This satellite picture released by the NOAA Wednesday shows a winter storm moving towards the East Coast, bringing threats of high winds and heavy snow to areas already hard-hit by Hurricane Sandy.(Photo: NOAA/ AFP/Getty Images)
The nor'easter bringing high winds and heavy snow took aim at
storm-staggered New York and New Jersey Wednesday, threatening storm
surges and beach erosion that could complicate recovery efforts from
last week's Superstorm Sandy.
Snow was already being reported
Wednesday morning near Philadelphia and Atlantic City, according to
AccuWeather, while Ice pellets have been reported in Long Island.
Snow was also reported around noon at JFK Airport and in Connecticut.
National Weather Service predicted the storm would last into Thursday,
bringing wind and wet snow to New Jersey, up to three inches of snow to
Philadelphia and from six to 12 inches of snow to southeastern New York
and New England.
United Airlines - the nation's biggest carrier -
announced that it will suspend most service to and from the New York
area between noon Wednesday and noon Thursday, USA TODAY's Ben
Mutzabaugh reports on Today in the Sky.
These type of storms are called a "nor'easter" because they typically bring strong northeast winds over
the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast as they move north along the Atlantic Coast.
form during late fall, winter and early spring and often bring heavy
rain, heavy snow and severe coastal flooding to the East.
While meteorologists said this system lacked Sandy's devastating power, it still packed a threatening punch.
winds of 20 miles per hour to 40 miles per hour - with gusts as high as
60 miles per hour - were expected to buffet the nation's largest city.
A coastal flood advisory forecast a 3 ½-foot storm surge at the
Battery, Manhattan's southern tip, on top of Wednesday afternoon's high
tide, while a high surf warning forecast waves of 8-to-12 feet could
pound beaches already stripped of protective sand and dunes by Sandy.
with Sandy, "it's not the rain but the wind and coastal flooding that
could be a problem," said Adrienne Leptich, a National Weather Service
meteorologist. "We really don't need this right now."
City Mayor Michael Bloomberg ordered precautionary noontime closings of
all parks, playgrounds and beaches and a temporary halt to outdoor
City officials also encouraged motorists to stay off the road after 5 p.m., and to use extreme caution if they must drive.
said city emergency workers were urging residents in a handful of the
lowest-lying coastal areas to move to higher ground, but he stopped
short of issuing a mandatory evacuation as he did for Sandy.
environmental workers and Army Corps of Engineers personnel, however,
planned to examine city coastal areas that suffered the worst erosion
during last week's storm to determine whether upgraded precautions were
The mayor also said police patrol cars would provide
loudspeaker warnings in the areas hit hardest by Sandy, including Staten
Island and the Rockaways.
"Even though it's not anywhere near as
strong as Sandy -- nor strong enough, in normal times, for us to
evacuate anybody -- out of precaution and because of the changing
physical circumstances, we are going to go to some small areas and ask
those people to go to higher ground," Bloomberg said.
utilities that had reduced a backlog of power outages from Sandy
acknowledged that the new storm could bring another round of service
In New Jersey, mandatory evacuations have been
issued for many shore towns for the second time in less than two weeks.
High winds, which could reach 65 mph, could extend inland throughout the
day, potentially stalling power restoration efforts or causing further
The Salvation Army says warm clothing and shelter are now
a growing need for displaced residents in addition to food and water,
but warned it may be forced to suspend its mobile feeding kitchens until
the storm clears.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency says
95,000 people are eligible for emergency housing assistance. In New
York, New Jersey and Connecticut, more than 277,000 people have
registered for general assistance, the agency said.
Meanwhile, the Weather Channel is duking it out with the National Weather Service over the storm's name:
Weather Channel has dubbed the nor'easter "Winter Storm Athena," the
first named storm of the network's new winter storm naming system.
However, the NWS released an official notice to its employees this morning:
Weather Channel has named the nor'easter 'Athena.' The National Weather
Service does not use named winter storms in our products. Please
refrain from using the name Athena in any of our products.