US East Coast blanketed by ‘bombogenesis’ snowstorm

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Intl desk, Jan 29: The northeastern United States was walloped by a fierce winter storm on Saturday that threatened to drop more than two feet (60 cm) of snow while packing high winds, prompting governors in New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts and other states to declare states of emergency.

The Nor’easter, which moved up the East Coast after forming in the Atlantic Ocean off the Carolinas, blanketed a large swath of New England with heavy snowfall, with some coastal areas of New Jersey already recording 15 inches (38 cm) of accumulation.

More than 80,000 households across Massachusetts were suffering power outages by Saturday morning.

“The combination of heavy snow rates and strong winds will produce dangerous blizzard conditions across portions of the Mid-Atlantic and New England coasts,” the National Weather Service said in a notice on Saturday.

The governors who declared states of emergency warned of likely power outages. The storm has led airlines to cancel nearly 6,000 flights through the weekend.

“This storm is looking like it could be one for the record books,” Boston Mayor Michelle Wu said in a CBS TV interview on Saturday. “We are not only expecting a whole lot of snow, but it is going to come down really quick in the most intense hours.”

Wu said Boston, forecast to possibly get more than 2 feet of snow, had more than 900 plows and salt spreaders out clearing the roads on Saturday morning.

The National Weather Service has issued a blizzard warning for the Boston metropolitan area and its nearly 4.9 million residents, predicting “whiteout conditions” and damaging winds.

Forecasters said more than two feet of snow could fall in some areas with wind gusts of 70 miles (113 km) per hour. Southeastern Massachusetts, including Cape Cod and the island of Martha’s Vineyard, were expected to get the highest snow totals.

Experts say the storm will undergo bombogenesis, meaning that colder air is expected to mix with warmer sea air, leading to a swift drop in atmospheric pressure. The process leads to a so-called bomb cyclone.

“Travel should be restricted to emergencies only,” warned the National Weather Service (NWS) in Boston.

“If you must travel, have a winter survival kit with you. If you get stranded, stay with your vehicle.”

The powerful storm began to hit the country’s coast in the early hours of Saturday morning, with inches of snowfall already blanketing a number of states.

Bryce Williams, a meteorologist based in the state, told the New York Times the heaviest would hit there by Saturday evening before conditions clear up across the weekend.

“If you don’t have to be out and about, we’re trying to say: Stay home until Sunday,” he told the newspaper.

Winds are expected to strengthen, possibly reaching hurricane-level speeds, according to the NWS and Accuweather. A blizzard warning has been issued throughout the north-east, the first time such an alert has been issued since 2018.

The governors of New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Rhode Island and Virginia declared states of emergency, telling residents to stay off the roads for their own safety.

75 million people are in the path of the storm, according to CBS News.

New York Mayor Eric Adams cancelled outdoor dining for Saturday, as well as vaccine appointments.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul suggested that residents stay home “with a six pack of beer and wait it out”.

Source: News Agencies