March 13, 2018 / 5:34 AM / in 8 months

'A big one' - New England braces for third major storm in two weeks

BOSTON (Reuters) - A winter storm packing a powerful snowy punch bore down on the northeastern United States on Tuesday, closing schools, snarling travel and threatening to knock out power to thousands of homes and businesses.

The nor’easter follows two storms that rumbled up the East Coast this month, killing at least nine people and knocking out power to about 2.4 million people and businesses at their peak.

Winter storm warnings were in effect from Connecticut to Maine, the National Weather Service said, warning that cities including Boston could see as much as 18 inches (46 cm) of snow, far more than that dumped by the last two storms this month.

“We’re gearing up for a major storm,” Boston Mayor Marty Walsh told a news conference on Monday. “We haven’t seen this type of storm since seems like this one is going to be a big one.”

Schools in Boston and Providence, Rhode Island, were shut on Tuesday and the passenger rail line Amtrak planned to halt service between Boston and New York.

The National Weather Service in New York warned that during the storm’s peak, snow could fall at a rate of up to 3 inches (7.6 cm) an hour, making travel treacherous.

“The snow is beginning to overspread the area and pick up in intensity,” it said in a Twitter message. “Conditions will continue to deteriorate through the early morning.”

Nor’easters are storms that typically bring strong winds from the northeast, and they tend to occur most often and most violently between September and April along North America’s East Coast, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says.

Some nor’easters carry hurricane-force winds.

Winds are expected to reach 65 miles (105 km) per hour, the weather service said.

This storm’s heavy snow could down trees weakened by the last two storms and bring a fresh wave of power outages, officials warned.

Lower tides meant the storm would probably not bring a repeat of the flooding that sent icy water pouring into the streets of Boston during a storm early this month, forecasters and officials said.

Reporting by Scott Malone; Editing by Clarence Fernandez

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