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The January full moon bad timing for U.S. storm

Andrea Bagley
Digital Reporter

Saturday, January 23, 2016, 6:44 PM - The first full moon in January, also known as a Wolf Moon, coincides with a major and potentially paralyzing storm set to hit the eastern U.S. In addition to possible epic snowfall amounts, the full moon could have an effect on coastal flooding.

There has already been some coastal flooding reported in New Jersey, with around 50 people having to leave their homes, even ahead of the full moon, which peaks Saturday night at 8:45 p.m. EST.

"The occurrence of a full moon this weekend, coinciding with this significant storm for the U.S. Northeast, is indeed bad timing," says The Weather Network's Chris Murphy. "The projected strong and prolonged northeast wind alone would be enough to pile water up against the coast. Combine that with the increased gravitational pull of the moon, which can make the high tide even higher, and the risk of coastal flooding and beach erosion is exacerbated."

The presence of the full moon will not, however, have any sort of influence over how much snow actually falls on Washington, D.C., for example.

While there is no hard science that proves the full moon can directly affect the weather, it can work hand in hand to make a coastal storm like this one more impactful due to its gravitational pull and an increase in ocean tides.

"In fact, when the moon's orbit brings it closest to Earth during the year when it is at its perigee (or more popularly known now as the "super moon") its influence is even more dramatic," Murphy says. "So, if there is a silver lining for coastal communities along the U.S. eastern seaboard this weekend, is that this moon is not a super moon."

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