A nor'easter heading up the East Coast is expected to wallop the Hudson Valley with a blast of sleet, snow, rain and high winds that could flood roads, down tree limbs and trigger power outages, forecasters say.
In southern Westchester County, the storm will carry sustained winds of 20-40 mph and gusts as high as 60 mph from Wednesday evening to late Wednesday night, said Dan Hofmann, a National Weather Service meteorologist. In the rest of the Hudson Valley, winds will be lighter, but gusts still could reach 40-45 mph, he said.
Southern Westchester could get 1 1/2 inches of rain, Hofmann said, and the northern parts of the county could get 1-3 inches of snow. Farther north, in Orange and Putnam counties, 4-6 inches of snow and sleet are forecast to pile up, topped with 1/4 inch of ice.
"Pretty much it's going to be an all-around mess," Hofmann said.
Utility companies said they were monitoring the storm's path and will have ample time to gear up staffing if needed.
"We'll be ready for whatever comes up," Con Edison spokesman Bob McGee said.
Spokeswoman Cecille Jones said Orange & Rockland Utilities will have a full workforce Wednesday and will be able to mobilize repair crews as needed.
The nor'easter stems from a low-pressure front developing over the South that already has delivered severe weather to Texas and Arkansas.
"That system will gain steam and move over our area (Wednesday) night," Hofmann said.
Hofmann said the storm's winds could be strong enough to topple trees and tree limbs, causing blackouts, but McGee noted that a string of storms, including superstorm Sandy, already have downed many of the most vulnerable trees. Holiday decorations also could be susceptible to the blustery conditions.
Hofmann said flooding would be confined to coastal and low-lying areas of southern Westchester, with the possibility of road closures along the Sound Shore.
In areas with driving snow, visibility could be curtailed, he said, and icy conditions could make driving hazardous.
The storm is expected to wind down by midday Thursday as the storm exits from southwest to northeast.
But that doesn't mean Hudson Valley residents can bid farewell to the storms of 2012.
Friday is expected to be mostly sunny with a high near 39, but Saturday will bring a 30 percent chance of rain and snow, and by Sunday, the chance for snow will increase to 40 percent, according to the National Weather Service.