Residents along the East Coast on Friday hunkered down as heavy rain and gusting winds began pummeling states from Maine to Virginia.
The nor’easter was predicted to bring damaging winds – up to hurricane strength in some areas – along the Atlantic through Friday, according to the National Weather Service, which issued numerous severe-weather warnings and advisories lasting into Saturday.
Portions of New York state saw more than a foot of snow Thursday night, while heavy rain was predicted for coastal areas from New Jersey to eastern Massachusetts, the Weather Service said, as it warned of coastal and inland flooding.
“Widespread high wind speeds will persist through the late morning and afternoon hours today as the system moves offshore the East Coast,” the Weather Service said. “Inland flooding from excessive rainfall and coastal flooding from high seas/storm surge will impact much of the area from New Jersey to Massachusetts.”
In Massachusetts, Gov. Charlie Baker (R) warned residents Thursday night that the storm was shaping up to be more severe than the “bomb cyclone” that caused massive flooding in the state’s shoreline communities on Jan. 4.
“If you live in an area that is told to evacuate, we strongly encourage you do so first thing Friday AM,” Baker tweeted Thursday night. “Staying in homes that are in flood prone areas puts you & first responders at risk.”
Coastal Massachusetts was set to bear the brunt of the storm, with hurricane-strength winds in excess of 70 mph predicted for several areas in Cape Cod.
Michelle Shaffer, 45, told the Associated Press she evacuated her coastal town of Hull, Massachusetts on Thursday night, in part because she lost her appliances under five feet of water during the last big storm.
“I have a new washer, and my boyfriend just built a wooden platform for it. We got a couple of sump pumps,” Shaffer told the AP. “This storm is going to be worse because it’s going over three high tides.”
In the Washington area, high winds wreaked havoc on the Friday morning commute. More than 100,000 customers were left without power in the D.C. region after Thursday night, and numerous downed trees were reported in local neighborhoods and roads.
The Office of Personnel Management announced that all federal offices in the D.C. area would be closed Friday. Nearly two dozen area school districts canceled classes, and Smithsonian museums and zoo were closed for the day.
As of Friday morning, dozens of scheduled flights out of New York, Boston and Washington airports had been delayed or canceled.
The snow and rain were predicted to taper off by late Friday or Saturday morning as the storm system drifted farther out into the Atlantic Ocean, the Weather Service said.
(c) 2018, The Washington Post · Amy B Wang