Blizzard Watches Issued as Powerful Snowstorm Moves Closer

Large swaths of the tri-state will be under blizzard watches this weekend as a powerful nor'easter swirls up the coastline, bringing severe winds, coastal flooding and snow with it, Storm Team 4 says.

The season’s first big storm is expected to begin its slide up the east coast overnight Friday, dropping serious wintry precipitation along with it. By the time the storm moves through the tri-state this weekend, Storm Team 4 says it could bring heavy snowfall, winds above 35 mph and a treacherous storm surge that could batter the region's beachfront communities.

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Blizzard watches were issued Thursday for all of New York City, Long Island, and large swaths of New Jersey from Saturday morning until Sunday afternoon. A blizzard is defined as a wintry storm lasting longer than 3 hours with visibility below a quarter mile and winds gusting above 35 mph.

The worst of the storm, initially forecast to wallop the New York City with snow topping 1 foot, has been trending southward toward Washington, D.C., and the surrounding states, where 2 feet of snow is possible.

Storm Team 4 says that current models suggest the storm could drop between 6 and 12 inches of snow on the city, Long Island and the Jersey shore, with lighter snowfall further inland.

Central New Jersey could see the highest snowfall totals — above a foot — while parts of the Jersey Shore could see a treacherous cocktail of snow, astronomical high tides and a wind-swept storm surge that could cause significant coastal flooding and beach erosion. Waves topping 15 to 20 feet may form.

Long Island, meanwhile, could see similar conditions but with winds gusting as high as 60 mph. Off the shore, swells and waves topping 18 feet could be observed.
There will be a sharp cutoff of snow to the north, with little to no snow expected in the Hudson Valley and Catskills.

The storm is expected to move into the region from south to north early Saturday. Snowfall will begin in New Jersey while most people are sleeping, and flakes could start falling in New York City between 6 and 8 a.m. The snowfall will pick up in intensity as the day progresses, and snow will be accumulating by noon.

Areas closest to the coasts could see the heaviest snow, though beachfront communities could see a wintry mix.

Mayor de Blasio addressed the upcoming storm Thursday morning, and urged New Yorkers to stay off of the streets and to use mass transit rather than drive during the storm.

"579 salt spreaders will be pre-deployed on Friday evening, and we have 303,000 tons of rock salt on hand," the mayor said as he stood in front of a salt storage structure in Manhattan's West Village.

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