Fourth nor’easter of March sets sights on East, Midwest

A large swath of the country can expect yet another generous helping of rain, snow and wind on Tuesday and Wednesday, as the fourth nor’easter in less than three weeks sets its sights on the Northeast and Midwest.

The storm’s path could bring six to 12 inches of snow to the Upper Ohio Valley, which includes parts of Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania, as well as parts of the East Coast, from Virginia up to Massachusetts, on the first day of spring, according to Weather Channel senior meteorologist Frank Giannasca.

Giannasca also noted that the storm system would strike in two parts over the course of approximately 36 hours, with a weaker rain-snow mix probably arriving Tuesday night, followed by a short lull and then the brunt of the storm on Wednesday.

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“Within that area, bigger cities affected by the system would include Columbus, Pittsburgh, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, New York and Boston,” Giannasca said. “Things could change tonight or tomorrow as the storm starts to wrap up and the features come together.”

The storm is also likely to be accompanied by sustained winds of 15 to 25 mph and gusts of up to 60 mph in some coastal areas, making for a blustery, chilly Wednesday, according to NBC Philadelphia and the National Weather Service.

This system follows in the footsteps of a trio of deadly nor’easters that bashed the East earlier this month, leaving behind a path of flight cancellations, power outages and deaths.

Image: Nor'easter Weather Scene Image: Nor'easter Weather Scene

Walking the dog between snow-covered trees during a nor’easter on March 8 in Portland, Maine. Robert F. Bukaty / AP

The first nor’easter of the month struck on March 2 and halted the Northeast’s flights and commuter rail systems. A second nor’easter on March 7 left thousands without power and dumped approximately two feet of snow on the ground. The most recent nor’easter, on March 12, missed the majority of the Northeast but left parts of Long Island and Connecticut with 11 to 18 inches of snow.

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Across the East Coast, residents seemed both worried and exhausted by the number of nor’easters that had hit the region in a such a short period of time.

“Honestly, these nor’easters get a little tiring, but more scary than tiring because they’re happening this frequently,” said Brian Reilly, a New York City resident. “It’s more scary than tiring because you’re like ‘Why is this happening?’ more than ‘When is it happening?’ ”

Fortunately for the East, the upcoming nor’easter will probably be the last of the season, according to Giannasca.

Image: Christina Mesavage, Una Mayer, Jude Mesavage Image: Christina Mesavage, Una Mayer, Jude Mesavage

Christina Mesavage leads a family friend, Una Mayer, center, and her son Jude up a sledding hill on March 8 in Portland, Maine. Robert F. Bukaty / AP file

“The reason for the nor’easters is a pattern that we’re in right now where we’ve had some blocking in the high latitudes,” he said. “Oftentimes, when we have this blocking, it tends to produce a pattern of cold air over the Eastern United States that allows the storm track to move around the country and develop strong storms in the East Coast.

“As for how long that’s going to stick around, for at least the time being, this might be the last one, at least from what I can see.”