Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.
By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 4:05 PM GMT on December 19, 2009
Snowfall rates of 1 - 2 inches per hour combined with strong northeasterly winds are creating blizzard conditions over Portions of Virginia, Maryland, and Washington D.C. this morning, as a mighty Nor'easter continues to gather strength along the East Coast. The surface low will continue to move northeast just offshore the North Carolina and Virginia coasts and strengthen this afternoon, spreading a wide band of heavy snow across much of the Eastern U.S. Washington D.C. had already received 7 inches of snow and Baltimore 6 inches by 7 am EST, with up to 22 inches expected by Sunday morning. This would make the 2009 Nor'easter the heaviest December snowstorm on record in those cities, and the heaviest snowfall seen since the 27-inch dumping during the February 2003 Nor'easter.
Figure 1. Visible satellite image from 10:30 am EST on December 19, 2009, showing the Nor'easter of 2009. Image credit: NASA/GSFC GOES project.
Blizzard warnings are also posted for New York's Long Island and Southeast Massachusetts. New York City is expecting up to a foot of snow, and coastal flooding from a 3-foot storm surge.
Some selected storm total snowfalls (in inches) from 1am Tuesday through 10am Saturday, courtesy of the National Weather Service:
LOTHIAN 3 SW 10.0
SILVER SPRING 1 ESE 9.0
TANEYTOWN 1 NE 9.0
GLENN DALE 3 ENE 8.5
...NORTH CAROLINA ...
ROBBINSVILLE 12 W 24.0
EAST MARION 15.0
WEST JEFFERSON 13.0
MARSHALL 7 N 12.0
ESTELL MANOR 5.5
GREENVILLE 3 E 22.0
AFTON MOUNTAIN 21.0
RUTHER GLEN 14.0
SHORT PUMP 11.8
NEW MARKET 1 WSW 11.0
MANASSAS 1 ESE 8.0
FRIARS HILL 25.0
Tornadoes and flooding rains hit Florida
In Florida, severe thunderstorms associated with the Nor'easter's cold front spawned three tornadoes on Friday. The most significant one was a twister that hit Wauchula in Hardee County, damaging fifteen cars and buildings at an assisted living facility. An EF0 tornado hit southeast Key West and neighboring Stock Island, another tornado touched down near Homestead. None of the tornadoes caused injuries, though two people were injured by flying glass caused by a heavy thunderstorm in North Miami Beach. That city received 14.25 inches of rain in the 24 hours ending at 7am Friday. Heavy rains of up to 13.32" also hit Hollywood, flooding the downtown area and stranding cars.
Our Climate Change expert, Dr. Ricky Rood, has gone from the frying pan into the snow machine--Ricky is snowbound in Washington D.C.! His latest post, from the Copenhagen Climate Change Summit, called The Party is Over: Copenhagen Devolved presents a fascinating look at what it was like to be at the conference, and what was (and was not) accomplished there. I'll be posting my own summary of the legacy of the Copenhagen talks early next week.
I'll have another post Monday.
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