Winter Storm Rakes East Coast, Bringing Snow, Wind To Northeast

By Scott Neuman NPR

Updated at 9:15 a.m. ET

Strong wind and heavy snow is arriving in the Northeast, as a major winter storm — being called a “bomb cyclone” by forecasters — runs up the U.S. East Coast.

Schools and offices have closed in many communities, and officials are urging people to stay off the roads if possible. Blizzard conditions are possible in some areas, according to forecasters with the National Weather Service.

More than 3,000 U.S. flights have been canceled, according to FlightAware. More than three-fourths of all flights in or out of New York City are either canceled or delayed, the flight-tracking site says.

The storm is fueled by intense cold across the U.S., which collided with relatively warm air over the Atlantic.

The cold spell in much of the country has been blamed for more than a dozen deaths over the past few days, including two homeless people in Houston, according to Reuters.

The brutal conditions in the Northeast come one day after the same storm system brought wintry weather to the South.

States of emergency have been declared by the governors of Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and Virginia. Snow fell as far south as Florida on Wednesday.

The Miami Herald says it has been three years since people in South Florida experienced cold like this. “We are expecting some really cold temperatures and wind chills,” Andrew Hagen, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Miami said Wednesday night.

The state capital, Tallahassee, got a bit of snow.

Parts of Georgia have seen more than 3 inches of snow. The airport at Savannah got 1.2 inches – the most the city had experienced in 28 years.

Charleston, S.C., experienced near-record snowfall, with more than 5 inches. South Carolina Public Radio’s Victoria Hansen says, “The last time Charleston saw so much snow was Dec. 23, 1989 — a white Christmas just months after Hurricane Hugo caused so much damage. Then, the city got 6 inches.”

U.S. Sen. Tim Scott decided to have some fun with the weather, tweeting video of himself being pulled along in the snow behind a vehicle while he knelt on a boogie board. It didn’t last long before he lost his grip and tumbled backward.

National Weather Service offices in Raleigh and Morehead City, N.C., continued to up the amount of snow forecast throughout Wednesday, adjusting the forecast to take into account heavy snowfall to the west, The News Observer reported.

By early Thursday morning, snow was falling in Virginia and the District of Columbia.

The city of Boston — nearly three years after its record snowfall — was taking no chances.

“We are going to be ready for the storm,” Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said. “We have 40,000 tons of rock salt ready to be loaded and spread throughout the city of Boston. We are going to have 700 pieces of equipment.”

Gov. Charlie Baker says utility workers are already deployed across the state, spending the night in hotels so they are ready to deal with power outages, NPR’s Tovia Smith reports from Boston.

American Airlines suspended all departures from Boston on Thursday because of the expected snow and high winds, CNN reports.

And, according to Weather Underground, “By the time Friday is here, people along the length of North America’s East Coast will be recuperating from a punishing round of heavy snow, high winds, and bitter cold. This nor’easter … will rank among the most impressive of recent decades in its fast development, deep low pressure, and fierce winds. Various models agreed that [the storm’s] surface low would deepen by an astounding 30-40 millibars or more from late Wednesday to late Thursday, more than qualifying the midlatitude cyclone as a meteorological “bomb” (defined as 24 millibars of deepening in 24 hours). The deepening rate could be among the strongest observed off the East Coast in the last several decades of records, according to [the National Weather Service’s] David Roth.

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