With an outcrop of arctic air coming in from the Canadian Prairies, relatively warm waters waiting off Cape Cod and the jetstream diving past the Ohio Valley, the ingredients are there for a major snowstorm over the next two days.
Snow is forecast to fall at a typical rate of 7cm per hour leaving accumulations of 30 to 60cm in the States of New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachussetts, Maine and southern New Hampshire.
In anticipation of appalling conditions, many airlines have cancelled flights out of New York and Boston. The Interstate Highway 95, which runs from New England to Florida is right in the path of this storm and may be virtually impossible to use for a while.
Most forecast models agree with developing this storm explosively – in other words, pressure will drop rapidly causing an increasingly windy low pressure area. By Tuesday morning, a Nor’easter could well be blowing at hurricane force over Cape Cod.
Gale force winds in a radius inland from the Cape are the reason for calling this a blizzard, as snow will drift, bank and fly horizontally, reducing visibility to virtually nil. In a coastal strip 40 or 50km wide, from New Jersey northwards to Maine, the gale will blow, adding windchill to the wintry scene.