A storm of "historic" proportions is set to sweep across the northeastern United States, beginning with light flurries on Thursday night and lasting through Saturday evening. The powerful winter weather system is expected to dump snow, sleet, rain, and hurricane-force winds from Connecticut all the way up to Maine. Start stocking up on food and supplies; things could get pretty ugly out there. Here, everything you need to know about Winter Storm Nemo, 2013's first nor'easter:
How much snow are we talking about?
The National Weather Service says that southern New England, which will get the brunt of the storm, could see anywhere from 18 to 24 inches between Friday and Saturday. Suffolk County in New York is under blizzard watch, as are parts of Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island, reports The Associated Press. New York City is expecting slightly less snow — somewhere between 4 and 6 inches. The storm could be as bad as the historic blizzard of 1978, which dumped more than 2 feet of snow and blew through New England with hurricane-level winds. A few analysts say Nemo could be one of the 10 most powerful storms in the history of the region.
What kind of damage are forecasters anticipating?
The area could see "widespread power outages with winds of this force," says Weather.com. Highways will likely be paralyzed by rush hour come Friday evening (so plan your commute accordingly). And communities in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Long Island could see some coastal flooding as well. In the below report, The Weather Channel gives Nemo a 10 out of 10 on its winter storm index:
So flying is out of the question then?
Most likely, yes. Delta, Jet Blue, US Airways, and American Airlines are already planning ahead, offering customers a chance to change their flights one time without additional fees.
Why is this storm so nasty?
Nemo is actually the convergence of two pressure systems: One traveling east across the Great Lakes, and another coming up from the south. On Thursday night, half the storm will move through Lower Michigan and continue into upstate New York. By Friday night, prepare for the worst: Heavy snow, rain, and strong winds will start blanketing New England, upstate New York, and the Lower Hudson Valley. These conditions will persist into Saturday.
Why is it called Nemo?
The Winter Storm Team dubbed the storm "Nemo" because of its potential impact. In Greek, Nemo is a boy's name meaning "from the valley." In Latin, however, the name means "nobody." "The fact is, a storm with a name is easier to follow, which will mean fewer surprises and more preparation," said Bryan Norcross of the Weather Channel.