Winter Storm Riley is being labeled as ‘Bombogenesis’ as it slams the East Coast with 60 mph winds and 4 ft surges that left at least 1 million without power and over 3,000 flights cancelled.
Boston and parts of coastal Massachusetts were quickly submerged in water by the powerful Nor’easter known as ‘bombogenesis’ which has toppled trees and power lines elsewhere and dumped more than 20 inches of snow.
On Friday morning, storm surges of up to 4 feet rushed over the sea wall and into city streets as Winter Storm Riley took hold in Boston.
Voluntary evacuations have been in place along the coast since late on Thursday night before the floods began. Shocking videos showed people kayaking through the underwater streets and trucks being swept away by waves.
WINTER STORM RILEY CAUSES THOUSANDS OF FLIGHT CANCELLATIONS
The intense Winter Storm Rileyhas paralyzed travel along the entire North East Coast, causing thousands or flight cancellations and chaos along railways.
Some 3,000 flights were cancelled and another 2,700 were delayed as a result of the ‘bombogenesis or Winter Storm Riley.
While Massachusetts was pounded by floods and rain, the rest of the North East endured heavy snow and winds of up to 60 mph.
As of midday EST, an estimated 500,000 people along the Northeast coast had lost power and more were expected to see outages as the day wore on. By the afternoon, that number has doubled to 1 million.
The National Weather Service tweeted a worrying warning out as the Winter Storm Riley intensified, telling people to stay at home amid reports that motorists were becoming stranded on the roads.
‘Turn around, don’t drown!’ they urged.
In Quincy, a city in Massachusetts, schools were closed and marine units had to rescue people from the streets in tractor buckets. In some parts, the flood water was 6ft deep.
WINTER STORM RILEY – HURRICANE STRENGTH WINDS
Hurricane strength winds were a possibility in Cape Cod and heavy snow was also due in Ohio.
As much 18 inches of snow fell in parts of upstate New York and Pennsylvania on Friday morning and at least three inches will fall in New York City.
It is a sudden and dramatic change from the false-start Spring weather seen earlier in the week.
The highest snowfall was in the town of East Aurora near Buffalo where 18 inches of snow fell in 24 hours by Friday morning.
Fourteen inches fell in Harborcreek, Pennsylvania, and 12 inches fell in Windham, New York, near North East, Pennsylvania.
Eleven inches were recorded in Chardon, Ohio, and 10 inches were recorded at Buffalo-Niagara International Airport.
In Washington DC and Virginia, strong winds downed trees and disrupted travel. A tree crashed through the fencing at Vice President Mike Pence’s residence and President Trump was forced to fly out of Dulles International Airport instead of Joint Air Base Andrews.
WINTER STORM RILEY – HEAVY RAINS AND FLOODING
President Trump and the First Lady were seen struggling against the wind as they disembarked.
Republican Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker activated 200 National Guard members to help with the storm.
‘We’re expecting to see more severe flooding issues here than we did in the Jan. 4 storm,’ when a Nor’easter lashed the region with heavy snow and rain, he said.
Along Boston’s Long Wharf, not far from the Fanueil Hall tourist area, large piles of sandbags were in place around a subway station and a Marriott hotel, a spot that flooded with icy seawater during an early January storm.
A combination of heavy rains, monthly extreme high tides and a wind-driven storm surge could combine to cause several feet of water to flow onto streets in coastal parts of Boston and up and down the shoreline, government and private weather forecasters warned. High winds of up to 75 miles121km per hour (120 kmph) could also bring extensive power outages.
‘People need to take this very seriously. If you live in an area that is told to evacuate, we strongly encourage you do so first thing Friday morning,’ Baker said on Thursday.
The National Weather Service had coastal flood watches and warnings in place from southern Maine through coastal North Carolina, including New York’s eastern suburbs, and also warned that a snowstorm heading east from the Ohio Valley could drop significant amounts of snow in northern New York State.
Ocean-facing homes could be destroyed by the storm surge and waves, while people who live in neighborhoods reached by low-lying roads could be cut off from services for hours or days, officials and government forecasters warned.
‘This could be another storm with prolonged onshore flooding,’ said Paul Walker, a senior meteorologist with private forecasting services Accuweather.
Flooding could begin to pick up around high tide, forecast to occur shortly after 11 a.m. ET (1600 GMT) around Boston, he said.
Voluntary evacuation orders are in place across coastal Massachusetts.
‘It will be dangerous to remain in the homes,’ said Massachusetts Emergency Management director Kurt Schwartz.
‘Not only may rescue not be possible, but homes will be subject to significant structural damage.
‘We expect to lose homes during this storm. If you’re in one of those areas, you need to get out,’ he added. Residents were taking matters into their own hands.
Winter Storm Riley or Bombogenesis is similar to the one in early January that hit the East coast. In January, a winter storm underwent a process of bombogenesis when the atmospheric pressure dropped 24-millibars in 24 hours.
If you have family or friends on the East coast, it would probably be a wise thing to check in on them, especially if they are elderly.