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Tens of millions under winter storm watches ahead of weekend nor'easter

On Thursday morning, 33 million were under winter storm watches from Eastern North Carolina to New England.
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The governor of Virginia declared a state of emergency, and other states were urging precautions Thursday ahead of a weekend winter storm that could dump a half-foot of snow in New York City.

Forecasters for New York City stressed that things could change, but said Thursday night that “confidence is increasing” for a strong storm system and estimated around 10 inches of snow.

The winter storm is expected to start Friday evening. Winter storm watches covered the East Coast from northeastern North Carolina to Maine on Thursday night.

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin on Thursday declared a state of emergency and urged residents to stay off the roads if possible.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul directed state agencies to prepare emergency response resources, and New Jersey emergency management officials said residents should be prepared.

The National Weather Service for New York City said there could be 5 to 10 inches of snow in the city and 10 to 15 inches on Long Island, but it noted there was still uncertainty with forecasts.

The weather service in Wakefield, Virginia, said there was “medium to high likelihood” that Eastern Virginia, including the Delmarva Peninsula, could get at least 6 inches of snow.

Philadelphia was forecast to see between 4 to 6 inches of snow, the weather service said.

Storm timing

The snow is expected to begin late Friday along the East Coast as the storm intensifies off the coast. Through the night, the coastal low is expected to rapidly intensify over the Atlantic, increasing the risk for strong winds and coastal flooding along the coast.

The impact will be highest Saturday, with heavy snow and strong winds expected, especially for locations from eastern Long Island, New York, up through coastal New England.

According to forecasts Thursday, snow is most likely to end by early afternoon from Philadelphia to New York and around midnight in Boston. All snow will be off Maine by early Sunday.

Areas most likely to experience significant and high-impact snow events included eastern Long Island up through southern New England (including Cape Cod, Massachusetts) to Maine. They are the regions most likely to get a foot of snow or more and the highest wind gusts leading to potential blizzard conditions.

The National Weather Service in Boston outlined the potential for total snow accumulations of 8 to 17 inches and winds that could gust up to 60 mph, especially on Cape Cod.

As forecast models continued to converge, meteorologists stressed that snow forecasts still had low confidence as of Thursday morning and that adjustments would be possible. They emphasized monitoring the forecast for subsequent updates.

Forecasters said the zone of highest uncertainty was along the Interstate 95 corridor, especially New York City and points south.

In addition to a nor'easter, the weekend will also feature very cold arctic temperatures that will spill all the way to South Florida.

On Thursday morning, 9 million people were under wind chill advisories across parts of the interior Northeast and New England. Wind chills were as cold as 15 to 30 degrees below zero.

High temperatures were expected to moderate slightly on Thursday and Friday afternoon, but cold weather was expected to continue into the weekend.

The coldest temperatures are expected Sunday morning, when lows across much of Florida will dip into the 30s and wind chills could be in the 20s. Miami was forecast to dip to a low of around 40 degrees, with wind chills in the upper 30s.

If Miami’s low Sunday drops to 39, that will be the coldest day since December 2010.