The Blizzard of 2018 is forecast to explode off of the US east coast later today and tomorrow, pounding the northeastern United States with heavy snow and damaging winds; ahead of the storms arrival, the National Weather Service has been busy issuing watches and warnings for much of the east coast.
Life-threatening blizzard conditions are expected in New England; travel will become impossible and conditions will become extremely dangerous. As a result, Blizzard Warnings have been issued across a large area of the northeast. Blizzard Warnings have been issued by the National Weather Service for 1am tonight through 1am Friday for coastal Essex and portions of southeastern Massachusetts, including Block Island in Rhode Island. Blizzard Warnings are also up from noon Thursday to 1am Friday for coastal New Hampshire and coastal southwest Maine. Blizzard Warnings are also up from noon Thursday through 7am Friday for southern Penobscot, Hancock, and Washington Counties in Maine.
In the Blizzard Warning areas, winds will gust 40-70mph. Blowing and drifting snow will reduce visibility to near zero; it is in these whiteout conditions people outside can become disoriented. Do not travel in Blizzard Warning areas during the Blizzard Warning times. A Blizzard Warning means severe winter weather conditions are expected or are occurring. If you must travel, have a winter survival kit with you. If you get stranded, stay with your vehicle. The latest road conditions for the state you are calling from can be obtained by calling 5 1 1.
Due to the intensity of forecast winds from this blizzard, widespread power outages are expected within the Blizzard Warning areas and beyond. Plan for the worst and hope for the best; make sure you have ample, safe heat should your power failure. Also make sure you have enough supplies if roads become impassable for many days. Heavy snow and deep drifts of snow will take time, sometimes measured in days, to clear.
The National Weather Service has also expanded Winter Storm Warnings along a large area of the east coast. They are in effect from Florida to Massachusetts. In addition to heavy snow along the northern two thirds of the warning area, accumulating ice is also possible in the southern warning areas. In places like Florida and Georgia, ice may accumulate with the snow, making travel impossible in areas that have no ability to plow for snow nor treat roads for snow and ice. Travel may be impossible for an extended period of time in the southeastern US starting later this morning.
Away from the coast, the National Weather Service has also issued a slew of Winter Weather Advisories. A Winter Weather Advisory for snow and blowing snow means periods of snow and blowing snow will cause primarily travel difficulties. Be prepared for snow covered roads and limited visibilities, and use caution while driving. But even inland, there is the risk of wind related damage which could knock down tree limbs or even whole trees. Even if not much snow is expected in some areas, the wind will make conditions worse.