As relief efforts continue for the thousands of Northeasterners impacted by Superstorm Sandy, a new storm on Wednesday threatens to bring chilly temperatures and even snow to the wearied low lying coastal areas where residents are just beginning to pick up the pieces from the damage of last week.
The National Weather Service is warning that the nor’easter could bring high winds of up to 60 mph, rain and possible flooding, in addition to a very real danger from falling limbs from trees already beaten down by the previous superstorm.
The unnamed storm is moving up along the Atlantic coast from Florida and is set to join with a weather system moving East from the Midwest but some forecasters project the storm could veer offshore, which would be a welcome relief to the battered coast.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie warned that the severe weather could mean residents who just had their power restored, could once again be living without electricity.
There is “nothing we can do to stop the storms”, he said.
Similarly, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said some residents living in neighborhoods at risk of flooding will be encouraged to relocate until the storm passes.
In a press conference on Tuesday, Michael Bloomberg warned the city would be “on a high wind watch and coastal flood watch beginning Wednesday morning through late Wednesday night”.
The mayor projected the city could receive an inch of rain, which could turn to sleet and even possibly snow.
“Keep in mind, these are forecasts and forecasts, as we know, change as you get closer to the event,” he added.
Though there are no forced evacuations, he said New York police will be patrolling at risk areas to encourage the elderly and families with children to evacuate.
“We can expect winds of up to 25 to 35 mph and gusts rising to 45 to 55 mph, with the highest winds occurring late Wednesday afternoon and Wednesday night,” he continued, adding that the strong winds will make it feel around 10 degrees colder than the listed temperature.
The city will close all parks, playgrounds and beaches, given the threat of falling tree branches, he added.
Travelers flying to and from the East Coast will also experience delays and cancellations.
United Airlines announced on Tuesday afternoon that it will suspend most service to and from the New York area between noon Wednesday and noon Thursday due to the winter storm.
Storm surges along the coasts of New Jersey and New York are expected to reach 3 feet, only half to a third of what Hurricane Sandy caused last week, National Weather Service meteorologist Lauren Masters said.
Coastal Virginia could also get a surge of 2 or 3 feet, causing minor flooding on the east side of Chesapeake Bay during high tides on Wednesday morning and evening, he said.
However, most of the storm’s rain will stay offshore.
Up to an inch of snow may fall in northeastern New Jersey and the lower Hudson River valley, weather service meteorologist Mike Layer said.
Central Massachusetts and western Connecticut also could get an inch or two of snow, according to Masters.
Along the Jersey shore, which was devastated by last week’s superstorm, there was some relief that damage projections from the nor’easter have been scaled back.
But there was still concern about the ocean barreling past beaches and dunes that were largely washed away.