Snowy ‘bomb cyclone’ hits Northeast, forces thousands of flight cancellations

(ABC/WRIC) — Nearly 3,000 U.S. flights have been canceled Thursday as a powerful storm hits the Northeast, packing heavy snow, gusty winds and the coldest air of the season.

“A powerful Nor’easter will move north along the east coast through Thursday,” the National Weather Service said in a statement to ABC News. “Reinforcing arctic air and gusty winds will sweep in behind the Nor’easter for the coldest wind chills of the season in many eastern locations.”

U.S. airlines canceled more than 2,850 flights in and out of the United States Wednesday and delayed about 150 others, according to airline tracking firm FlightAware. Most of the cancellations were in New Jersey, Boston and New York.

Richmond International Airport (RIC) had several cancellations and delays, as Metro Richmond received 1 to 2 inches. (Click here to view all RIC cancellations and delays.)

Amtrak’s Northeast Regional service between Washington, D.C. and Newport News/Norfolk, is also canceled for Thursday.

According to ABC News, major cities along the East Coast — from North Carolina to Maine — were under blizzard warnings, while others were placed under winter storm warnings.

The storm has already brought record snowfall to cities like Tallahassee, Florida, where residents got the most snow since 2010, and Charleston, South Carolina, which received more than 5 inches of snow, breaking a record that had stood since 1989.

“This will be a rapidly strengthening storm that is expected to produce strong winds and minor to moderate coastal flooding,” the National Weather Service said Wednesday, after warning that the storm could result in downed trees and power outages along the East Coast.

Snowfall in Boston should let up this evening, while the areas surrounding New York City should get some relief by midnight, meteorologists said.

But winds are expected to pick up as the storm picks up off the coast of New England and “bombs out,” meteorologists said, referring to the so-called bombogenesis, which occurs when a storm system undergoes a quick drop in atmospheric pressure and strengthens.

Wind gusts are forecast to come in between 40 to 60 mph along most parts of the East Coast this afternoon, but some areas, including Atlantic City, New Jersey, could see gusts above 70 mph.

Separately, the coldest air of the season is forecast to spill from Canada into the eastern United States, bringing wind chills down to as low as 1 degree in some major cities, including Washington, D.C., and New York City today.

The worst of the cold will be in the Northeast Friday morning, when wind chills are forecast to hit the minus 40s in New England.


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