Eastern Massachusetts, including Boston, and Rhode Island could see between 12 and 24 inches of snow combined with gusts of up to 64 mph, according to multiple forecasting models.
A blizzard occurs when snow is accompanied by gusts greater than 35 mph for more than three hours and provides visibility for less than a quarter of a mile.
Mix of snow, wind and coastal flooding to the northeast
The storm is expected to cause a double whammy of heavy snowfall and high winds in parts of the northeast, but parts of the region are still uncertain.
“This storm is likely to strengthen at a speed and intensity consistent with only the most powerful hurricanes, so the high-end potential of this storm cannot be overstated,” said DailyExpertNews meteorologist Brandon Miller. “But with nor’easters, as with real estate, it all comes down to location, location, location.”
Parts of northeastern North Carolina and southeastern Virginia could see up to 3 inches of snow, with winds up to 35 mph, according to the National Weather Service.
The storm could also bring up to 8 inches of snow in Philadelphia, while parts of Delaware could see up to 10 inches of snow, according to multiple forecast models.
“Coastal flooding is a concern thanks to astronomically high tides on Saturday,” NWS Boston said. “The combination of strong northeasterly winds and high seas will create storm surges that, if coinciding with high tide, would lead to minor or moderate coastal flooding.”
The difference in storm timing — even as little as six hours — would make a huge difference in the impact on coastal flooding and erosion problems.
New York City forecast remains uncertain
A European forecasting model shows New York City on the edge of the snow-or-no-snow line, but it still predicts a lot of snow. The American model shows almost nothing for the city. A third model indicates a foot or more of snow.
And direction plays a critical role in this storm’s projection, DailyExpertNews meteorologist Chad Myers emphasized.
“It’s like a bowling ball going straight down the center or slightly off center. You can get a 7-10 split or a strike with just an inch,” Myers said. “I think the models will come together as we get closer to the event.”
Judson Jones and Robert Shackelford of DailyExpertNews contributed to this report.