The first nor'easter of the year is developing over nor'eastern Nor'Carolina this afternoon, leaving residents from D.C. to Boston getting ready for some much-needed rain. The term "nor'easter" is causing some concern for residents, but fear not: it's too warm to snow.

A nor'easter (or "northeaster" as some old-timey journalists insist we whippersnappers call it) is a low pressure system that develops along or just off the East Coast and moves parallel to the coast as it heads off towards Atlantic Canada. The term comes from the storm's northeasterly winds that batter the coast as the storm passes through.

Most East Coasters know nor'easters as fickle systems that often produce copious amounts of snow if they move along just the right track—I-95 usually serves as a sharp dividing line between a truckload of snow and a cold, miserable rain. This one will be rather forgettable thanks to the fact that it will stay relatively weak as far as nor'easters go, producing little but some heavy rain and gusty winds.

This particular nor'easter will create a stereotypically gloomy fall day for millions of people today and tomorrow. Residents across the megalopolis can expect low clouds, cool temperatures, rain ranging from a drizzle to a downpour, and some gusty winds. An inch or two of rain is possible from D.C. to New York City, with higher amounts closer to the ocean (the WPC's 3-day predicted rainfall map is shown above).

High waves and rip currents are also a strong likelihood along coastal areas, so it's a good idea to stay home (or at least stay out of the water) if you're vising the shore this week.

Temperatures will stay on the cool side as long as the clouds hang around, with most folks not jumping out of the 50s or 60s for the duration of the gloom. The Mid-Atlantic and Northeast will bounce back into the 70s and 80s over the next few days before another shot of cooler air filters in next week.

[Images via NASA and the WPC]

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