Back-to-back blasts of bitter Arctic air from Canada are expected to power high winds and heavy snow from the Corn Belt to New England this weekend followed by an ice storm that could paralyze travelers in the Ohio Valley and Northeast.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy declared a state of emergency beginning at noon on Saturday and Amtrak cancelled some train service along the storm’s path Saturday and Sunday.
Heavy snow, with blizzard-like conditions, could leave from 30 to 40 inches of snow in parts of New England.
The National Weather service says the first strong surge of Canadian air over the Plains will re-energize a storm system coming out of the Rockies.
The heaviest snow on Friday is forecast for South Dakota, Nebraska, Minnesota, Kansas, Missouri and Iowa, setting up the bitter march to New England.
“The storm is expected to become quite intense on Sunday as its center passes near or just south of New York City,” the National Weather Service says. “Conditions over interior New England could approach blizzard criteria as the storm brings very strong northerly winds together with heavy snow. “
Airlines: Flight cancellations begin as new storm strengthens
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The second punch of cold air on Sunday is expected to drive down temperatures from the Central Plains to the Northeast, falling in many areas 15 to 25 degrees below normal.
Forecasters warn that rapidly falling temperatures will turn slush and standing water on roads and highways into treacherous passageways. paralyzing travel in many areas.
Amtrak said it was was modifying service in the Northeast and Midwest, including canceling the Saturday’s Capitol Limited, from Chicago to Washington, and the Lake Shoe Limited, from Chicago to New York.
On Sunday, five Acela trains and six Northeast Regional trains will not operate between New York and Boston. Six Keystone trains are canceled between New York and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
Two Pennsylvanian trains are canceled between New York and Pittsburgh. Two Vermonter trains on Sunday will not run between St. Albans, Vermont, and New Haven, Connecticut.
With cold air reaching as far south as Alabama, temperatures in the hardest hit areas are expected to plunge from the 40s to near freezing on Sunday and then into the single digits and teens on Sunday night.
Forecasters warn of significant ice accumulations in the Ohio Valley and New England.
In that first blast, AccuWeather says up to 40 inches of snow is likely in parts of northern New England, with close to 30 inches of snow likely in parts of central and northern New York to perhaps the northern tier of Pennsylvania.
Key interstate highways near the Canadian border from west of Syracuse, New York, to East of Bangor, Maine, are especially vulnerable.
AccuWeather senior meteorlogist Alex Sosnowski warns that anyone on the roads through the heart of the snow area risk becoming stranded for many hours with temperatures plummeting to life-threatening low levels.