A winter storm will blast the Northeast with up to a foot of snow Thursday morning, creating travel nightmares across the region, CNN meteorologists say.
Snow will start falling in Boston and Hartford, Connecticut, around midmorning Thursday and become heavy in the afternoon, meteorologist Dave Hennen said.
Boston should get about a foot of snow, with surrounding towns such as Springfield and Fitchburg seeing a few inches less.
In New York and Philadelphia, the snow will hit around daybreak, with 30-mph winds creating whiteout conditions at times, Hennen said. Six inches to a foot will collect in New York, with 5 to 10 inches in the City of Brotherly Love.
More than 40 million people will be under a winter storm watch, and 12 million will be under winter weather advisories.
The good news is that the storm is expected to move out quickly. However, snow might fall in Boston on following days, and temperatures won’t rise above freezing there until Sunday, according to the National Weather Service.
The storm won’t cause hardship much below Washington. The nation’s capital will get less than half an inch of snow Thursday morning, the National Weather Service said.
Not a nor’easter
The storm is expected to pack a punch, but it’s not a nor’easter.
Nor’easters get their name from the winds that blow from the northeast ahead of a storm’s arrival as it moves up the Eastern Seaboard from south to north, remaining offshore.
This storm will move from west to east, from land out to sea, so it can’t be classified as a nor’easter.
The region did have a nor’easter on January 24. That storm jammed roads and caused major disruptions in air travel.
Up and down temps
New Yorkers will experience a bit of “weather whiplash.”
Temperatures on Wednesday will climb to around 60 degrees in New York, more than 20 degrees above average for early February. They could even hit record high levels on Wednesday afternoon.
The mild conditions will be extremely short-lived as temperatures plummet overnight and pave the way for snow to begin early Thursday.
Wednesday morning was cold in Boston, and icy road conditions in the Wakefield area north of the city caused numerous wrecks, CNN affiliate WFXT-TV reported.
State officials said Route 128 northbound north of Interstate 93 was closed because of multivehicle wrecks, WFXT said.
Tornadoes in Louisiana
The Northeast is not the only part of the country having severe weather.
On Tuesday, nine tornadoes were reported in the Southeast, mostly in Louisiana.
One that touched down east of New Orleans was rated at least an EF2, considered a significant tornado with winds between 111 and 135 mph, CNN affiliate WDSU-TV reported.
WDSU said the storm injured about 25 people and damaged 60 structures.
Some residents won’t have power restored until the weekend, the TV station said, citing local power companies.
More storms may hit Wednesday, but there’s only a marginal risk of severe weather, Hennen said.
Late last month, tornadoes swept across the Southeast and killed at least 20 people.