Blizzard Conditions Possible As Massive Winter Storm Hits Northeast | WBEZ
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Blizzard Conditions Possible As Massive Winter Storm Hits Northeast

A massive winter storm continues to travel up the East Coast, with heavy snow falling from New Jersey to Maine as road crews in Georgia are stilling cleaning up patches of ice.

The "bomb cyclone" that's bludgeoning New England is a powerful storm, bringing bitter cold and the chance of heavy snow. The National Weather Service warns of possible blizzard conditions, with the risk of damaging, hurricane-force winds.

The rate at which the storm has intensified is unusual — the Capital Weather Gang at the Washington Post called it "astonishing." A storm can be classified as a "bomb cyclone," or a particularly fast-forming storm, if the pressure drops 24 millibars in 24 hours. This storm has more than doubled that pace.

"This storm's pressure tanked 53 millibars in 21 hours (and 59 millibars in 24 hours), which puts it into the upper echelon of the most explosive East Coast storms ever observed — and perhaps even at the top," the Post writes.

The NWS in Boston calls this storm "impressive, explosive" and "high-impact."

Thousands of flights have been canceled. Across the Northeast, schools are shuttered, salt has been spread, and local officials are pleading with residents to stay off the streets if they can.

There is near-zero visibility in some of the snow bands passing over the states from New Jersey to Maine, the weather service says.

As NPR's Hansi Lo Wang reports, it's not just the ice and cold that authorities are worried about:

"Connecticut Governor Dan Malloy says drivers should be prepared for strong winds: 'I would ask folks who don't need to be on the highway, and this includes trucks particularly in a high-wind situation, that if you can delay that delivery or delay that travel that you do that.'

"Winds with gusts as high as 75 miles per hour are forecast for some areas. That brings the risk of power outages from downed power lines. Malloy says wind conditions may make it difficult for utility workers to quickly restore power."

Lori Mack, of member station WNPR in Connecticut, tells our newscast unit there are whiteout conditions in parts of the state.

Member station WNYC reports that officials are urging New York City residents to remain indoors:

"The city's Department of Education is shuttering schools all day Thursday as the powerful nor'easter moves through the New York/New Jersey region. Many area schools are closed for the day.

"At the same time, Mayor de Blasio is urging people not to drive and to minimize their time outside.

" 'Bottom line is to take this storm very seriously. Very cold temperatures — definitely a major amount of snow — could get to be a lot more. Wind gusts up to 40 miles-per-hour — this is serious stuff. Asking all New Yorkers to take precautions. Lookout for your neighbors as well,' de Blasio said."

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