The storm could cause power outages and significant damage


People on the East Coast may want to bundle up this weekend, as forecasters are expecting a nor'easter to hit the region with a heavy bout of rain, snow, strong wind and flooding.

The enormous nor’easter, named Winter Storm Riley, could cause power outages and significant damage as it moves east from the Mid-Atlantic and picks up strength off the New England coast.

The nor'easter was in Ohio on Thursday, according to the National Weather Service (NWS). New York and New Jersey were hit with a wintery mix of rain and snow on Friday, while New England was already seeing heavy winds, wet snow and coastal flooding, according to the Weather Channel. By Friday morning, some parts of New York and Pennsylvania already had a foot or more of snow from the nor'easter.

Winter Storm Riley owes its intensification to “bombogenesis,” a term often referred to as a "bomb cyclone" and used to describe a rapid drop in pressure that makes storms more intense. Low pressure of the Jersey Shore gave rise to bombogensis, according to the Weather Channel.

After an earlier “bomb cyclone” storm in January, the Northeast is in for another beating this weekend. Several airlines including JetBlue, American, Southwest and Delta have announced they will allow customers to rebook flights free of charge due to the incoming weather.

Winter Storm Riley is expected to bring high winds as well as coastal and inland flooding in a number of states. The entire coast from Maine down to Washington, D.C. has received high wind watches and warnings, according to The Weather Channel.

High winds may begin in the Appalachians on Thursday evening and will likely move up the coast as Winter Storm Riley continues on Friday and Saturday. In some places like Massachusetts and Rhode Island, gusts over 70 mph are expected. Officials in Massachusetts have urged residents along the coast to evacuate by Friday morning, NBC Boston reports.

Overall, Massachusetts is expected to get the worst of the nor'easter, with the state’s NWS predicting moderate to major coastal flooding and saying islands along Cape Cod could experience hurricane force winds. Parts of Massachusetts are expected to get up to 12 inches of snow, and water levels are projected to be three to four times higher than normal along the eastern shore, according to the Weather Channel.