Cold installed in the eastern third of the United States for the past 10 days. But the most severe winter weather yet will assault the area late this week. By Thursday, an exploding storm like a winter hurricane will be battering New England with potentially damaging winds in addition to blinding snow.
Forecasters are expecting the storm to become a so-called “bomb cyclone” because its pressure is predicted to fall fast, an indicator of explosive strengthening. By the time the storm reaches the ocean waters east of Long Island and eastern New England on Thursday, it will be explosively intensifying. The storm’s central pressure will have fallen 53 millibars in just 24 hours — an astonishing rate of intensification. 11 people are dead from cold until now on the East coast.
Freezing rain, sleet and snow will smother parts of the Southeast on Wednesday. Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal issued a state of emergency Tuesday for 28 coastal counties ahead of the storm. Many schools canceled classes and government offices closed across the Florida Panhandle and along the entire east coast shoreline. The frigid temperatures led to temporary closures at water parks in Florida and prompted authorities to open dozens of emergency shelters. Florida Department of Agriculture spokesman Aaron Keller said the cold weather could be endangering crops such as citrus, peppers and strawberries. Forecasters warned about possible snow on the beach and high winds that could knock down power lines and palm trees coated in ice and snow.