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Winter storm hitting the East Coast could produce 4 inches of snow an hour


More than a foot of snow has already fallen in parts of New Jersey as the fourth major storm of this month hits the eastern seaboard. More than 2 feet is expected to fall in New England. Also, high winds and coastal flooding are expected. More than 5,000 flights have been canceled, train service disrupted. States of emergency have been declared by the governors of five states. And the - New York's governor, Kathy Hochul, also suggested people just, quote, "sit home with a six-pack of beer and wait it out." Cocoa is warmer. Meteorologist Dave Epstein's covering it all from member station WBUR in Boston. David, thanks so much for being with us.

DAVE EPSTEIN, BYLINE: Thank you for having me, Scott.

SIMON: What are you seeing there so far? Snow, I know. But in what amount?

EPSTEIN: Yeah, absolutely. And I like the idea of the cocoa. I've got mine ready to go this afternoon. We're looking at snow where I am just west of Boston. And we're continuing to see visibility is down under half a mile - some cases a quarter mile. We've seen locally 11 inches in Taunton, just south of the city. And Boston's getting up towards the six-inch amount - and as you mentioned, a foot of snow around places like Forked River in New Jersey. I do think that the eastern side of Massachusetts, Maine and New Hampshire will see the heaviest snowfall.

SIMON: Is the storm shaping up pretty much as had been projected?

EPSTEIN: I think it is pretty much shaping up as projected. I'd say that the Western extent of the snowfall across southern New England probably will be a little further east. So places like the Berkshires and the Pioneer Valley out towards Springfield, Northampton - probably not seeing as much snow as may have been earlier thought a couple of days ago. And we may not see any amounts over 30 inches. There were some early indications with the models a few days ago that we could see, you know, some 3-foot amounts. I think that would be highly exceptional, not impossible. But I think generally, most places in the northeast, east of Route 495, will be in the 1- to 2-foot range - still a formidable storm and a lot of wind and a lot of cold.

SIMON: And what are the complications of the bitter cold that's expected to follow?

EPSTEIN: Well, one of the things about the bitter cold, of course, is just cleaning up from it. You know, you've got to get outside. You've really got to bundle up. Wind chill values will be below zero. So if you're outside for more than 45 minutes to an hour, and you've got a larger area to clean up, you've really got to take some breaks and go inside and actually have that cocoa. And the cold weather also - kind of tough on pets, as well. You know, I've got two dogs. And, you know...

SIMON: Yeah.

EPSTEIN: ...They're outside as little as possible, and then you get them back in as quickly as you can.

SIMON: Is this a bombogenesis? I hope I'm pronouncing that correctly. Well, you're the one who taught me the word at any rate.

EPSTEIN: Yeah, that's perfect. I love it. And absolutely. We have seen the pressure just really fall rapidly, well over the 24 millibars in 24 hours - so absolutely undergone bombogenesis. It's a big storm. It will head up towards Nova Scotia. It will pound eastern sections of Maine later today and overnight tonight. And yeah, this is a very strong storm. Some of the pressures of this - almost akin to a Category 1 hurricane.

SIMON: Of course, you're there in Boston. City knows how to handle snow, doesn't it?

EPSTEIN: Absolutely. And the governor's been great telling folks to just stay off the road. And the wonderful thing about today is that it's a Saturday. People knew this was coming. We can clean up tomorrow. And hopefully, everybody's back to normal on Monday, including into schools.

SIMON: Dave Epstein - he covers weather from member station WBUR and blogs at The Boston Globe. Dave, good luck. Take care.

EPSTEIN: Thank you. You, too. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Scott Simon is one of America's most admired writers and broadcasters. He is the host of Weekend Edition Saturday and is one of the hosts of NPR's morning news podcast Up First. He has reported from all fifty states, five continents, and ten wars, from El Salvador to Sarajevo to Afghanistan and Iraq. His books have chronicled character and characters, in war and peace, sports and art, tragedy and comedy.