Nor’easter taking shape for this weekend: Northeast downpours, strong winds

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The first Nor’easter of the season is still developing down south, but will pack a wallop to the Northeast this weekend.

Portions of the deep South and Tennessee have been getting drenched today as a low pressure system glides along the Gulf coast. This rain will move into the Carolinas and the Ohio River Valley tonight and Friday, followed by the mid-Atlantic by Friday evening.

This system has combined with the remnants of Hurricane Willa which hit western Mexico earlier this week, then moved across Mexico into the United States. There will be plenty of moisture in the storm as it barrels toward the Northeast and gets stronger.

Here’s what to expect based on the latest computer forecast models and outlooks from the National Weather Service.

Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Philadelphia, Atlantic City, Delaware, New York City, Long Island, Hartford, Providence, and Boston:

  • Wind gusts of 40 to 60 mph causing some power outages, knocking down power poles and trees

  • Torrential rain blowing sideways, up to 2 inches of accumulation

  • Some coastal flooding and high surf

Portions of upstate New York, Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont:

  • Periods of snow, rain, sleet, and freezing rain

  • Slushy snow accumulations of up to 4 inches

  • Some icy roads

  • Winds not a major issue

Rain and strong winds will likely begin Friday evening in the mid-Atlantic, then spread northward into New England Friday night. It’ll go all day Saturday, finally losing some steam Saturday night into Sunday as it moves toward the Maritime Provinces of Canada.

Prepare for delays/cancellations if you’re booked on a flight into or from cities in this region. Also, moving freight will be challenging, especially on major routes such as the I-95 corridor. Because of the winds, this will be especially true for anyone driving empty vans.

Contrary to popular belief, a Nor’easter isn’t just a snowstorm or blizzard. According to the definition from the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), a Nor’easter can produce heavy rain and/or snow. They usually develop between Georgia and New Jersey, within 100 miles east or west of the East Coast. These storms move northeastward and typically reach maximum intensity near New England and the Maritime Provinces of Canada. They also produce winds of gale force (39-54 mph), rough seas, and sometimes coastal flooding. Nor’easters can occur at any time of year but are most frequent and most violent between September and April.


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Nick Austin, Director of Weather Analytics and Senior Meteorologist

In his 17 years of weather forecasting experience, Nick worked on air at WBBJ-TV and WRCB-TV, including time spent doing weather analysis and field reporting. He received his Bachelor of Science in Meteorology from Florida State University as well as a Bachelor of Science in Management from Georgia Institute of Technology. Nick is also a member of the American Meteorological Society and National Weather Association. As a member of the weather team at WBBJ-TV in Jackson, Tennessee, Nick was nominated for a Mid-South Emmy for live coverage of a major tornado outbreak in 2008. As part of the weather team at WRCB-TV in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Nick shared the Chattanooga Times-Free Press Best of the Best award for “Best Weather Team” for eight consecutive years. Nick earned his National Weather Association Broadcasting Seal in 2005.