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Nor'easter bears down on northeastern states

1:47 PM, Nov 7, 2012   |    comments
Impacts from the nor'easter that The Weather Channel has dubbed "Athena" (TWC)
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(WXIA) -- Less than two weeks after Superstorm Sandy slammed the Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern states, an intense winter storm has its sights set on that region.

The storm, dubbed Athena by forecasters at The Weather Channel, is expected to dump up to 6 inches of snow and bring winds up to 65 mph to parts of New Jersey, New York and New England.

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Mandatory evacuations have been issued for residents in low-lying areas of New Jersey, as well as for several healthcare facilities in the Rockaways area of New York City.

The storm is expected to move northward from Delaware and Maryland into the New York City area by Wednesday night, before sliding into upper New England on Thursday.

Storm surges around New York City and Long Island are expected to top out at 2 to 4 feet, much lower than the wave heights seen during Sandy. Storm surges in the 1- to 3-foot range are expected on the Rhode Island shoreline and around Cape Cod into Massachusetts.

Delta Air Lines said Wednesday morning that travelers headed into or from LaGuardia, Kennedy, Newark Liberty and Philadelphia are being permitted to adjust their travel arrangements without penalties. They advise travelers to visit Delta.com for details.

Athena is the first winter storm to get a name. The Weather Channel said Wednesday that it named the nor'easter because the storm's effects will blast a region still just recovering from Sandy.

Here is what you can expect, and where.

CITY AND SUBURBS:

Light rain and snow breaks out, with snow overtaking rain into the early afternoon. Coastal areas of the city will see more rain, while Manhattan and the Bronx will get more of a snowy precipitation.

Through 8 p.m., heavier snow falls from Manhattan to points west, while Queens, Brooklyn and Nassau County will see a mix of snow and rain. A slushy 2 inches of accumulation is possible, especially on grassy surfaces, with sloppy roads and wind gusts of up to 55 mph.

Overnight, the snow diminishes and winds decrease to around 40 mph gusts. Temps will be in the 30s.

COAST:

Through the afternoon and evening, heavy bands of rain spiral onshore and moderate coastal flooding is expected, with a storm surge of 3 to 4 feet. Areas where Sandy washed away sand dunes will see flooding problems, especially during the high tide cycle. Wind gusts of up to 60 mph are expected, with temperatures in the 30s and 40s.

The high winds could bring down tree limbs weakened by Sandy, potentially stalling power restoration efforts or causing further outages. A high wind warning is in effect for much of the region through Thursday.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie warned residents that some homes and businesses that regained power will lose it again.

"I could see us actually moving backwards," Christie said.

Toms River issued a mandatory evacuation of the Barrier Island for noon Wednesday. There are voluntary evacuations of low-lying areas on the mainland.

Middletown Township in Monmouth County has issued a mandatory 3 p.m. evacuation from Keansburg to Atlantic Highlands from Route 36 to the bay.

In New York, Mayor Bloomberg ordered police to use their patrol car loudspeakers to warn residents in vulnerable areas to evacuate.

"Even though it's not anywhere near as strong as Sandy - nor strong enough, in normal times, for us to evacuate anybody - out of precaution and because of the changing physical circumstances, we are going to go to some small areas and ask those people to go to higher ground," Bloomberg said Tuesday as residents braced for yet another round of displacement.

The mayor ordered three nursing homes and an adult care facility evacuated from Queens' vulnerable Rockaway Peninsula because of fears the weather might knock out electricity already being provided by generators. About 620 residents were being moved.

The city has closed all parks, playgrounds and beaches, as well as ordering all construction sites to be secured.

Airlines at the area's three major airports had already canceled hundreds of flights by Wednesday morning in anticipation of the storm and travelers are advised to check with their carriers before heading to the airport.

American Airlines is shutting down in New York at 3 p.m. Wednesday. It's also stopping flights to and from Philadelphia at noon. Most other airlines, including Delta Air Lines Inc. and JetBlue Airways Corp., are asking passengers to reschedule their Northeast flights for a later date. They're waiving the usual change fees of up to $150. Sandy led to about 24,000 flight cancellations.

The rain tapers off overnight, ending by 8 a.m. as wind gusts decrease to 45 mph.

INTERIOR NEW JERSEY AND LOWER HUDSON VALLEY:

Through the afternoon and evening, heavy snow falls, accumulating up to 6 inches, with possibly higher amounts in upper elevations of New Jersey. Expect snow-covered roads, especially near rush hour. Winds of up to 45 mph are expected.

The snow diminishes toward midnight, and winds decrease to about 45 mph.

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