Saturday, March 2, 2024

Heavy snow and travel woes loom for Northeast as South is drenched by severe storms | CNN

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A sprawling storm system is making its way across the Eastern US, gearing up to hamper travel in the Northeast with a blanket of snow just as it finishes sweeping the Southeast with rounds of severe thunderstorms and flood threats.

The same system that soaked the Gulf Coast and Southeast over the weekend will develop into a Nor’Easter – an East coast storm driven by winds from the northeast – as it moves northward Monday and encounters colder air. It will then begin unleashing snow across the Northeast late Monday and through Tuesday.

Widespread heavy snowfall is forecast to set in Monday night from Pennsylvania through southern New York, where winter storm warnings and watches are in place. That includes Albany, New York and Scranton, Pennsylvania.

More than 2 inches of snow per hour could fall across the impacted region Monday night – coupled with wind gusts as strong as 40 mph, the weather service said.

On Tuesday, the threat shifts to southern New England, where cities including Boston and Hartford, Connecticut could see up to a foot of snow.

“Travel could be very difficult to impossible. Patchy blowing snow could significantly reduce visibility. The hazardous conditions will impact the Tuesday morning and evening commute,” the weather service said in an alert.

The snowy weather will be quite a change of pace for the region, as many cities in the Northeast are in the midst of their warmest winter on record.

Local officials have already begun gearing up for the incoming snow. New York Gov. Kathy Hochul on Saturday urged residents to watch the weather forecast and prepare for potentially hazardous travel conditions and power outages.

“I have directed State agencies to mobilize in preparation for this storm and urge everyone to watch for weather and travel updates as it develops,” Hochul said.

Moderate coastal flooding could also occur during high tide Tuesday along the Jersey Shore and parts of the New York and New England coasts, the weather service forecasted.

Though the storm systems shifts northward Monday, it is still not finished lashing the South with heavy rains and the threat of flash flooding, hail and scattered tornadoes.

Around 33 million people from Mississippi to the Florida Panhandle and into the Carolinas are at risk of severe thunderstorms and excess rainfall through Tuesday morning, according to the National Weather Service.

Major impacted cities include Birmingham and Montgomery, Alabama; Atlanta, Georgia; Jacksonville, Florida; and Charlotte, North Carolina.

Tornado watches were in place in parts of eastern Louisiana and southern Mississippi through early Monday. The weather service in Jackson, Mississippi warned of golf ball-sized hail, damaging winds and severe storms.

“Be prepared before you go to bed!” the weather service in New Orleans said Sunday in anticipation of the overnight conditions. The office advised people to keep their phones fully charged, be equipped with spare batteries and a flashlight, and prepare a shelter ahead of time. “Make sure everyone in your household knows where to go if a warning is issued for your area.”

Flood watches are also in effect Monday from central and eastern Alabama and southeastern Tennessee through Georgia and South Carolina due to the risk of excessive rainfall.

CNN Meteorologists Sara Tonks and Elisa Raffa contributed to this report.

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