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Palm Trees and Snowflakes - LEX18.com | Continuous News and StormTracker Weather

Palm Trees and Snowflakes

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A major winter storm is expected to impact the entire East Coast over the next two days. Parts of country where palm trees are more common are getting a taste of snow, and in potentially historic amounts. Snow starting falling this morning across northern Florida. Tallahassee picked 0.1" of snow - that's half Lexington's snowfall total so far this winter. The snow then began to spread through the coastal areas of Georgia and the Carolinas. Snow and ice forced the closure of the airports in Savannah and Charleston, SC. Some of these areas may be in a "milk and bread" situation for a couple of days until the roads are cleared.

Winter Storm Warnings are still up for the coastal areas of north Georgia through Virginia. Further inland Winter Storm Watches are in effect.

This winter storm is a Nor'easter. This type of winter storm because prevailing winds near the coast line are from the northeast. Nor'easters will track northward along the East Coast. That's just what this storm will do through Thursday. Along the way it will dump several inches of snow along the I-95 corridor and across New England.The Nor'easter is expected to rapidly intensify through the night as it skirts the Mid-Atlantic states. Washington D.C., eastern PA, and parts of Upstate New York are under Winter Storm Watches. Meanwhile, Philadelphia and New York City are under Warning Storm Warnings. Blizzard Warnings also run from southern Virginia through southern New Jersey and Long Island.

New England is expected to feel the brunt of this winter storm on Thursday. Blizzard Warnings will be in effect for the coastal areas of  Maine and Massachusetts, including Boston. This Nor'easter is expected to "bomb" out by Thursday afternoon just off the coast of New England.

You may have heard the terms "bomb cyclone" and "bombogenesis" thrown around when talking about this Nor'easter. This doesn't mean that residents of New England should duck and cover. These are terms in the vernacular of winter storm forecasting.

A cyclone's strength depends on its air pressure. The lower the pressure, the stronger the storm. We measure air pressure in inches of mercury or millibars. In order for a storm to "bomb" out, it must rapidly intensify - on the order of at least 24 millibars in 24 hours. A bombed cyclone will also produce significant snowfall accumulation and the potential for wicked winds, that may lead to blizzard conditions.

(Image courtesy of NOAA)

The Nor'easter that is currently tracking along the East Coast will be a true "bomb" by Thursday afternoon. Currently forecast models show the central pressure dropping 50 millibars over the next 24 hours. (Yikes!) 

 - Meteorologist Jill Szwed

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