A nor’easter may bring gusty winds, heavy rain and even snow this week across much of the U.S. East Coast that was hit by Hurricane Sandy last week, complicating cleanup efforts and possibly snarling air traffic.
Winds of 45 to 55 miles (72 to 88 kilometers) per hour are expected to accompany coastal flooding and precipitation in New Jersey as the storm moves up the coast from Nov. 7 to 9, according to Mitchell Gaines, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Mt. Holly, New Jersey.
“This nor’easter will have greater impact than usual because of the impacts of coastal storm Sandy,” Gaines said by telephone. “It’s another storm on top of an area that really doesn’t need another storm.”
The winds from the storm may crack and topple branches weakened by Sandy and coastal flooding may hit areas that were inundated last week. Sandy hit New York and New Jersey killing at least 90 and leaving about 8.5 million homes and businesses without power at its peak. The storm may have caused $10 billion to $20 billion in insured damage, according to Hiscox Ltd., the biggest Lloyd’s of London insurer by market value.
The cold from the new storm may boost energy demand as people turn up thermostats to heat homes and businesses. About 1.37 million customers were still without power today, according to the U.S. Energy Department.
The storm has the potential to delay restoration efforts and may even bring about more blackouts, according to a statement from Consolidated Edison Inc., which provides service to New York City and Westchester County.
“If we hadn’t just dealt with Sandy, I think it would be just our typical nor’easter,” said Tom Kines, a meteorologist at AccuWeather Inc. in State College, Pennsylvania. “I don’t want to downplay it. It is a rather strong storm and it will bring some wind and rain along the coast.”
The stormy conditions may be enough to cause delays at airports from Washington north to Boston, Kines said.
Flooding caused by Sandy was made worse because the superstorm struck during a full moon, when tides were at the highest. Gaines said the tides will be lower when the new storm strikes because the moon is in between full and new phases.
The problem for New Jersey is that many of the sand dunes that protected the coast have been eroded away, Kines said.
In New York City, rain is likely Nov. 7 to 8 with low temperatures near 40 degrees Fahrenheit (4.4 Celsius), according to the weather service. Winds may gust to 40 mph during the height of the storm.
“It will be a chilly storm,” Kines said.
Across the Northeast, the storm may contribute to keeping temperatures 5 to 8 degrees Fahrenheit below normal, said Matt Rogers, president of Commodity Weather Group LLC in Bethesda, Maryland.
The storm “threatens to keep temperatures quite chilly for the big cities of the East Coast, especially on Wednesday,” Rogers said. “The event looks to be primarily a cold rain for the major population centers, but there is a chance that precipitation could switch over to a wet snow eventually.”
Gaines said the best chance for snow in the mid-Atlantic would be in the Poconos. The weather service also says snow is possible through upstate New York and northern New England with little accumulation.
The heaviest rain may fall from southern New Jersey across Long Island and into Rhode Island and eastern Massachusetts, according to the weather service. From 1.75 to 3 inches (4.4 to 7.6 centimeters) may fall in those areas, according to weather service projections.