With a chilling description as a “bomb cyclone,” Winter Storm Grayson will bring snow, ice and strong wind gusts along the East Coast and as far south as Florida this week to make for a bitter start to the new year.
Winter Storm Grayson is now expected to continue moving across coastal New Jersey, southeastern New York and southern New England before moving farther northward to southern New Hampshire and Maine, according to a tweet from the National Weather Service. Snow is falling between one to three inches an hour and there is close to zero visibility in affected areas.
Winter Storm Grayson’s track began Wednesday as snow began to fall in Florida and Georgia — a rarity for the southern states with humid subtropical climates. The NWS issued Winter Storm warnings in these southeast regions — the first time in nearly four years for Tallahassee, according to the Weather Channel.
The combination of the chilling temperatures seen so far this winter and the “bomb cyclone” make for a particularly harsh weather event. The “bomb cyclone,” known as a bombogenesis, “occurs when a midlatitude cyclone rapidly intensifies” when “a cold air mass collides with a warm air mass,” according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Winter Storm Grayson’s track moved up toward South Carolina and North Carolina next, with the National Weather Service reporting 5.3 inches of snowfall at Charleston International Airport, the third highest one-day snowfall on record there. Some parts of North Carolina, meanwhile, got about four inches, according to the National Weather Service. The snow had mostly stopped by Thursday morning, but wind chill and black ice warnings remained in place.
Coastal cities along the East Coast are not only in Winter Storm Grayson’s path, but they are expected to bear the brunt of the winter storm, with strong coastal winds, and, in the case of Atlantic City in New Jersey, freezing spray from the coast. In Massachusetts, where winter storm Grayson began to hit Thursday morning, the state’s coastal towns not only have a blizzard to look forward to, but also have been issued a Coastal Flood Warning, which is in effect until Thursday afternoon.
On Thursday morning, the National Weather Service tweeted that the storm was intensifying unusually quickly — which won’t be news to major cities along the East Coast, which are already seeing heavy snow. New York City is expected to get between four and eight inches, NBC reports, while parts of New Jersey and Connecticut could see a foot. Boston could get 14 inches of snow, and also has a Coastal Flood Warning in effect for Thursday. Massachusetts is also seeing impressive wind gusts, with speeds reaching 64 miles per hour off Nantucket. Washington, D.C., Baltimore and Philadelphia will have less harsh conditions, with less snowfall and strong winds.
In Maine, blizzard conditions are expected from Portland along the coast and inland, where travel “will be very dangerous to impossible,” warns the National Weather Service.
While most snow is supposed to wrap up by Thursday evening, frigid temperatures will remain into the weekend in many areas. At least nine people have died in the U.S. this winter as a result of the bone-chilling temperatures that have spanned across the Midwest and East Coast. Even as the East Coast braces for blizzards and wind this week, the National Weather Service has issued Wind Chill Advisories in Minnesota, Iowa, Ohio, Indiana and Michigan, among other areas.