Record Cold and Snow

‘Blockbuster’ storm heads east, could drop 40 inches of snow. Snowplows will not be able to keep up. Then an Arctic blast will freeze 200 million.

‘Blockbuster’ storm heads east, could drop 40 inches of snow. Then an Arctic blast will freeze 200 million

John Bacon and Doyle Rice. USA TODAY•January 17, 2019

After hammering California with rain and snow, a ‘blockbuster’ winter storm is taking aim on the East, where as much as 40 inches of snow could fall over the weekend. Road travel may become “impossible” due to the heavy snow; flight delays and cancellations are also likely.

After the storm heads offshore on Sunday, the intense cold will be the main weather story as bitterly cold air straight from the Arctic will roar in, bringing below-freezing temperatures to 200 million Americans.

As for the storm, “freezing rain, heavy snow and heavy rain are expected through the central and eastern U.S. over the next few days,” the National Weather Service warned.

On Friday, the heaviest snow will hit South Dakota, Nebraska, Minnesota, Kansas, Missouri and Iowa, AccuWeather said.

Then, the storm will wind up and roar into the Northeast and New England on Saturday and Sunday, where the heaviest snow will fall.

AccuWeather said 40 inches is possible in parts of northern New England, while close to 30 inches of snow may fall on parts of central and northern New York state and the northern tier of Pennsylvania. Snowfall rates could reach 2-3 inches per hour.

The storm “will be a blockbuster in terms of impact and dangerous conditions,” said AccuWeather meteorologist Alex Sosnowski.

Snowfall of 12-24 inches is likely to be more common in the heaviest band from the storm, AccuWeather forecasts. But blowing and drifting at the height and conclusion of the storm could cause the snow depth to vary by several feet.

“Plows are not likely to be able to keep up,” Sosnowski warned. “As the storm strengthens, winds will cause major blowing and drifting of snow.”

“Those who are on the road through the heart of the snow and ice area will be at risk for becoming stranded for many hours,” Sosnowski said, adding that they “may have to face temperatures plummeting to dangerously low levels.”

The combination of winds and heavy snow could lead to numerous power outages, particularly in the heaviest snow swath in the interior Northeast, according to the Weather Channel.

Boston should finally see its first inch of snow of the winter season.

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