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Update On Nor'easter Set for the Northeast

By: Shaun Tanner , 6:05 AM GMT on October 29, 2011

The meteorologists at the Weather Underground are set to cover the potentially record-breaking Nor'easter this weekend to keep you informed and safe. We will be doing rapid-fire updates via Twitter and Facebook as well as updating this website as well. If there are any questions we can answer for you, we will be browsing the blogs, Twitter, and Facebook.

Various NWS offices have expanded the severe alert coverage to almost the entire New England Coast while also upgrading various Winter Storm Watches to Winter Storm Warnings.

While the overall effects from the storm will not be as brutal as a Nor'easter that occurs in the end of Winter, this storm will have a triple-edge sword to lookout for:

1) Wind: This storm is a Nor'easter. It gets its name because of the strong northeasterly winds that these types of storms often produce due to their track up the eastern seaboard with the center of the storm remaining off the coast. So, it is not surprising that High Wind Watches are in effect from Long Island through Cape Code. This area can expect sustained winds to 35 mph and gusts up to 55 mph. I believe it is safe to say that it will not be a good day at the beach. The strongest of these winds are expected Saturday night so if you have any travel plans for that time period and into Sunday morning, it might be smart to reschedule.

2) Snow: While October snowstorms are far from rare, the very low historical records for various cities show that significant snowfall is infrequent. For instance, the NWS office responsible for Providence, RI sent out a record report for Friday, October 28 stating that the airport received a trace of snowfall, tying a record that was first set in 1934. A trace of snowfall would not be considered a lot of snow, so it will not take a lot of snow to break some records in the major cities of the Northeast. Significant snowfall is what is on tap.

Here are some potential forecast snowfall totals for some of the major cities Saturday through Sunday (sorry if yours isn't on the list):

New York City: 2-5 inches
Philadelphia: 1-2 inches
Albany, NY: 4-8 inches
Baltimore, MD: 2-4 inches
Newark, NJ: 3-7 inches
Providence, RI: 4-6 inches
Bridgeport, CT: 3-7 inches
Portland, ME: 5-10 inches

There are a couple more items with respect to snow I should mention. First, higher elevations in the Catskills could have over a foot of snow by the time the storm starts to wind down. So local accumulations could be higher in the areas above and throughout the Northeast. Second, the snow that will fall will be very wet and heavy. Temperatures have a hard time diving into the frigid territory this early in the snowfall season. As such, the snow that will fall will be quite wet. Something to note.

3) Flooding: All of Delaware and most of New Jersey is under a Coastal Flood Warning on Saturday. The main reason for this warning is due to a high tide that will move through the area Saturday afternoon. While this is not specifically tied to the storm, a strong wind blowing even close to perpendicular to the coastline will enhance the tide and flooding along the coast. In addition, excess precipitation will cause some local flooding on land.

Some quick links for you:
Severe Weather map for Northeast

WunderMap with model map layer turned on

WunderMap with radar layer turned on

Webcam in New York City

Figure 1. Severe weather alerts for the Northeast.

The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.

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1. jerseycityjoan
2:47 PM GMT on October 29, 2011
I hope this storm has enough surprises to keep things interesting.

Thanks to everybody who will be monitoring things and updating us.

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Wunderground Meteorologist Shaun Tanner

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Shaun Tanner has been a meteorologist at Weather Underground since 2004.

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