As a major winter storm made its way up the Atlantic Coast on Thursday, local authorities from New York City to Maine began to make preparations for what forecasters said could be the heaviest snowfall for some cities in the Northeast in a century.
Airlines began announcing the suspension of all flights out of New York and Boston airports starting Friday night, as thousands of workers readied their plows, checked their stocks of salt and braced for what will most likely be a cold, wet weekend.
In Long Island, where some forecasts said there could be more than 18 inches of snow, the power company, which has come in for heavy criticism for its response to Hurricane Sandy, promised customers that they were prepared.
The city of Boston, where forecasts called for more than two feet of snow to fall by Saturday, announced that it would close all schools on Friday, joining other localities in trying to get ahead of the storm and keep people off the roads.
However, with the storm still some distance away, forecasters warned that predictions could change. The first sign of trouble will be a dusting of light snow that is expected to start falling across the region Friday morning.
At some point Friday night, the arctic jet stream will drop down from Canada and intersect with the polar jet stream, which usually travels through the lower 48 states.
“They will cross somewhere between New Jersey and Nantucket,” said Tim Morrin, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service. “That is where the center of the storm will deepen and explosively develop.”
By the time the storm has passed through the New York area, sometime on Saturday, forecasters predict it will have dumped as much as a foot of snow in the area, while delivering blistering winds reaching 50 m.p.h., and flooding coastal areas.
If the current models hold, the storm could rival the blizzard of 1978 in New England, when more than 27 inches of snow fell in Boston and surrounding cities. That storm, which occurred on a weekday, resulted in dozens of deaths and crippled the region for days.Meanwhile, The Globe and Mail says Toronto is about to get hit with a storm coming up from Texas. Here in Vancouver it's cool (7ºC=44ºF) and cloudy, and the crocuses are coming up all over the front yard.