Monster Storm Expected to Miss Most Major Eastern Cities

A storm developing off the eastern U.S. won’t be a serious threat to the large cities along the coast, including New York, while Cape Cod and the Canadian Maritimes will probably be hit hard by winds and snow.

One to 2 inches (2.5 to 5 centimeters) of snow may fall starting today from Philadelphia to New York, with eastern Long Island, Boston and coastal Massachusetts getting more, the National Weather Service said. A blizzard watch was posted for Cape Cod and the Massachusetts Islands. Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia may get more than 10 inches, Environment Canada said in a special weather statement.

“It’s going to be a monster storm, but luckily, depending on your point of view, it’s going to be so far offshore the brunt of it is going to miss us,” said Bill Simpson, a weather service meteorologist in Taunton, Massachusetts.

Snow will start in New York this afternoon, with the steadiest precipitation coming overnight, said Joey Picca, a weather service meteorologist in Upton, New York. Most areas of the city should only get about an inch, while the eastern end of Long Island might get 4.

“It’s still expected to be a very strong low-pressure system, but it will form far enough to the east that significant snowfall should stay east of the city,” Picca said.

Boston may pick up 2 to 4 inches of snow with higher amounts in its southern suburbs, according to the weather service. On Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket, as much as 6 to 8 inches are forecast, with some areas getting 10.

Cape Cod has at least a 95 percent chance of getting four inches of snow, the weather service said. A blizzard watch is also in place for the eastern tip of Maine.

‘A Bomb’

As the storm intensifies, a process meteorologists refer to as “a bomb,” winds will build to near hurricane strength, said Brett Anderson, a meteorologist with AccuWeather Inc. in State College, Pennsylvania.

“This looks like a classic bombing-out coastal storm,” Anderson said. “It’s almost like an early springtime hurricane. The makeup is different, but we’re going to see hurricane force winds.”

A warning for hurricane-force wind has been issued in the Atlantic off Massachusetts and Maine, the weather service said. Mariners could encounter waves as much as 37 feet high.

Forecasters have had trouble getting a clear picture of what the storm will do because it will be made up of three different weather systems, one from the Pacific, the second from central Canada and the third from the Gulf of Mexico, which will meet off the East Coast tomorrow.

“By the time it gets to Nova Scotia it is going to be one of the strongest ones they have seen for the season,” Simpson said.

When it passes, seasonal temperatures are expected to take hold in the eastern U.S. from March 29 to April 2, MDA Weather Services in Gaithersburg, Maryland, said. The Southwest and most of Texas may have average readings 3 to 5 degrees above normal during the period.