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Far reaches of Northeast bracing for heavy April snow from bomb cyclone

By
Mary Gilbert, Accuweather.com

April 9 (UPI) -- Winter storm warnings were in effect Thursday across much of Maine and northern New Hampshire as well as a portion of northern Vermont.

In southern Maine, a coastal flood advisory had been issued ahead of an approaching storm. Following a rather mild start to April for much of northern New England, a winterlike storm system is set to rapidly strengthen over the area into Friday.

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This system has the potential to develop into a bomb cyclone as it travels over southern Quebec to coastal New Brunswick, Canada.

"A bomb cyclone is a storm that strengthens so rapidly that the central barometric pressure plummets to 0.71 of an inch of mercury or more in 24 hours," said AccuWeather senior meteorologist Alex Sosnowski.

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Even if this storm falls just shy of meeting the official bomb cyclone criteria, the storm's rapid strengthening storm will usher heavy snow, gusty winds and colder air into northern New England.

"Similar to the pattern from this past winter, Maine and portions of eastern Canada will bear the brunt of snowfall from this storm," said AccuWeather meteorologist Renee Duff.

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Precipitation that started as plain rain during Wednesday night and Thursday will switch over to all or mostly snow by Thursday night in northern New England and northern New York state as colder air infiltrates the storm.

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Snow can fall at the rate of 1 inch to 3 inches per hour at times during Thursday night and early Friday.

By Thursday evening, locations like Greenville and Gardiner, Maine, had received up to 7 inches of snowfall.

The greatest snowfall amounts from this system will be centered over inland Maine, where a general 12 inches to 18 inches of snow is expected to fall with an AccuWeather Local StormMax of 24 inches.

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Snowfall amounts will drop off rapidly over the surrounding areas as a rather tight gradient is anticipated to form between the areas receiving significant snowfall and the areas getting nuisance snowfall.

While it is not unusual for northern New England and southeastern Canada to experience snow in April, some of the anticipated snowfall amounts with this system will be remarkable.

"Bangor, Maine, averages 3.7 inches of snow for the entire month of April. This storm alone could easily bring more than that amount," said AccuWeather meteorologist Ryan Adamson. Forecasters expect 6 inches to 10 inches of snow to pile up in the city.

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Bangor is well below average for cumulative snowfall this season, which begins on Oct.1, according to National Weather Service records. On average, the city picks up about 67 inches of snow each season. This season, Bangor has recorded only 48 inches, so this storm could vault the city closer to its average.

Besides snowfall totals, another factor in determining overall impacts from this system is the nature of the snow itself. Snow from this storm is expected to be rather wet in nature. Wet snow is much heavier than dry snow due to its overall water content, and therefore is more likely to weigh down and trees and power lines.

The heavy, wet nature of the snow can lead to damage and power outages in some communities, according to Duff.

Essential workers may be in for a difficult commute on Friday morning as many roads will likely be snowcovered or slushy. Snow will persist over much of northern Maine and New Brunswick on Friday.

The lake-effect snow machine will fire up as this system moves out to the Atlantic Ocean on Friday. A general 1 inch to 3 inches of snowfall is expected off the typical snow belts of lakes Erie and Ontario through Friday evening.

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Following the exit of the storm on Friday and the end of lake-effect snow by Friday night, dry conditions are anticipated across much of the area for Easter weekend.

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