Gusty winds could spark power outages amid dangerous cold

AP photo.

AP photo.

Jersey Shore residents should prepare for the possibility of scattered power outages amid dangerous cold.

Strong winds associated generated by the interaction between a coastal storm and a high pressure system will begin increasing on Thursday and continue through Friday, forecasters say.

At the same time, the National Weather Service is predicting “brutally cold” conditions Thursday night until Saturday night due to gusty northwest winds blowing in from Canada.

“I cannot stress enough how high-impact this stretch of cold might be,” forecasters from the Mount Holly, NJ National Weather Service office wrote Wednesday morning. “Given the duration of the cold preceding this period, the added factor of windy conditions for a lengthy period during this period, and the anomalous nature of the cold that is forecast — societal impacts will probably be significant.”

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The forecasters add that “[n]otably, any power outages during this time would be very high impact given the bitterly cold air in place and “would force considerable hardship where heat would not be available.”

As of now, the forecast wind speeds in coastal areas are around 30 miles per hour sustained, with gusts up to the upper 40 miles per hour range.

But according to the National Weather Service, the current forecast “may be on the conservative side.”

The service advises the public to take the frigid outbreak — at the Shore, featuring high temperatures in the teens, lows in the single digits, and wind chills possibly to around negative 10 degrees — seriously.

“Have safety plans in place including a stash of warm clothes in the car in case of a rural location break down and certainly plenty of fuel for well maintained home and facility heating systems,” the forecasters wrote Wednesday morning.

On the snow front, as of Wednesday morning, the National Weather Service is forecasting four to six inches of snow at the Jersey Shore, beginning 9 p.m. Wednesday through 7 p.m. Thursday.

But should the storm overperform, the National Weather Service says there’s a 10 percent change of around a foot of snow in coastal New Jersey.

Gusty winds will cause blowing and drifting snow that will result in significantly low visibilities.

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