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Near ‘weather bomb’ conditions drench Northeast on Sandy anniversary

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A coastal storm is forecast to bring heavy rain and high winds, especially to New York and New England. The storm coincides with the 5 year anniversary of Superstorm Sandy.

A cold front pulling enormous amounts of moisture from Tropical Storm Philippe roared across the Northeast with near “weather bomb” conditions Sunday, as heavy rains and high winds marked the fifth anniversary of Superstorm Sandy’s devastating landfall in the region.

A “healthy number of weather stations” from Virginia to Maine will see 3-5 inches of rain or more by late Monday, AccuWeather meteorologist Evan Duffey told USA TODAY. Some coastal areas will have wind gusts of 70 mph or more, he said.

A weather bomb — or bombogenesis — takes place when a storm intensifies rapidly, generally due to the collision of a cold continental air mass with warm air from over the ocean. It’s usually a winter phenomenon, when the difference between temperatures over land and over the ocean is greater.

“There will probably not be quite enough of a pressure drop to technically qualify this as bombogenesis, but we are seeing a lot of the same things,” Duffey said. “The storm is eating Philippe’s moisture, and it’s strengthening.”

Autumn’s tree debris can clog drainage pipes and gullies, complicating flooding issues this time of year, Duffey said. Small stream flooding could be prevalent, he said. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said state emergency officials have been preparing, clearing debris away from culverts.

More: Storm to bring rain, 65 mph wind gusts to Northeast

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“I urge New Yorkers to stay tuned to local weather forecasts and plan their travel accordingly to avoid potentially flooded roads and downed wires,” Cuomo said in a statement. “State agencies have taken precautionary measures to … keep communities safe no matter what Mother Nature sends our way.” 

In Pennsylvania, Gov. Tom Wolf reminded residents that motorists who ignore traffic control devices closing a road or highway due to hazardous conditions could be fined up to $250 — with higher penalties if emergency responders are called to rescue motorists who disregard warning signs.

In Massachusetts, the state Emergency Management Agency warned that strong winds could cause power outages. The agency urged residents to keep cellphones and other electronics charged.

Not all the weather news was bad. Duffey said almost two-thirds of the region is abnormally dry, with 12% currently in a moderate drought. More than 80% of Connecticut was listed as in moderate drought, he said.

“They can use the rain,” he said. “Coming all at once isn’t necessarily the best way to ease a drought, but it’s one of the ways. It won’t erase the problem, but it will help.”

Philippe was more than 500 miles east-northeast of Vero Beach, Fla., by Sunday afternoon. The storm was “scurrying east-northeastward away from the U.S. East Coast,” the National Weather Service said.

Any possible damage from the storm will barely register when compared to the destruction wrought by Sandy. Overall, Sandy was blamed for more than 200 deaths, with damages estimated at $75 billion.

Sandy hammered the Caribbean before its march up the U.S., smashing into the New Jersey coast near Brigantine on Oct. 29, 2012. The massive storm arrived near high tide during a full moon, flooding New York City streets and tunnels and cutting off power to millions.

“Five years ago today Superstorm Sandy ravaged our state,” Cuomo said on Twitter. “I’m proud of the work all New Yorkers have done to build back stronger than ever.”

 

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