Snow emergencies, flight delays caused by nor’easter

Weather

(NewsNation Now) — People across the Northeast and the mid-Atlantic United States are bracing for blizzard-like conditions, with lots of snow, ice and cold, expected on Friday and Saturday.

Blizzard warnings have been issued by the National Weather Service in Boston, Atlantic City, New Jersey, and Portland, Maine, with winter storm warnings and weather advisories in effect for many other areas along the East Coast, even as far south as northern South Carolina, per weather.com.

In all of these areas, the National Weather Service is advising people to avoid travel later Friday night through Saturday.

Boston Mayor Michelle Wu on Friday declared a “snow emergency” for the city ahead of the storm. Total snow accumulations are expected to range between 18 to 24 inches in Boston. Wind gusts as high as 40 to 50 miles per hour are also expected.

Because of the emergency, Boston residents are under a parking ban effective at 9 p.m. Friday, with vehicles parked on major roads and arteries being towed starting at that time.

Gov. Glenn Youngkin, in a press release announcing a state of emergency in Virginia, told residents to stay aware of weather conditions and off the roads if possible.

“We are very concerned with the forecasted impacts to our Eastern Shore region and have started pre-positioning resources to ensure a timely response to that area,” Youngkin said. “The most important thing everyone can do to minimize the risks is to prepare yourself and your family.”

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy and New York Gov. Kathy Hochul issued a state of emergency for their own states, too.

Called a “nor’easter” because that’s where winds over the coastal area are typically from, these storms in the past have been responsible for billions of dollars in damage, severe economic, transportation and human disruption, and in some cases, disastrous coastal flooding, according to the National Weather Service.

This nor’easter is set to become what’s known as a bomb cyclone, or winter hurricane. Bomb cyclones have the rotation and strong winds of a hurricane, but because they form in the far north, their counter-clockwise flow “throws” incredibly cold air from the polar regions down into areas like the Midwest and Northeast.

Thousands of flights were delayed in anticipation of adverse weather conditions, FlightAware’s website showed. As of Friday afternoon, there had been 7,862 total flight delays, and 2,324 total cancellations. About 3,3631 of Saturday’s flights have already been canceled.

It’s not just flights getting canceled. Several COVID-19 testing sites in Springfield, Massachusetts, have announced they will not open on Saturday because of the weather, NewsNation local affiliate WWLP said.

NewsNation’s New York local affiliate PIX11 reported a cold front arrived on Friday morning with a few snow showers during the day.

However, New York’s main event is slated to arrive Friday night into Saturday, when the frontal boundary will reinforce the extremely cold air, setting the stage for snow to accumulate quickly, PIX11 reported.

More than a foot of snow is possible, the New York City Department of Sanitation department warned. On Long Island, 18 inches are possible, PIX11 reported.

Sanitation crews have started gearing up for the storm to prepare for messy and potentially dangerous roads.

“We’ve had all our crews out, working on the trucks, checking our plows, checking hydraulics systems, checking the sanders,” Dwight Ryniewicz, director of Vernon, Connecticut, Public Works, told NewsNation affiliate WTNH. ”We’ve had a couple of safety training classes for tire chains and for proper plowing operations.”

In New England, in preparation for nearly 3 feet of snow in some spots, there was a shelf-clearing rush for bread, eggs, milk and other groceries at stores.

Regional supermarket giant Stop & Shop asked customers to practice restraint, as the storm just adds to supply woes caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We ask shoppers to buy what they need and save some for their neighbors,” the Quincy, Massachusetts-based grocery chain said in a statement. 

Those outside of the Northeast were grappling with snowy weather on Friday, too.

WGN, a NewsNation local affiliate, said snow is slamming parts of the Chicago area, giving drivers a messy, slow and slick morning commute. Most markings on some roads could hardly be seen because of snow cover.

J. Scott Wilson and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

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