Written by Jennifer Gray, CNN meteorologist
After four weeks of harsh weather in the south, this was a sure sign we were in for spring.
Then all of a sudden, Mother Nature had other plans…
It looks like we’ll be stopping by this week for a little bit of spring to head back into winter for some, as one of the rare places late in the season and not one of its highlights in the Northeast and New England.
“We have April snow events even in Albany here. They can happen,” said Tom Wassola, a meteorologist with the Albany National Weather Service (NWS). I would say it happens maybe once or twice every decade.”
Which caught my attention! Nearly eight million people are subject to winter storm warnings and winter weather warnings across the interior of the Northeast.
Neither mid-April nor Westerns are unheard of, but they are certainly rare, and can cause major problems.
Everything from heavy, wet snow to strong winds and coastal flooding will affect the region, and we could see significant damage to trees and power lines, potentially leading to widespread power outages.
What is Norister?
Determining how close to the coast or eastern path is will tell us a lot about who’s snowing and who isn’t.
The further away from the coast they track, the more likely the major cities along the east coast will experience snow.
This week Norrester will track farther to the west, which means that rainfall in coastal cities will be all rain, and heavy, wet snow in inland locations.
This does not mean that coastal cities are in the clear.
Rain, wind and coastal flooding will cause major disruptions up and down the Northeast Coast and New England.
Places such as Philadelphia, New York and Boston will be included.
The storm is currently producing torrential rain across the Carolinas and will continue to track the East Coast and intensify as it does.
The depression will be off the mid-Atlantic coast this evening, which is when areas of the Northeast will begin to feel the effects of the storm.
The NWS office in Burlington, Vermont, forecast: “A batch of heavy wet snowfall, at a rate of 1-2 inches per hour, is expected to develop north across the region between 11 p.m. tonight and 8 a.m. Tuesday.” “The subsequent rapid build-up of snowfall will affect your commute in the morning and may lead to sporadic blackouts.”
While most areas will see snowfall totaling several inches, we can see some locations up to a foot of snow, especially at higher elevations.
The NWS office in Albany predicted that “the real winners with the highest snowfall from 6 to 12 inches will be the Southern Adirondacks, the eastern Catskills, and possibly parts of Shohree County.”
As the storm approaches the northeast, coastal areas will also be affected.
Even places like Boston will suffer from “evil” weather.
The NWS office in Boston predicted that “a severe spring storm will bring some wet snow across mainly high inland terrain above 1,500 feet and a cold rain of strong winds elsewhere late Monday through Tuesday.” “However, the biggest concern is the potential for strong and destructive winds especially along and near the east and southeast coast of the Massachusetts region.”
Weather conditions will be widespread.
Speaking for the coasts of Delaware and New Jersey, the NWS office in Philadelphia confirmed, “Expect winds along the coasts to increase to 20 to 30 mph with gusts of 45 to 50 mph.”
Wind warnings are in effect for much of the Northeast Coast and New England, as well as part of the northern Appalachian Mountains.
Wind speeds can reach 55 miles per hour. When you combine it with torrential rain, the forecast looks pretty miserable.
The NWS office in New York City expects winds of 20 to 30 mph with gusts of up to 50 mph.
Also, strong winds blowing on land will cause coastal flooding.
“Inundation of 1-2 feet locally above ground level is expected in vulnerable areas near the waterfront and shoreline,” the NWS office in New York City noted.
The same goes for coastal areas of Delaware and New Jersey, especially during tidal times.
And if snow, rain, wind, and coastal flooding aren’t enough, let’s cast some frigid temperatures on the backside of the River of Light.
The Weather Prediction Center (WPC) warned that “the temperatures will be cold enough to make it look as if the calendar reads ‘February’ and not ‘April.'” The same can be said in the Midwest where daytime temperature changes are expected. 15 to 20 degrees below normal on Tuesday.”
Fire weather is still critical
One area in the country that could take up some rain is the southwestern desert, but they won’t get it because fire conditions are still critical.
As of today, more than 19,000 fires have burned over 820,000 acres across the United States, which is 200,000 more acres than is normally burned by this time, according to the Interagency National Fire Center.
There are 11 active large fires burning in five states.
Ten of these burn in states where fire conditions are ripe.
“The dry, westerly winds return on Tuesday and hang around the rest of the week,” the NWS office in Albuquerque reports. “Wind warnings will likely be needed Tuesday through Friday, with local high winds, potentially damaging on Friday.”
Much of New Mexico, as well as parts of Arizona and Colorado, will remain at severe fire risk, with winds of up to 50 mph across many areas.
The Storm Prediction Center (SPC) warned: “Dry and windy conditions will be more prevalent across the central and southern high plains, where the fuel is extremely dry and strongly supports the rapid spread of wildfires.”
Southern parts of New Mexico will experience near-record heat as temperatures soar into the low 90s.
The combination of high temperatures and strong winds will fan the flames from any new fires or pre-existing fires.
While it appears dangerous fire conditions will remain for at least the next seven days, “it appears that the strongest winds will occur on Tuesday and especially on Friday,” the NWS office in Albuquerque noted.
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CNN meteorologist Halle Brink contributed to this article.