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What qualifies as a nor'easter, the storm slashing through the East Coast?

USA TODAY logo USA TODAY 10/27/2021 Naomi Ludlow, USA TODAY
A Hasbrouck Heights police officer looks down at the flooding on Williams Ave in Hasbrouck Heights, N.J. on Tuesday Oct. 26, 2021. Credit: Tariq Zehawi-USA TODAY NETWORK © Tariq Zehawi, NorthJersey.com-USA TODAY NETWOR A Hasbrouck Heights police officer looks down at the flooding on Williams Ave in Hasbrouck Heights, N.J. on Tuesday Oct. 26, 2021. Credit: Tariq Zehawi-USA TODAY NETWORK

As California recovers from the beastly storm that swept through most of the state, cities along the East Coast prepare to embrace heavy winds and inches of rain. 

New York, New Jersey and Connecticut were among states facing flash flood warnings as the storm travels the coast.

The storm is categorized as a nor'easter which started Monday and is expected to last until Wednesday. As of early Tuesday, there have been minimal disruption reports, but cities should beware of power outages as wind gusts can be up to 60 mph.

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The National Weather Service in New York tweeted Tuesday. "Several additional inches of rainfall is expected. Take it slow and allow yourself extra time if traveling today."

What is a nor'easter?

A nor'easter is a storm or wind blowing from the North American northeast. The storm develops between Georgia and New Jersey, but hits the New England area with maximum intensity, according to the NOAA

Historic storm and flood warnings: Flooding bombards New York, other states as nor'easter batters East Coast

It's a contraction of "northeastern," referring to the direction the wind is approaching from.

The storms typically dump a lot of rain or snow, are known to batter the area with hurricane-force winds and can cause coastal flooding. Blizzard conditions are also possible.

Difference between a hurricane and nor'easter

Since hurricane season runs from May to late November, it's easy to compare this heavy storm to a hurricane, but a nor'easter isn't the same thing. 

Technically, they both are considered cyclones and form over the Atlantic Ocean, but hurricanes thrive off warm air and nor'easters thrive off cold air. 

When do they usually occur?

Nor'easter season is most frequent and violent during September and April. 

Record nor'easters caused a billion dollars in damages and produced severe transportation disruption. Some notable nor'easters include the notorious Blizzard of 1888, the “Ash Wednesday” storm of March 1962, the New England Blizzard of February 1978, the March 1993 “Superstorm” and the recent Boston snowstorms of January and February 2015.

Landslides, flooding: Photos show aftermath of 'bomb cyclone' after it slams West Coast

Contributing: Jessica Presinzano

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: What qualifies as a nor'easter, the storm slashing through the East Coast?

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