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A major snowstorm is expected to blanket the Northeast this weekend

A man walks dogs through the snow in Brooklyn during a nor'easter in February 2021.
Justin Heiman
Getty Images
A man walks dogs through the snow in Brooklyn during a nor'easter in February 2021.

A major winter storm known as a nor'easter is expected to bring strong winds, heavy snow and possible coastal flooding to the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic beginning Friday, the National Weather Service reports.

The National Weather Service is tracking the storm's development and has issued winter storm watches for Friday evening through Saturday evening for Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland. The storm will bring the potential for blizzard conditions and is expected to see the most significant snowfall Friday evening, with some lighter snow possible that afternoon. Forecasters say it is still too soon to know how much total snow will fall across the region, but major impacts are expected.

"It has been a live-or-die-by-every-model-timestep sort of night here at the office. And what the models give, they also take away, which basically describes the model variability we have seen the past couple of days," the NWS wrote in its forecast Thursday morning.

Powerful winds will be a big factor of the storm, likely producing gusts of up to 30 or 40 mph, witheven higher gusts possible in higher elevations or along the coast, forecasters warn.

Depending on the winter storm's development over the next two days, impacts could be felt farther south along the East Coast and into North Carolina.

Because the storm is difficult to fully forecast, the National Weather Servicepoints out that snow or ice totals can vary greatly over short distances, making it essential to check for frequent updates to stay safe.

Nor'easters are big storms notorious for dropping significant snowfall in a short period of time, often causing power outages and transportation disruptions.Past nor'easters have caused billions of dollars in damage, brought severe disruptions, and in some cases, caused disastrous coastal flooding.

They often strike along the 1-95 corridor, the heavily populated region between Washington, D.C., and Boston, and their strongest coastal winds typically blow from the northeast, which is where their name comes from.

This story originally appeared in the Morning Edition live blog.

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Nell Clark
Nell Clark is an editor at Morning Edition and a writer for NPR's Live Blog. She pitches stories, edits interviews and reports breaking news. She started in radio at campus station WVFS at Florida State University, then covered climate change and the aftermath of Hurricane Michael for WFSU in Tallahassee, Fla. She joined NPR in 2019 as an intern at Weekend All Things Considered. She is proud to be a member of NPR's Peer-to-Peer Trauma Support Team, a network of staff trained to support colleagues dealing with trauma at work. Before NPR, she worked as a counselor at a sailing summer camp and as a researcher in a deep-sea genetics lab.