The area has already had three Nor’easters in March, named for the dominant wind direction of what is essentially a winter cyclone.
According to the National Weather Service, Nor’easters form because of three two factors: The jet stream pulling Arctic air into the southeast U.S. and moisture from the Gulf Coast being drawn into the swirling wind mass.
“This difference in temperature between the warm air over the water and cold Arctic air over the land is the fuel that feeds Nor’easters,” says the NWS.
Snow is expected in California, Colorado, and other Western states through Sunday, before the weather system moves into the Midwest and the Ohio Valley on Monday into Tuesday, and then into the mid-Atlantic and New England late Tuesday into Wednesday.
Early indications show a variety of potential precipitation for Rhode Island, from a mix of snow and rain on the low end to blizzard-like snowfall on the high end.
If the next Nor’easter should be named by TWC, it would be the 20th such storm of the 2017-18 winter season and given the moniker Toby.
So far, Warwick has tallied 12 in. of snow for the month as measured at TF Green Airport, with 9.5 in. falling during the March 13 snowstorm. For the winter season, Rhode Island’s official total is 45.9 in., nearly 15 in. higher than the average of 31.2 in., according to NWC.
What to do in case of emergencies:
This expected storm raises the possibility of electrical outages — and a reminder of how to handle them.
First, do NOT call 911 to report a power outage.
Instead, contact National Grid at 1-800-465-1212. Smartphone users can also text STORM to NGRID (64743) for outage alerts. To check the status of outages in your area, visit National Grid Outage Central for Rhode Island.
Also be sure to check batteries for radios, and charge up your cell phone in case of power loss.
By now, we’re all used to the incoming winter storm drill — here it is once again:
RIBA – Make sure you’re signed up for text alerts from the Rhode Island Broadcasters Association. You’ll get emergency notifications (including school closings and delays) direct to your phone or email. Check closings and delays here.
CodeRED – The City of Warwick has instituted a new rapid emergency notification service called CodeRED®. The new system will distribute emergency messages via telephone to targeted areas or the entire City of Warwick. Register here.
- In an emergency, dial 911
- Police Department: 401-468-4200
- Fire Department: (401) 468-4000
- Highway Dept./Snow removal – 401-738-2000 ext. 6518
- Serve RI is looking for volunteers to help neighbors in need shovel out after upcoming snowfall. You can sign up here. You can ask for their help at at 401-331-2298. For all other needs, people should call United Way-2-1-1.
Listen to NOAA radio: Check the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration radio frequency here.