Here Comes the Nor’easter!

The National Weather Service previews the next big storm in a winter full of them.

Screen Shot 2014-02-11 at 11.42.08 AMIf it feels like winter just won’t end, the forecast won’t please you: A nor’easter bearing six to eight inches of snow is forecast to arrive in the Philadelphia region on Wednesday night and linger into Thursday. James Bunker, observing program leader at the National Weather Service, talked to Philly Mag about the weather, what it means, and why Philly can’t catch a break.

What is a Nor’easter, exactly, and how is it different from all the other storms that have hit the region this winter?

Well first of all, let’s get you the definition of a nor’easter. It’s basically a system that forms off the East Coast and moves toward the northeast. Why this would be different from other storms is that this one has the potential to tap into a bit more moisture than ones that have been coming across land. This is what we’re looking at here, Wednesday night into Thursday.

How should people be preparing?

It’s not anything out of the ordinary. It’s going to be a storm that could bring six to eight inches of snow. Drive easy on the roads and allow extra time to get to your destination. You can check our Facebook page or our web page at

I’d always heard that major metropolitan areas like Philadelphia were somewhat protected from big storms by virtue of creating a lot of heat that might deflect approaching fronts. Any truth to that concept, or are we getting hit just as hard as outlying areas?

There’s no truth to that, definitely no truth to that. It’s just a situation that Philadelphia is going to get a good amount of snow like everybody else.

Your agency spent last week trying to tamp down rumors of a 30-inch storm on the way. Given the brutishness of the winter, how do you help the public achieve the proper level of alert without panicking them?

The best recommendation is, they can check our Facebook social media page, or our web page at I would strongly recommend that people keep abreast at both those locations.