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Northeast US Braces for Historic Storm

- Andrea Germanos, staff writer

(Image taken 9:01 AM EST, Friday, Feb. 8 / NASA GOES Project) A potentially historic storm with blizzard conditions, dubbed "Nemo" by The Weather Channel, with possibilities of several feet of snow, power outages, high-force winds and coastal flooding continues to develop across the northeast on Friday.

"This is going to be a dangerous winter storm," said Alan Dunham, meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Taunton, Mass. "Wherever you need to get to, get there by Friday afternoon and don't plan on leaving."

Thousands of flights have been canceled due to the storm, and Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island and New York have all declared a state of emergency due to the storm.

Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick has also issued a motor vehicle travel ban starting at 4:00 PM Friday.

The Portland Press Herald reports that it could be the biggest snowstorm to hit parts of Maine since 1979, and the National Weather Service has predicted up to 30 inches of snow for Boston by Saturday morning, which would break the city's record 27.5" inches in the Feb. of 2003 storm. New York City may see up to a foot of snow.

Reuters reports that "several thousand customers lost power in New Jersey and points south, though officials warned the number was likely to rise as the snowfall got heavier and winds picked up."

Weather Underground co-founder and meteorologist Dr. Jeff Masters writes that some of the periods of intense snowfall may be accompanied by thunder and lightening. He adds that coastal wind speeds may reach 50 mph, with gusts potentially surging to a hurricane level of 74 mph.

Masters also points to "unusually warm" ocean temperatures as contributing to the intensity of the storm:

Cold, Arctic air spilling southwards behind a strong 1038 mb high over Canada will collide with warm, moist air over the Atlantic, where ocean temperatures are unusually warm--about 5°F warmer than average over a large swath from New Jersey to Nantucket, Massachusetts. The contrast between the cold and warm air will help intensify the storm, and the unusually warm waters will pump large quantities of moisture into the air, which will be capable of feeding record-breaking snows over New England.

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