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The Scholastic Kids Press Corps is a team of about 50 Kid Reporters around the nation.  The interactive site brings daily news to life with reporting for kids, by kids.
nor'easter prep in buffalo, new york Kevin Quick plows a slushy mix during a winter storm in Buffalo, New York, on Friday, Feb. 8, 2013. (Photo: AP Photo/David Duprey)

Blizzard Bears Down

Northeast braces for historic storm

By Coleman Hirschberg | null null , null

BOSTON - In recent years, the Boston area hasn't been hit by any major snowstorms. But that is all about to change.

A major winter storm has begun moving dropping heavy snow, ice, and rain on the northeastern part of the United States. The storm has been named Nemo by the Weather Channel, and it could bring one of the largest blizzards this section of the country has ever seen.

Nemo is a nor'easter. Here's how The Weather Channel defines a nor'easter:

"Nor'easters are strong areas of low pressure often form either in the Gulf of Mexico or off the East Coast in the Atlantic Ocean. The low will then either move up the East Coast into New England and the Atlantic provinces of Canada or out to sea. A nor'easter gets its name from its continuously strong northeasterly winds blowing in from the ocean ahead of the storm and over the coastal areas. These winter weather events are notorious for producing heavy snow, rain, and oversized waves that crash onto Atlantic beaches, often causing beach erosion and structural damage. Wind gusts associated with these storms can exceed hurricane force in intensity."

The storm is predicted to dump anywhere between two and three feet of snow on Boston. New York City is expected to get between 10-18 inches of snow. Long Island, where residents are still recovering from Hurricane Sandy, could get as much as two feet of snow, damaging winds, and strong coastal surges.

In the Boston area, families and city officials are battening down the hatches.

"The city has declared a Weather Emergency, shutting down all city offices and events that were scheduled for this weekend," Danielle Valle-Fitzgerald said. Valle-Fitzgerald is the Neighborhood Liaison to the mayor of Boston. "The City of Boston has closed City Hall and is working on a 24 hour hotline for citizens to call in with questions and concerns about the approaching blizzard."

People have been boarding up their windows and getting stockpiles of canned goods in anticipation of the blizzard. Supermarket shelves have gone empty with people buying what they may need in a disaster situation.

Schools have also shut down. But Valle-Fitzgerald said they should reopen on Monday morning.

In the event of power outages, schools will stay closed until power is restored. If power is lost, shelters are set up around the city with food and open arms.

The hardest part for preparing for blizzards is "keeping people calm but alert and ready," Valle-Fitzgerald said.

Mayors from cities in the storm's path have sent out calls warning people and advising them to stay off roads and remain indoors until the snow has stopped. Citizens have been asked to keep an eye on elderly neighbors and anyone who may need help in an isolating incident.

As serious as the storm is, some Bostonians are excited.

Judy Walker has been a Boston resident for 47 years. She remembers living through the last huge snowstorm in 1978 -- and even having fun during it. So she's prepared for Nemo. "I'm ready for this," Walker said.

But Walker adds that storms are serious and everyone should be ready for it.

"You have to prepare for the worst and hope for the best."

Kid Reporters from across the northeast will be covering the nor'easter all weekend. Follow their reporting and share your stories of the storm on the Scholastic News Kids Press Corps Blog.

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