January 21, 2022

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The Northeast Is About to Face a Gnarly Winter Storm

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US Northeast Is About to Face a Gnarly Winter Storm

“Major thoroughfares and side streets throughout Nashville are treacherous,” the city police department said in a Thursday morning update.

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Frigid temperatures will rush in behind the storm, adding yet another hazard even after the snow passes. Overnight lows will dip into the single digits on Thursday, with wind chills approaching 0 degrees Fahrenheit (minus-18 degrees Celsius). The city’s Office of Emergency Management announced it would do sweeps for people needing shelter on Thursday and Friday evening and hand out warm clothing.

The Northeast Is in for a Snowy Thursday and Friday

The storm will exit the South overnight and plow into the Mid-Atlantic and Appalachians. Parts of West Virginia could see up to a foot of snow, and winds gusting over the ridges of the Appalachians that will send wind chills plummeting to well below zero from Thursday to Friday night.

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The Mid-Atlantic got rocked earlier this week with heavy snow; this storm will thankfully be a glancing blow to that region. But the Northeast is likely where things could get hairy. The same snowfall rates crushing Tennessee on Thursday will hit the Northeast on Friday, with an area from the Jersey Shore to Long Island expecting a blast of snow. (That includes New York City, of course, but we’re trying to be inclusive here and not play into New York Media People stereotypes.) The risk isn’t just the rate of snowfall, but the timing: The National Weather Service New York office warned in a tweet the heaviest snow is expected in the region right as the “morning commute gets underway.”

The I-95 corridor in Connecticut will also get hammered by the storm shortly thereafter, and the highest snowfall totals are likely to hit Boston and the South Shore. All this raises the risk of accidents, or, even worse, a repeat of what happened in Virginia earlier this week when a section of the highway shut down, trapping motorists. Luckily, though the storm will pack a potent punch, it’ll move through the area quickly enough that snowfall totals won’t be in the same range as the Mid-Atlantic storm earlier this week.

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The Storm May Also Be a Bomb Cyclone to Boot

Because the world’s weather has no chill, the storm may end up bombing out after it emerges over the Atlantic. Forecast models show a classic-looking nor’easter spinning its way over the Atlantic and Gulf of Maine, with pressure dropping at least 24 millibars between Friday and Saturday. The lower the pressure, the fiercer the storm, generally. The drop of 24 millibars in 24 hours would meet the criteria for “bombing” out, right before the storm plows in Atlantic Canada.

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