This weekend's blizzard, named Jonas, is coming at a rather inconvenient time, tidally speaking.
There's going to be a full moon on Saturday, which means the tides will be higher than usual.
A full moon happens when the Earth is positioned right in the middle of the sun and our rocky satellite the moon, giving us a view of the entire side that faces us as it is lit up with the sun's rays.
But it also means that the moon and sun's gravitational pulls on the Earth act in concert when the moon is full, producing extra large high tides and extra small low tides.
Forecasts indicate that this winter storm could produce substantial precipitation, and if that rain and snow hits the East Coast during a high tide, it could cause substantial flooding. The high winds from the storm also play a role — they can blow the abnormally high waves up onto the coast.
A similar situation occurred when a full moon coincided with Hurricane Sandy in 2012, making the superstorm's surge even worse with the high tide, which took out subways stations in New York and produced lots of flooding across the East Coast.
Luckily, storm surge scientist Hal Needham at WXshift is predicting that Jonas will not be nearly as devastating. He says the winter storm will likely be at its worst between the highest full moon tides, which will occur in New Jersey Saturday night and Sunday morning.
Hal Needham/NOAAThat means that the full moon's high tides likely won't make the storm surge as bad as it could be, but they could still cause flooding. Needham predicts storm surge levels to be about 3 feet high at their maximum on the Jersey Shore.
But almost the entire East Coast could get flooding — all the way from Virginia through New Jersey — and the full moon isn't helping anything.