills and southern Adirondacks in New York, the Berkshires in western Massachusetts and the southern Green Mountains in Vermont.

Five to 10 inches of snow could accumulate in interior portions of the Lower Hudson Valley, northeastern New Jersey and southwestern Connecticut, the weather service in New York said.

Driving conditions are expected to be hazardous, and “widespread minor coastal flooding” may occur, forecasters said.

The greatest uncertainty in snow amounts is in coastal areas, including New York City, Long Island and New Haven, Connecticut, and will depend on how close to the coast the low pressure intensifies, the weather service in New York said.

Around Tuesday night, wind gusts could reach up to 50 mph along the eastern portion of Long Island, the weather service said.

“Strong winds from this nor’easter will likely produce dangerous to near impossible travel,” the weather service said, adding that the storm could cause power failures and damage trees.

The storm may linger into Wednesday, Oravec said, adding that precipitation would probably begin to wind down that morning.

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