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East Coast Storm Impacts: Power Outages to Flooding

UPDATED 2:15 PM EST, March 5, 2013

UPDATED By WeatherBug Meteorologist, Chad Merrill

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A major late-season winter storm is on target to bring heavy snow to the Mid-Atlantic later tonight and Wednesday before eyeing eastern New England on Thursday. Ultimately, it will have far-reaching impacts in the highly populated Mid-Atlantic and Northeast, from travel to power outages and coastal flooding at the beaches.

Here is a list of the likely effects:

Power Outages:

The heavy, wet snow combined with gusty northeasterly to northerly winds will be capable of producing widespread power outages across the Mid-Atlantic on Wednesday. Cities such as Baltimore and Washington, D.C., as well as their highly-populated western and northern suburbs will see widespread outages. The heaviest snow will blanket the Interstate 81 corridor with residents from Hagerstown, Md., to Roanoke, Va., likely to see numerous outages as the day unfolds.

The snow will spread north and east to the Mid-Atlantic Coast and up the Interstate 95 corridor overnight Wednesday into Thursday. A few inches of heavy, wet snow combined with increasing northeast winds could put some residents in the dark from Philadelphia to Boston and along the coast from Salisbury, Md., to Cape Cod, Mass.

Roads:

Roads will likely become snow-covered late tonight into Wednesday across the Mid-Atlantic as the snow rates increase. Interstates 70 and 81 in northern Maryland will likely be the first to experience this, followed by the major arteries around and through the Washington, D.C., and Baltimore areas, including both cities beltways overnight tonight into the morning rush Wednesday.

Travel will then become slippery from eastern Pennsylvania to eastern Massachusetts late Wednesday into Thursday as the storm pushes north and east. Interstate 95 will be the biggest challenge in Philadelphia, New York City, Hartford, Conn., and Boston. East of Interstate 95, heavy rain initially could cause ponding of water on roadways. Remember, if you approach a flooded roadway, it`s best to "Turn Around, Don`t Drown."

Here is a look at what should be included in your Winter Survival Kit if you become stranded in the heavy snow and high winds.

Airports:

Flights into and out of BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport, Reagan National, and Dulles International may experience delays and cancellations on later tonight and Wednesday. Air travel along the Interstate 95 corridor north of Baltimore, including Philadelphia International Airport, La Guardia Airport, John F. Kennedy International and Logan International Airport in Boston could also see a burst of snow along with high winds developing on Thursday that could cause interruptions with scheduled flights. Most airlines servicing the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic have revised their ticket policies to allow fliers to change their travel plans without incurring additional fees.

Airlines typically cancel flights well in advance to stay ahead of a storm, and to avoid having planes, staff, and passengers snowed in at airports, so flights departing Mid-Atlantic airports as soon as Tuesday night could be cancelled. If you have flight plans that go through any of these airports, please check with your airline for the latest information on flight cancellations and ticket policies.

Rail and Public Transportation:

Public mass transportation services could shut down due to the combination of heavy snow and gusty winds on Wednesday. This could impact Amtrak, bus services, and other mass transit operations in Baltimore and Washington, D.C. Trains, bus service and mass transit services from Philadelphia to Boston would mainly be impacted on Thursday. It might take until the end of the work week for rail and transit to get back up to a normal operating schedule because of the amount of snow clean-up and power failures possible throughout the Mid-Atlantic and eastern New England.

Coastal Flooding:

As the low pressure organizes and deepens off the southern Mid-Atlantic Coast and then steers northeast, it will send downpours onto the coast from southeastern Virginia to southeastern Massachusetts Wednesday and early Thursday. Two inches or more will pelt places like the shoreline from Ocean City, Md., to Cape Cod, Mass. In addition, sustained Northeast winds at 25 to 35 mph with gusts approaching 50 mph will cause flooding along the coast and beach erosion as well. Places like Ocean City, Md., Atlantic City, N.J., Long Island, N.Y., and Cape Cod, Mass., will likely see the brunt of the coastal flooding.

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