Jan 4, 2018

U.S. East Coast Blitzed by Fast-Moving, High-Impact Winter Storm by Bob Henson

New York, NY
USA
by
Bob Henson
,
Weather Underground | Category 6
ea ice floats in Boston Harbor on Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2018. The ice could exacerbate the impacts of Thursday’s intense coastal storm. Photo: Michael Dwyer, AP
ea ice floats in Boston Harbor on Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2018. The ice could exacerbate the impacts of Thursday’s intense coastal storm. Photo: Michael Dwyer, AP

By the time Friday is here, people along the length of North America’s East Coast will be recuperating from a punishing round of heavy snow, high winds, and bitter cold. This nor’easter—dubbed Grayson by The Weather Channel—will rank among the most impressive of recent decades in its fast development, deep low pressure, and fierce winds. Various models agreed that Grayson’s surface low would deepen by an astounding 30-40 millibars or more from late Wednesday to late Thursday, more than qualifying the midlatitude cyclone as a meteorological “bomb” (defined as 24 millibars of deepening in 24 hours). The deepening rate could be among the strongest observed off the East Coast in the last several decades of records, according to David Roth (NWS).

As of late Wednesday, blizzard warnings covered parts of each coastline from North Carolina to Maine. Some uncertainty in the storm track remained on Wednesday night—complicated by the storm’s rapid development and unusual strength—but Grayson’s center should remain just far enough offshore to keep the worst impacts east of the I-95 corridor until the storm reaches southeast New England. There, Grayson may produce a strong enough blizzard to impress even the hardest-bitten Yankee. Snow amounts won’t be off the charts, but the impact will be worsened by winds at gale force or stronger and frigid temperatures, especially in the 24 to 48 hours after Grayson has passed.