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Story highlights

This storm, like January's, is due to hit at record tide levels

Coastal flooding and hurricane-strength wind gusts pose the biggest threat

(CNN) —  

New England is gearing up for its most significant storm since early January’s “bomb cyclone,” with heavy rain, roaring winds and excessive coastal flooding expected Friday and Saturday from the mid-Atlantic to New England.

This nor’easter, like the one in January, could reach bombogenesis – or become a “bomb cyclone” – by dropping at least 24 millibars of atmospheric pressure in 24 hours. Some forecast models predict a sudden pressure plummet Friday evening off the Atlantic coast.

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Even if this storm doesn’t “bomb out,” the coastal low will pack an incredible punch, with places from eastern Long Island in New York to Boston likely to get hit hardest.

With the moon full, the tide is at its highest point of the month. On top of that, the storm’s surge could drive 3 to 4 feet of water into coastal neighborhoods. Along the shore, wave heights will be 4 to 8 feet, breaking along the shoreline and exacerbating flooding.

“Take this storm seriously! This is a LIFE & DEATH situation for those living along the coast, esp those ocean-exposed shorelines; moderate to major flooding; locations becoming inundated, cut off for periods of time; expect structural damage, homes destroyed,” the National Weather Service in Boston tweeted.

Because this system will be a slow mover, its wind, rain and flood impacts could be felt for days. Areas along eastern Long Island and eastern Massachusetts could get 4 to 5 inches of rain from Thursday evening through Saturday. The rest of the region could see 2 to 4 inches of rain.

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Any snow that falls in that zone would be heavy and wet, likely to bring down trees and power lines and cause power outages.

Inland New England is more likely to get snow, with a foot possible in upstate New York and western Massachusetts.

PHOTO: Judson Jones/CNN

And the winds in eastern Massachusetts will be ferocious. The National Weather Service has issued a hurricane force wind warning for most of the shore from Friday afternoon until early Saturday.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey said it was securing cranes at a LaGuardia Airport construction project and it is making plans to use buses if airport trains at JFK or Newark airports are stopped because of the wind.

Flight tracking website FlightAware.com says more than 1,000 flights involving US airports have been canceled for Friday. More than 600 of those are at Logan Airport in Boston, LaGuardia and Newark.