- The Washington Times - Monday, November 5, 2012

A storm featuring strong winds, rain and snow is forecast to follow in Superstorm Sandy’s path on Wednesday, threatening battered coastal towns and perhaps bringing the D.C. area this season’s first glimpse of snow.

National Weather Service meteorologist Jared Klein said the storm is packing strong winds and rain, but is “more typical of what you could expect this time of year.”

“We’re not looking at heavy rainfall,” Mr. Klein said, “but we could get gusty winds out of the north and the chance for snow could be closer to the I-95 corridor than Sandy.”

The storm, defined by meteorologists as a nor’easter, is brewing off the Atlantic coast. Bruce Terry, the lead forecaster for the National Weather Service, said the storm could slow down somewhat once it gets off the New Jersey coast, meaning its effects could linger. Those effects include rain, high winds and tidal surges, although less than those that accompanied Sandy. A nor’easter gathers its strength from cold air blowing off the Atlantic Ocean.

Nationwide, meteorologists expect the storm to bring winds of up to 55 mph, coastal flooding, up to 2 inches of rain along the shore, and several inches of snow to Pennsylvania and New York.

One of the biggest fears is that the storm could bring renewed flooding to parts of the shore where Sandy wiped out natural beach defenses and protective dunes.

“It’s going to impact areas many areas that were devastated by Sandy. It will not be good,” said Mr. Terry.

News of the storm comes one week after the East Coast was pummeled by the superstorm, a combination of Hurricane Sandy and a nor’easter. Coastal towns in New Jersey and New York City continue to struggle with cleanup. Electricity to parts of Lower Manhattan was restored over the weekend, but subway tunnels still have water to be pumped out, and the boardwalk and amusement park at the popular town of Seaside, N.J. were washed out to sea.

The District is expected to escape the worst impact from this week’s storm, though it could present a wintry mix of rain and snow, Mr. Klein said. Residents likely won’t see more than an inch of rain, but winds could reach between 30 to 40 mph, with stronger winds hitting areas closer to the Chesapeake Bay.

The height of the storm should come between Wednesday night and Thursday morning, Mr. Klein said.

Mr. Klein said a high wind watch would be in effect from Wednesday morning through Thursday morning for areas between Philadelphia and Maryland’s Eastern Shore. A coastal flood watch for the same period had also been issued for the coast of New Jersey and Delmarva Peninsula.

As of Monday, no watches or warnings related to the storm had been issued for the D.C. area.

The D.C. area largely escaped the brunt of last week’s superstorm, though thousands of residents lost power due to fallen trees and downed wires.

Dominion Virginia spokeswoman Le-Ha Anderson said the power company was “already in planning stages,” even though the forecast does not anticipate any significant impact on their operations.

At the peak of last week’s superstorm, about 200,000 customers in Northern Virginia were without power, Ms. Anderson said. Power was restored to the last customer Thursday night.

“Our crews are all being notified that we need people on standby, and depending on the storm we may add additional shifts,” Ms. Anderson said. “We’re making sure all the shifts are filled and keeping a close eye [on the weather].”

David Buck, spokesman for the Maryland State Highway Administration, said all of the state roads were open as of Monday and maintenance crews were already conducting conference calls in preparation for the storm.

Because rain is in the forecast, road crews won’t salt the roads ahead of the storm, Mr. Buck said.

He said his agency was still sending crews on Sunday to Garrett County, Md., to help with clean up from the superstorm. Unlike the coast, which was slammed with rain, the western side of Maryland was buried under three feet of wet snow.

“The problem was snow accumulation and so many trees were down,” Mr. Buck said. “It was just a very slow process to clear the trees, get wires out of the way then plow.”

Andrew Minick, an employee at Hardesty’s True Value hardware store in Grantsville, Md., said the store lost power last Monday and didn’t get it back until Friday evening.

“We had a generator, so we ran a couple lights, and the computer up front to ring people through,” Mr. Minick said. “But we didn’t print out receipts, they were handwritten.”

News of another storm headed toward the town, however, didn’t phase the Grantsville resident. Mr. Minick said “everyone’s fairly used” to bad weather, including snowstorms.

“It’s just a matter of the power companies frantically trying to get things up and running,” he said, adding that for the residents of Garrett County, “It’s just another day.”

This story is based in part on wire service reports.