What is a nor'easter?

CNN's Jennifer Gray explains what defines a storm as a nor'easter -- and it's not as simple as the storm hitting the Northeast.

Posted: Oct 28, 2018 8:21 AM
Updated: Oct 28, 2018 8:30 AM

The East Coast is expected to be pounded by the season's first nor'easter this weekend -- helped by remnant moisture from the former Hurricane Willa -- setting up a few days of heavy rain, strong winds and possibly some coastal flooding, forecasters say.

Tracking the nor'easter

Rain of 1 to 3 inches is possible from the mid-Atlantic to the Northeast from Friday into Sunday night, and about 16 million people are under coastal flood warnings in New Jersey, New York and Connecticut.

Wind gusts may hit 60 mph Saturday in eastern Long Island, Cape Cod and Massachusetts' islands. Scattered power outages are possible over much of the region.

"Go find the best book you can download and get ready for this weekend, because it is going to be a windy, windy, cold weekend in the Northeast," CNN meteorologist Chad Myers said Friday.

Because the air will be relatively warm -- weekend highs in the Northeast will be in the 40s and 50s -- this nor'easter will be more about wind and rain than snow. But several inches of snow could accumulate in the higher elevations of upstate New York, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine.

Developing low pressure was running up the East Coast on Friday morning, spreading rain in Georgia, the Carolinas and mid-Atlantic states. That low pressure is expected to continue to deepen, yielding the nor'easter.

The system will draw from remnant moisture from Willa, which dissipated over northeastern Mexico earlier this week, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said.

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