A strong nor’easter is likely to barrel along the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast seaboard Friday, unleashing a mix of hazards that includes coastal flooding, strong winds, heavy rain and some inland snow.
The storm will develop in the Southern Plains on Tuesday and Wednesday and track to between Chicago and Indianapolis on Thursday. As it reaches the Ohio Valley on Thursday night, it will start to weaken and transfer its energy to a coastal storm taking shape east of the Delmarva and New Jersey.
The storm should have its greatest impact on the Northeast on Friday, with windswept rain likely in many areas. Cold air will be in somewhat short supply, so snowfall is likely to be limited to the interior Northeast, especially the hilly and mountainous terrain. This looks like primarily a cold rain event from the coast to the Interstate 95 corridor.
Because the storm will intensify quickly and tides will run higher than normal because of the full moon March 1, coastal flooding will be a concern from the Delmarva to eastern New England. High seas and erosion may persist into the weekend as the storm will be slow to move away from the coast because of a high-pressure system to the north, also known as the Greenland Block.
The exact track and intensity of this storm need to come into focus over the next few days, but here is a preliminary look at some of the possible impacts:
Coastal flooding and beach erosion may emerge as the biggest issues from this storm.
The Weather Service office serving southern New England cautioned:
The potential exists for significant coastal flooding/beach erosion over several high tide cycles late this week, particularly along the eastern MA coast. While this is far from a certainty given the potential event is 4 to 5 days in the future, there are several ingredients potentially in place coupled with high astronomical tides that this will need to be watched closely. Onshore winds possibly as high as 60 mph, building swell and high surf. If there’s heavy rain in addition, could also be dealing with poor-drainage inland flooding during high-tides as well.
Similarly, the Weather Service serving Long Island and coastal Connecticut wrote: “There is the potential for several tidal cycles of minor to moderate coastal flooding and dune erosion from late Thursday into … Friday, and possibly the weekend.”
Some coastal flooding and beach erosion could affect areas as far south as the Delmarva.
A soaking rain
The National Weather Service is forecasting one to two inches of rain up and down the I-95 corridor. Some portions of southeast New England, closest to the storm center, could see as much as two inches.
Gusts of at least 30 to 40 mph are a good bet along the I-95 corridor, with gale-force winds gusting over 50 mph possible at the coast.
This storm doesn’t look like much of a snowmaker in the vicinity of the East Coast. The Poconos and some of the higher terrain in Massachusetts and eastern New York could see light to moderate accumulation of wet snow.
Another storm to follow this one?
Connected to the “Greenland Block” pattern, computer models suggest that another coastal storm could develop around March 7. More cold air will have probably moved over the eastern United States at this point, so more widespread snowfall would be a possibility, especially in the Northeast, if it materializes.