A powerful nor’easter barreled into the East Coast on Friday, bringing heavy rain, strong winds and wet snow as residents up and down the eastern coastline braced for flooding. The storm has been blamed for at least two deaths, and hundreds of flights were canceled as the storm bore down on an extended region.
Fox News’ Janice Dean reported the nor’easter would deliver rain and flooding conditions with a possibility of hurricane-force winds that could reach 90 mph along the coast.
The Eastern Seaboard was expecting wind gusts exceeding 50 mph. The National Weather Service has dubbed the nor’easter “one of the most powerful windstorms in recent years.”
A Baltimore County woman, 77, was killed after a tree branch fell on her while she was getting the mail during the storm Friday, the Baltimore Sun reported.
And in Putnam Valley, New York, an 11-year-old boy was killed after a tree crashed into his home Friday afternoon and trapped him, the Putnam County Sheriff’s Department said. Authorities were unable to reach him from beneath the downed tree and he was pronounced dead at the scene, they said.
With high-wind warnings and watches in effect from northern Georgia to southern Maine, a span of 900 miles, the potential for more loss of life was clear.
“Please take this storm seriously,” the National Weather Service in Boston said in a statement. “For those living along the coast, this is a LIFE & DEATH situation.”
Upstate New York, northeast Pennsylvania and northwestern New Jersey were expected to receive the most snow.
The front edge of the storm dumped up to a foot of snow in northeast Ohio, with strong winds leading to power outages and school closings. East Aurora, N.Y., had received 18.6 inches of snow as of Friday morning.
In New York, heavy snow was expected in the state’s north while strong winds were expected to pummel Long Island and the New York City Tri-State area, the Weather Channel reported.
Some Massachusetts residents evacuated their homes ahead of the storm, which was expected to bring flooding to Duxbury, south of Boston, and other coastal towns. Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker activated 200 National Guard members to help with the storm.
FOX 25 Boston reported flooding along Massachusetts’ coast on Friday morning. Officials confirmed the storm has downed power lines and left more than 900,000 customers without power in the Northeast, mid-Atlantic and Great Lakes regions Friday.
In New Jersey, officials are worried that the storm could erode beaches south of Atlantic City, areas that are still being repaired from previous storm damage. Winds were expected to increase drastically throughout the day, peaking Friday afternoon with gusts from 50 mph to 60 mph that could leave downed trees and power lines.
The Weather Channel reported the area off the Jersey Shore is undergoing a “bombogenesis,” also commonly called a “bomb cyclone.” This weather event is defined by a “rapid drop in atmospheric pressure of at least 24 millibars in a period of 24 hours or less,” according to the network.
The weather service said all of Rhode Island was under flood and high wind watches through Sunday morning.
Airlines have made their own preparations. USA Today reported airlines canceled more than 2,000 flights Friday as the nor’easter pummeled the coast.
Amtrak announced Friday afternoon it had suspended all service in the Northeast Corridor as a precaution.
One coast being pummeled by a brutal storm? News enough. But on Friday both U.S. coasts were under siege. Indeed, on the West Coast, a storm moving in from the Pacific was expected to bring heavy rain and snow in the mountains especially among the Sierras and the Great Basin, Dean reported. Flooding was a concern, especially across the burn areas in Southern California.
The Associated Press and USA Today contributed to this report.