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|March 22, 2018|
Triple whammy: Third nor'easter in 10 days looms
The third nor'easter in 10 days is expected to blast parts of the Northeast with snow, ice and heavy winds overnight Monday, threatening a fresh round of power outages and treacherous travel conditions.
The latest system affects about 49 million people from Tennessee through Maine. It dumped from 2 to 4 inches of snow across southern Illinois and Kentucky, including as much as 11 inches in the Lexington metropolitan area.
But forecasters warned the worst is yet to come.
John Kassell, an Ohio-based independent meteorologist, said models are showing "outrageous" frontogenesis — a term to describe the formation of an atmospheric front and can explain why heavy snowfall is occurring.
"With the impressive frontogenesis being modeled, 1 to 4 inches per hour snowfall rates would be possible with such a setup," Kassell told NBC News. "I would not say this is odd by any means. The atmosphere can do some crazy things."
Winter storm warnings are in place across parts of western Virginia and North Carolina, where 3 to 5 inches of snow are expected to accumulate Monday, with up to 8 inches possible in some isolated areas.
The system will also bring rains through parts of the mid-Atlantic through Monday.
The last time there was a quick succession of nor'easters was also when three formed over 10 days in late January and February 2015, according to National Weather Service forecaster David Roth, who keeps a database of such storms with high winds.
Kassell said that when a pattern setup locks for a period of time, "you can get cyclical weather patterns such as what the East Coast is experiencing."
As the storm barrels up the coast, New York and Philadelphia could get a couple inches of snow through Tuesday, although the rest of upstate New York, eastern Long Island and New England could see varying amounts of at least 6 inches, according to The Weather Channel.
By the evening commute, the snow could stretch from New Jersey up through New England, which could be walloped by near-blizzard conditions with 55-mph wind gusts.
Kassell said the I-95 corridor from southern New England northward appears to be a "good bet" for the heaviest snows. He said "intense and possible long-duration snowbands" could lead to a several-inch per hour snowfall rate on Tuesday morning in parts of Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts.
Boston could see up to a foot of snow and Cape Cod could be hammered with even more, while southern Maine could get 18 inches by Wednesday, forecasters said.
Meanwhile, strong winds have the potential to wreak havoc again in New England, bringing down already weathered trees and power lines. Coastal towns in Massachusetts are also recovering from devastating flooding from the first nor'easter on March 2, when at least nine people died.
Last Wednesday's nor'easter dropped as much as 2 feet of snow in some parts and cut electricity to more than 1 million people. At least two deaths were attributed to the storm.
Nor'easters typically begin as low-pressure storms with winds that blow northeast to southwest. They might form between September and April, and carry rain or snow and create coastal flooding.
And just because spring is looming, Roth added, doesn't mean another nor'easter is out of the question.
In April 2007, a particularly nasty nor'easter formed, raking the Carolinas to New England, killing at least 18 people, nearly canceling the Boston marathon and plunging tens of thousands into darkness. (Source: NBC News)
Story Date: March 13, 2018