The National Weather Service has issued blizzard warnings from the Maine-New Brunswick border all the way down to the New Jersey shoreline. Affected major cities include Portland, Boston, Hartford, and New York City.
Snowfall accumulations may total in excess of two feet in these regions, coupled with high winds, white out conditions, and a storm surge more characteristic of a tropical storm or hurricane.
Final Update 28-Jan-2015 11:30 AM EST:
Winter Storm Juno that severely impacted areas of New England is finally winding down. Some areas experienced blizzard conditions for fourteen hours. The storm also brought coastal flooding and 25-feet-high waves battered beaches and any structures close to it. Winds topped 78 miles per hours in parts of Massachusetts.
New York, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Connecticut had the highest local snowfalls with totals that exceeded 30 inches.
A few snowfall totals for comparison:
- 32 inches in Nashua and 30 inches in Litchfield, NH.
- 30 inches in Putnam and 33 inches in Thompson, CT.
- 27.4 inches in Portland and 24 inches in Wells, ME.
- 36 inches in Lunenberg and Auburn, MA.
- 30 inches in Orient, but just 10 in Central Park, NY.
Update 27-Jan-2015 2:30 EST: Juno will continue to add snow to regions in New England for the rest of the afternoon and into the evening. Long Island has seen coastal flooding and received more than 28 inches of snow, while Central Park had received 8 inches. Farmington, MA and other areas in Massachusetts have already topped 30 inches. Boston is digging out from under 21 inches and more is coming.
Other states with the potential for substantial impact include Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware. Airport closures are likely and as of 10 EST, more than 7000 flights have already been canceled. Nearly five inches of snow has already fallen in Central Park and parts of New Jersey.
Update 27-Jan-2015 2:30 EST: According to Flightaware, the number of cancellations is 5,119 with 2,139 delays.
Hurricane-force wind warnings are in effect for Cape Cod with gusts exceeding 80 MPH over water. All boats and vessels are advised to stay in port. Most of the coastline in the storm-affected area has the potential for flooding with a storm-surge as high as four feet during the Tuesday afternoon high tide and after midnight Tuesday evening. Coastal flood warnings have been issued. High waves over 25 feet are also likely.
Travel will become impossible in many areas and NWS is warning travelers to postpone or cancel their plans. Connecticut has issued a ban on travel.
Widespread power outages are possible on Long Island all through the coast of Maine, with National Grid predicting as many as 400,000 people to lose power, some for as long as a week.
Update 27-Jan-2015 2:30 EST: National Grid has deployed 850 utility crews and 380 tree crews. By early this morning, there were already more than 22,000 outages. Electric utilities are hampered by high winds which prevent workers from accessing lines.
Winter Storm Juno is expected to affect as many as 28 million people.
A blizzard is a combination of snow and high wind which combine to cause disorientation in those attempting to navigate through the storm. In a blizzard, the wind-blown snow makes it difficult for a person to see where they are going. They have no point of reference because roads, buildings, and other landmarks disappear into the snow.
These factors make travel extremely hazardous. Those walking cannot determine what direction they should walk, and drivers often cannot make out the difference between road, sky, horizon, or where the ditch is. It becomes easy to walk in the wrong direction or drive into obstructions and other hazards because they cannot be discerned in wind-driven snow.
The safest course of action in a blizzard is stay indoors. Even walking from a house to an outbuilding is dangerous, as the person could become disoriented and lost in the snow.
Storm Related Outages
Power outages in blizzards are often related to trees that fall on power lines and also when those lines become coated with ice. The very heavy snowfall and high winds can damage power lines and equipment.
Winter outages are especially dangerous because without power, most homes also lose their heating capability. If the temperature inside the home drops below freezing, waters pipes can freeze and burst. When power is restored and the house warms, those frozen pipes thaw and the resulting torrent is a devastating flood.
Warning: Never run a portable generator or any internal combustion engine inside your home. Deadly carbon monoxide in the exhaust can accumulate to dangerous levels in minutes.
Freezing or near-freezing temperatures in a home are especially dangerous the young and elderly, but people can also lose their lives in fires when they attempt to provide heat with a gas range.
The primary defense that homeowners can use to guard against the effects of a power outage is a standby generator, like the 20 kilowatt Briggs & Stratton model 40346 that includes an automatic transfer switch with Symphony II Power Management.
When a blizzard like Winter Storm Juno knocks out the power, the transfer switch automatically senses the outage and starts the standby generator automatically. The transfer switch seamlessly makes the transition to generator power while isolating the unit from the utility lines.
Within a few seconds, power is restored to the home. Lights, sump pumps, furnaces, and even your electric blanket will all operate to keep you warm, comfortable, and without having to worry when the utility crews will make it out to restore power.
The Briggs & Stratton 20kW generator features the Vanguard engine, well-known for its reliability and capable of operating on either natural gas or LP gas (propane). Installation is as close as 18 inches to your home (subject to local codes) and comes with a four-year limited consumer warranty.
Image: Near White Out in Minnesota by Googleaseerch licensed under CC 3.0.