As relief efforts continue for the thousands of Northeasterners impacted by Superstorm Sandy, a new storm on Wednesday threatens to bring chilly temperatures and even snow to the wearied low lying coastal areas where residents are just beginning to pick up the pieces from the damage of last week.
The National Weather Service is warning that the nor’easter could bring high winds of up to 60 mph, rain and possible flooding, in addition to a very real danger from falling limbs from trees already beaten down by the previous superstorm.
The unnamed storm is moving up along the Atlantic coast from Florida and is set to join with a weather system moving East from the Midwest but some forecasters project the storm could veer offshore, which would be a welcome relief to the battered coast.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie warned that the severe weather could mean residents who just had their power restored, could once again be living without electricity.
There is “nothing we can do to stop the storms”, he said.
Similarly, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said some residents living in neighborhoods at risk of flooding will be encouraged to relocate until the storm passes.
In a press conference on Tuesday, Michael Bloomberg warned the city would be “on a high wind watch and coastal flood watch beginning Wednesday morning through late Wednesday night”.
The mayor projected the city could receive an inch of rain, which could turn to sleet and even possibly snow.
“Keep in mind, these are forecasts and forecasts, as we know, change as you get closer to the event,” he added.
Though there are no forced evacuations, he said New York police will be patrolling at risk areas to encourage the elderly and families with children to evacuate.
“We can expect winds of up to 25 to 35 mph and gusts rising to 45 to 55 mph, with the highest winds occurring late Wednesday afternoon and Wednesday night,” he continued, adding that the strong winds will make it feel around 10 degrees colder than the listed temperature.
The city will close all parks, playgrounds and beaches, given the threat of falling tree branches, he added.
Nor’easter storm on Wednesday threatens to bring chilly temperatures and even snow
Travelers flying to and from the East Coast will also experience delays and cancellations.
United Airlines announced on Tuesday afternoon that it will suspend most service to and from the New York area between noon Wednesday and noon Thursday due to the winter storm.
Storm surges along the coasts of New Jersey and New York are expected to reach 3 feet, only half to a third of what Hurricane Sandy caused last week, National Weather Service meteorologist Lauren Masters said.
Coastal Virginia could also get a surge of 2 or 3 feet, causing minor flooding on the east side of Chesapeake Bay during high tides on Wednesday morning and evening, he said.
However, most of the storm’s rain will stay offshore.
Up to an inch of snow may fall in northeastern New Jersey and the lower Hudson River valley, weather service meteorologist Mike Layer said.
Central Massachusetts and western Connecticut also could get an inch or two of snow, according to Masters.
Along the Jersey shore, which was devastated by last week’s superstorm, there was some relief that damage projections from the nor’easter have been scaled back.
But there was still concern about the ocean barreling past beaches and dunes that were largely washed away.
As the East Coast is still reeling from the devastation brought on by Superstorm Sandy forecasters are already warning of a powerful new nor’easter storm front coming in from the Atlantic, bringing 45 mph gusts of wind mixed with snow and rain.
The beleaguered coast line is expected to face the storm from Tuesday to Thursday – potentially casting a shadow over Election Day.
At least New York City and the surrounding area may escape a beating, as forecasters expect most of the severe weather will hit northern New England – meaning it should land hundreds of miles north from where Sandy reached the continent.
However, New York and New Jersey can expect frigid winds and rain as hundreds of thousands remain without power and homeless.
A nor’easter is a powerful storm that thrives on cold air. Severe nor’easters can bring hurricane-force winds and blizzards.
AccuWeather expert senior meteorologist Henry Margusity said: “For millions of people still recovering from Superstorm Sandy, this is not welcome news.
“Thousands are projected to still be in the dark on Election Day, following Sandy’s impact.
“The weather pattern remains volatile for another storm to form on the East Coast, but nothing like Sandy. A storm that would be more normal for early November.”
Meanwhile, NBC News meteorologist Al Roker said: “This is just what we don’t need.
“You look at those winds coming counterclockwise, bringing in with it the potential for one to two more inches of rain, wind gusts of 45 miles per hour and wet snow inland just along the New York/New Jersey border. We’re talking about wet snow mixing in.
“The problem with this, with these winds of 45 miles per hour and already compromised beaches along New Jersey and Long Island waves of any consequence could cause big problems.”
He added: “It’s just a matter of how strong this system is going to be.”
East Coast line is expected to face a nor’easter winter storm from Tuesday to Thursday, potentially casting a shadow over Election Day
The European Centre Medium Range Forecast predicted the storm will form off the coast of Georgia and South Carolina on Tuesday.
EURO detected Hurricane Sandy and predicted its devastating landfall 8 days before it hit.
By Wednesday, the storm is expected to hook into southern New England.
Forecasters said that the storm will have nowhere near the strength of Sandy and the winds will likely not be powerful enough to be damaging.
However, the storm will bring more rain and bad weather to a region that has not even begun to recover from Monday’s onslaught.
“Snowfall would be confined to northern New England. Also, this system will not be anywhere as impactful as Sandy,” Tom Niziol, the winter weather expert for Weather.com, wrote.
Forecasters still don’t know the exact impact or path of the storm, and cautioned that it could hit other parts of the coast – potentially even New York.
Consolidated Edison, which handles New York City and the Hudson Valley, still has 650,000 customers without power – and said many of them won’t have electricity restored for another ten days.
Two of New Jersey’s largest utility companies reported more than 2million customers still in the dark.
What is a nor’easter?
The nor’easter is a winter storm conceived by the meeting of cold arctic air with the warmer ocean air from the Gulf Stream.
The storms usually develop from a low-pressure system in the south, typically in the Gulf of Mexico, and then pushed upward.
They often cause severe flooding along coastlines, erosion, and blizzard conditions – but just as dangerous is the bitter Arctic air that gets dragged along by the weather system.
They storms can come at any time of year, but are mainly seen in winter, where the conflicting wind conditions can quickly spiral into a hurricane.
Nor’easters usually bring massive amounts of precipitation, high winds and large waves and with a full moon, when tides are at their highest, the storm surge could reach as high as 6 to 11 feet.
“The total is greater than the sum of the individual parts,” said Louis Uccellini, the environmental prediction chief of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration meteorologists about the dramatic weather.