Northeast Braced for Blizzard as Another Winter Storm Looms –

Posted: Saturday, February 14, 2015

Fifty million Americans were braced for another punishing winter blast Saturday – even as the Northeast was digging out from three major storms in as many weeks.

Twenty-six states were under weekend winter weather warnings, with no sign of an end in sight to the freezing conditions.

Some of the coldest air in the past 20 years will be accompanied by winds approaching hurricane force — and, for the snow-battered coast of New England, what could be a paralyzing blizzard.

A blizzard watch was in effect from the Maine-Canada border south to Long Island and a winter storm watch was in place for New Hampshire and parts of Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut.

The system threatens to disrupt travel, knock out power and make driving treacherous, if not impossible. The heaviest snow should be Saturday night, and the strongest winds should be Saturday night and early Sunday morning.

Wind gusts could howl at 70 mph and north-facing coastal areas could suffer moderate flooding and beach erosion from the “monster storm,” said Bill Simpson, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service.

“Snow amounts will not be as much as the previous big storms, but still, when you have 8 to 14 inches of snow, wind driven-snow, the cold air and the snow that is already there it’s probably going to be very difficult for a lot of people,” he said.

The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority announced late Friday it would suspend all rail, bus and ferry service in the Boston area on Sunday, the latest in a series of disruptions for the nation’s oldest public transit network. Snow and freezing temperatures have overwhelmed the system’s aging infrastructure.

The storm was set to bring light snow to the Great Lakes, northern Ohio Valley, Appalachians and Northeast Saturday – mostly 1-3″ accumulations – before intensifying. Narrow bands of heavy lake-effect snow are likely as arctic air rushes in to the Upper Plains of Michigan and northwest Indiana.

The forecast high for Sunday in Buffalo, New York, is 1 below zero. That would be the first time in 20 years and only the 13th time since 1870 that the temperature there failed to reach zero on any day.

New York City could touch zero for the first time in 21 years. The forecast low for Monday morning is 3.

Separately, a messy winter storm is forecast next week from the southern Plains to the Deep South and up along the East Coast. This system forms in two waves with the first wave bringing snow, ice and wintry mix Sunday night and Monday from Oklahoma to north Georgia and the Carolinas.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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