Winter Storm Kenan, a Major Nor'easter Packing Blizzard Conditions, Takes Aim at the East Coast
Winter Storm Kenan, a Major Nor'easter Packing Blizzard Conditions, Takes Aim at the East Coast

By Weather.com Meteorologists

Winter Storm Kenan is set to pummel parts of the East Coast with heavy snow and strong winds, including blizzard conditions that will cripple travel in some areas.

Blizzard warnings are in effect from the southern Delmarva Peninsula to eastern New Jersey, central and eastern Long Island, southeast Connecticut, Rhode Island, eastern Massachusetts, coastal New Hampshire, coastal and eastern Maine. Boston, Providence, Portland, Maine, and Atlantic City, New Jersey, are among the locations in these warnings.

Winter storm warnings and winter weather advisories are in effect for many other areas along the East Coast as far south as northern South Carolina. New York City, Hartford, Philadelphia and Norfolk, Virginia, are included in the winter storms warnings for a combination of significant snowfall and strong winds.

Travel should be avoided in any of the blizzard and winter storm warnings areas later Friday night through Saturday.

(From the National Weather Service.)

This winter storm is producing light snow from the Ohio Valley into the interior Northeast right now, but it is still in its early stages of development.

Low pressure will strengthen rapidly as it tracks off the East Coast through Saturday in response to an upper-level disturbance moving through the eastern United States. That will allow Winter Storm Kenan to become a “bomb cyclone” – a term meteorologists use for a low-pressure system associated with fronts with a central pressure that plunges at least 24 millibars in 24 hours or less. A storm with a lower pressure is stronger.

Below is our latest forecast timing followed by a breakdown of the snow totals as well as more details on the wind and coastal flood threats. Check back with us at weather.com and The Weather Channel app for important updates.

(MORE: Forecast Nor’easter Impacts)

Storm Timing

Friday Night

Kenan will begin its intensification phase off the Southeast and mid-Atlantic coasts Friday night.

Snow will spread up much of the mid-Atlantic and Northeast coastlines through the overnight hours. That snow has the potential to be heavier in some areas and travel should be avoided.

Winds will also increase near parts of the Eastern Seaboard, and high surf will begin to build.

Rain will change to snow for a time as far south as the Carolinas, including areas affected last weekend by Winter Storm Jasper.

Saturday

Kenan will reach its peak intensity off the New England coast.

Heavy snow, high winds and coastal flooding will hammer southern and eastern New England and Long Island. Snowfall rates of 1 to 4 inches per hour are expected in the most intense snowbands over eastern New England.

This snow will gradually diminish in Long Island and southern New England Saturday night, but will continue in Maine and parts of New Hampshire.

At least moderate to locally heavy snowfall will also fall from the New York City tri-state into the Delmarva Peninsula and Virginia Tidewater before ending Saturday afternoon.

Poor visibility from blowing snow is expected where accumulating snow overlaps with the stronger winds along the East Coast. Blizzard conditions are most likely in areas under blizzard warnings.

Sunday

Snow should have tapered off in most areas by Sunday morning.

Temperatures will be cold in the wake of the storm. Wind chills will be in the frigid single digits above and below zero to start the day since it will remain breezy.

(MAPS: Forecast Temperatures)

Snow, Wind, Coastal Flood Forecast

Snowfall

The heaviest snow from Kenan will be in eastern New England. At least a foot of snow is likely from eastern Massachusetts, Rhode Island and eastern Connecticut to parts of coastal Maine, shaded in darkest purple and pink in the map below. Some areas could see totals of up to 2 feet, including in the Boston metro area, where Kenan could be one of the city’s all-time heaviest snowstorms.

Heavier snow amounts of at least 6 inches are also possible farther south near the coast from the New York City metro area to the Delmarva Peninsula.

There may be a sharp gradient between heavy snow and much lighter amounts on the storm’s western fringe from, for instance, western Long Island to the northwest suburbs of the New York City tri-state, the Jersey shore to eastern Pennsylvania and from the Delmarva Peninsula to the western suburbs of Washington, D.C.

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Wind Threat

The strongest winds in this storm will likely impact southeastern New England, where gusts as high as 70 mph are possible. Other areas from the New York tri-state area southward through the coastal mid-Atlantic could see gusts between 30 to 50 mph.

High winds in some coastal areas will be strong enough to knock out power and cause tree damage, especially in eastern and southern New England. The threat of at least some power outages might extend as far south as Long Island and the coastal mid-Atlantic.

Coastal Flooding

Coastal flooding, high surf and beach erosion are threats for much of the East Coast, from North Carolina to New England.

There are two high tides of concern on Saturday, generally in the early morning hours and then again between late afternoon and early evening, depending on the specific location. High astronomical tides are in place this weekend, which could act to worsen those threats.

Right now, the National Weather Service says at least minor coastal flooding is possible in these areas, but there could be pockets of moderate coastal flooding, especially in southeastern New England.

The Weather Company’s primary journalistic mission is to report on breaking weather news, the environment and the importance of science to our lives. This story does not necessarily represent the position of our parent company, IBM.

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