Mighty Post-Christmas Nor'easter wallops the Northeast U.S.

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:07 PM GMT on December 27, 2010

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A major blizzard continues to pound New England with heavy snow and winds gusting to near hurricane force as the 976 mb low tracks slowly northeastward into the Gulf of Maine. The snow has mostly ended across New York City and the mid-Atlantic, where snowfall rates as high as 3 - 4 inches per hour occurred during "thundersnow" snow squalls at the peak of the storm late last night and early this morning. At the height of the storm, blizzard warnings were in effect for the entire U.S. coast from Maryland to Maine. The heaviest snows fell about 50 miles to the west and north of New York City. Lyndhurst, New Jersey, located about 15 miles northwest of New York City, got 29 inches, and several nearby towns also reported snows in excess of 24 inches. Though the snow has mostly ended in these regions, strong winds will continue through the early afternoon, creating blizzard conditions in blowing snow.


Figure 1. Satellite image from 8am EST December 27 of the Post-Christmas Blizzard of 2010 over New England. Image credit: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center.

The blizzard is in full swing across much of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Maine, where snowfall rates of 1 - 2 inches per hours are common in heavy snow bands, with high winds creating blizzard conditions. The strongest wind gust from the mighty blizzard was 80mph, measured at Wellfleet on Cape Cod at 10:52pm last night. Wind gusts of 50 - 60 mph have been common along most of the coast of Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Southeast Massachusetts. The storm's strong northeast winds whipped up a storm surge of 2 - 3 feet that affected the coast just north of Boston, and in Central Long Island Sound, during the high tide cycle at 3am this morning. Moderate flooding that shut many roads occurred, and some damage to buildings probably resulted. The flooding danger for Massachusetts and Long Island Sound is now past, as the storm moves into Maine and Canada.

Snowfall amounts at major cities for the December 26-27, 2010 storm, as of 8am EST:

Newark, NJ 20.0"
Atlantic City, NJ 19.0"
East Boston, MA 16.5"
Ocean City, MD 13.5"
NYC Central Park, NY 13.0"
Philadelphia, PA 12.4"
East Providence, RI 12.0"
Danbury, CT 11.1"
Augusta, ME 10.0"
Woodstock, VT 10.0"
Bridgeport, CT 8.0"
Boston, MA 6.5"
Wilmington, DE 3.4"

An unusual Nor'easter for a La Niña year
This winter, we are experiencing La Niña conditions in the Equatorial Eastern Pacific, meaning that cold waters have upwelled from the depths off the coast of South America, cooling a huge region of Pacific waters to below-average levels. In most winters, the presence of La Niña acts to deflect the jet stream in such a way the the predominant storm track takes winter storms into the Pacific Northwest, then down through the Upper Midwest and Ohio Valley. According to Dr. David A. Robinson, the New Jersey State Climatologist and Chairman of the Department of Geography at Rutgers University, this sort of flow pattern keeps New England safe from Nor'easters, as storms tend to move from the Ohio Valley northeastwards into Canada, keeping New England in a warm southwesterly flow of air. However, today's storm defied climatology, and gave the mid-Atlantic and New England one of their worst poundings on record for a La Niña Nor'easter. It was the first storm in at least ten La Niña winters, dating back to 1970, to bring 10" of more of snow to New Jersey, according to Dr. Robinson. In Philadelphia, which got 12.4" from this storm, the National Weather Service stated that only one La Niña winter in the past century has had a storm that dumped more than 10" of snow on city--a December 1909 Nor'easter. The reason for the unusual Nor'easter this year is that it happened to get started right when the atmosphere was transitioning from one major flow pattern to another. Since late November, we have been locked into a pattern featuring very weak low pressure over Iceland, and weak high pressure over the Azores--a strongly negative North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) and Arctic Oscillation (AO). This pattern, which has allowed a lot of cold air to spill out of the Arctic and into the Eastern U.S. and Western Europe, is now breaking down and transitioning to a very different winter pattern. This new pattern will feature a more typical configuration for winter, with the Icelandic Low and Azores High close to their usual strengths. Today's Nor'easter managed to sneak in just as the atmosphere was transitioning from one major flow pattern to a new one, resulting in the rare La Niña snowstorm for New England. The new winter flow pattern looks to stay in place for at least the first two weeks of January, resulting in warmer than average winter weather for both the U.S. East Coast and Western Europe.

Jeff Masters

()
Holly Jolly Christmas (GeorgiaPeach)
Snowy berries in our yard on Christmas day.
Holly Jolly Christmas
Out In The Cold (teach50)
Out In The Cold
Blizzard 12-27-2010 New Jersey (xrs21crppn)
My Jeep and husband truck
Blizzard 12-27-2010 New Jersey

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Quoting caneswatch:


That's completely true, then comes the instrumentals. That's what usually turns a person on or off to certain music.



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224. JRRP
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Here's the original--lip synced.

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Quoting PSLFLCaneVet:



With all due respect to the various opinions about whether a particular band's tune was "great", at times it's about an emotion conveyed.


Many times, it's about a feeling.


That's completely true, then comes the instrumentals. That's what usually turns a person on or off to certain music.
Member Since: October 8, 2008 Posts: 14 Comments: 4553
All music is good--mostly--but this clip is creepy. LOL
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With all due respect to the various opinions about whether a particular band's tune was "great", at times it's about an emotion conveyed.


Many times, it's about a feeling.
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Quoting bappit:
The Renaissance ended after Exile on Main Street. I suffered through disco, then the 80's. I guess there was a bit of revival in the 90's ... better than Wham.
I'm a huge fan of 80's music(if you look on my ipod that's what you'll mostly see).And in 2nd place is 90's music.Todays music doesn't interest me as much.I can go weeks without listening to radio.I leave that all to the young folk.
Member Since: August 14, 2010 Posts: 11 Comments: 19158
Quoting bappit:
The Renaissance ended after Exile on Main Street. I suffered through disco, then the 80's. I guess there was a bit of revival in the 90's ... better than Wham.


Disco and 80's. 90's music was the cure to get rid of all that lol
Member Since: October 8, 2008 Posts: 14 Comments: 4553
The Renaissance ended after Exile on Main Street. I suffered through disco, then the 80's. I guess there was a bit of revival in the 90's ... better than Wham.
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Quoting bappit:

Ack. Gag.


Why gag?
Member Since: October 8, 2008 Posts: 14 Comments: 4553
Quoting KoritheMan:


I really didn't like Minutes to Midnight. To each their own, I suppose.

Admittedly, I've yet to try their newest album. Perhaps that'll be a refresher for me.


MTM had some good songs on there, but that was it.

From hearing their newest single, i'd back away from their new album if you loved their old stuff more.
Member Since: October 8, 2008 Posts: 14 Comments: 4553
Quoting caneswatch:
Don't you guys miss the 90's where rock was great no matter what?

Ack. Gag.
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Quoting washingtonian115:
I love 90's rock!!!!.U2 is still pretty good as well,but the songs that they come out with today have nothing on their older hits(mu opinion.)


I'm with you on that opinion. Their 80s and 90s hits were beyond great. But now, it's like "meh, not so good as they once were."
Member Since: October 8, 2008 Posts: 14 Comments: 4553
Quoting aquak9:
The damage would of been unimagenable.

just like the spelling

j/k :)
Lol.You got me.
Member Since: August 14, 2010 Posts: 11 Comments: 19158
Quoting caneswatch:


Agreed. Minutes to Midnight is pretty much their last good album. If they kept it the way they did like One Step Closer and Numb, they'd still be as good as they once were.

Other than that, the only good rock bands that are still alive are Alice in Chains and the Foo Fighters. Don't you guys miss the 90's where rock was great no matter what?


I really didn't like Minutes to Midnight. To each their own, I suppose.

Admittedly, I've yet to try their newest album. Perhaps that'll be a refresher for me.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting caneswatch:


Agreed. Minutes to Midnight is pretty much their last good album. If they kept it the way they did like One Step Closer and Numb, they'd still be as good as they once were.

Other than that, the only good rock bands that are still alive are Alice in Chains and the Foo Fighters. Don't you guys miss the 90's where rock was great no matter what?
I love 90's rock!!!!.U2 is still pretty good as well,but the songs that they come out with today have nothing on their older hits(mu opinion.)
Member Since: August 14, 2010 Posts: 11 Comments: 19158
next up
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Quoting boyzNme:
hi everyone! I was wondering if there was anyone online that knows first hand what the weather is like in Denver? I see that a storm just went through, maybe the next wave on its way to us in frozen South Florida, but it says sunny and cold for every day from what I can see. Is there snow on the ground? Or maybe someone can suggest where I can look. Thanks as my son is flying out there tomorrow.


Try this.
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hi everyone! I was wondering if there was anyone online that knows first hand what the weather is like in Denver? I see that a storm just went through, maybe the next wave on its way to us in frozen South Florida, but it says sunny and cold for every day from what I can see. Is there snow on the ground? Or maybe someone can suggest where I can look. Thanks as my son is flying out there tomorrow.
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Quoting KoritheMan:


Meh. Linkin Park's way past their heyday.


Agreed. Minutes to Midnight is pretty much their last good album. If they kept it the way they did like One Step Closer and Numb, they'd still be as good as they once were.

Other than that, the only good rock bands that are still alive are Alice in Chains and the Foo Fighters. Don't you guys miss the 90's where rock was great no matter what?
Member Since: October 8, 2008 Posts: 14 Comments: 4553
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:




I'll be honest: Minutes to Midnight was my least favorite album by them.
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Quoting KoritheMan:


Meh. Linkin Park's way past their heyday.


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Quoting PSLFLCaneVet:

Great post Keeper!





Meh. Linkin Park's way past their heyday.
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Great post Keeper!



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Quoting aquak9:
squiggly red lines?

ya mean, like the freeze lines? like where I'm supposta be around 26º tonite?

yes, damnit to hell man, those squiggly red lines will be the death of humankind yet

unless my cat kills us all first


here is a tune too warm ya up

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Quoting aquak9:
squiggly red lines?

ya mean, like the freeze lines? like where I'm supposta be around 26º tonite?

yes, damnit to hell man, those squiggly red lines will be the death of humankind yet

unless my cat kills us all first


LOL. Nah, the lines that tell us if we've got the spelling correct.

We're projected for 27. No fun at all.
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More rain for us in CA starting tomorrow night. After that, tag, you're it. :)

Sorry about the snow...

Friends call me snow miser...

Link
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squiggly red lines?

ya mean, like the freeze lines? like where I'm supposta be around 26º tonite?

yes, damnit to hell man, those squiggly red lines will be the death of humankind yet

unless my cat kills us all first
Member Since: August 13, 2005 Posts: 192 Comments: 27579
Quoting aquak9:
The damage would of been unimagenable.

just like the spelling

j/k :)



Evening, aqua. Dang those squiggly red lines.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
The damage would of been unimagenable.

just like the spelling

j/k :)
Member Since: August 13, 2005 Posts: 192 Comments: 27579
Quoting KoritheMan:


Eventually we'll break our lack of major hurricane strikes. Whether it's next year or in 2020.
I personally think that the U.S will run out of luck next year.We have meracuosly not had any hurricane strikes since 2008,and major strikes since 2005.If we continue to follow the 2006-2007-and 2008 pattern,then 2011 should be like 2008...
Quoting CybrTeddy:


I'll be honest with you, Ike was 1 mph away from Category 3. I consider that a major strike, plus only Andrew and Katrina did more damage than Ike.
Ike was bad enough.Imagine if it had stayed over the gulf longer.The damage would of been unimagenable.
Member Since: August 14, 2010 Posts: 11 Comments: 19158
Quoting Ossqss:


I was the stick man :)

Did ya check out this day in weather history ?

excerpts from the first site I posted, interesting stuff from long ago...... out >>


On this day in weather history ..

* 1869 - A post Christmas storm in New York and Vermont produced record storm totals of 30 inches at Burlington, VT, and 39 inches at Montpelier VT. A public emergency was declared in Vermont. (David Ludlum)

* 1892 - An Atlantic coast storm produced a record 18.6 inches of snow at Norfolk, VA, including 17.7 inches in 24 hours. The storm also produced 9.5 inches of snow at Raleigh NC, and brought snow to northern Florida for the first time in 35 years. (26th- 28th) (The Weather Channel)

* 1982 - The worst Louisiana rainstorm in more than 100 years came to an end. More than 18 inches fell at Vinton, LA, during the three day storm. Flooding was widespread, and property damage was estimated at 100 to 200 million dollars. President Reagan visited the state and declared ten parishes in northeastern Lousiana disaster areas. (The Weather Channel)


Yes, I read them all. Some of those articles make interesting reading for those interested in history.
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192. JRRP
Quoting Neapolitan:
This weekend's event was only the sixth storm since 1869 to drop more then 20" of snow in New York's Central Park. That's remarkable, but what's perhaps more remarkable is that three of those six snowstorms have taken place in just the past five years. An increasing frequency of such extreme weather events is, of course, what's been predicted by climate scientists to happen as the oceans and atmosphere heat up due to increased concentrations of CO2. It definitely makes one wonder what's to happen in the future, no?

no
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Quoting KoritheMan:


Eventually we'll break our lack of major hurricane strikes. Whether it's next year or in 2020.


I'll be honest with you, Ike was 1 mph away from Category 3. I consider that a major strike, plus only Andrew and Katrina did more damage than Ike.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Grothar:


Hey, you still move pretty good on the dance floor.


I was the stick man :)

Did ya check out this day in weather history ?

excerpts from the first site I posted, interesting stuff from long ago...... out >>


On this day in weather history ..

* 1869 - A post Christmas storm in New York and Vermont produced record storm totals of 30 inches at Burlington, VT, and 39 inches at Montpelier VT. A public emergency was declared in Vermont. (David Ludlum)

* 1892 - An Atlantic coast storm produced a record 18.6 inches of snow at Norfolk, VA, including 17.7 inches in 24 hours. The storm also produced 9.5 inches of snow at Raleigh NC, and brought snow to northern Florida for the first time in 35 years. (26th- 28th) (The Weather Channel)

* 1982 - The worst Louisiana rainstorm in more than 100 years came to an end. More than 18 inches fell at Vinton, LA, during the three day storm. Flooding was widespread, and property damage was estimated at 100 to 200 million dollars. President Reagan visited the state and declared ten parishes in northeastern Lousiana disaster areas. (The Weather Channel)
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Quoting Grothar:


Yeah, but I've got pictures. LOL How is SC? You're missing all our cold down here.


Having fun with the family, but it's a lot colder than down there. It's supposed to get down to 18 tonight. Supposed to be 28 down in RPB, it hit that here at 7.
Member Since: October 8, 2008 Posts: 14 Comments: 4553
The most appropriate for the day.

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Quoting Grothar:


Now that's an old one.



How cool would it be if you could be there to give those souls some good direction?
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Quoting Ossqss:


From a weather standpoint,, Whoomp there it is :)

http://www.weatherforyou.com/history/

or

http://www.crh.noaa.gov/iwx/program_areas/wxhisttdy/calendar.php



Hey, you still move pretty good on the dance floor.
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Quoting caneswatch:


Yes I did. I love the idea of the "100 years ago today" blog.


Yeah, but I've got pictures. LOL How is SC? You're missing all our cold down here.
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Quoting PSLFLCaneVet:


Now that's an old one.
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Quoting ProjectPat:


What - no vid, bro?

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Quoting Grothar:


To paraphrase Dr. Masters a little.. it was either the 1st or 3rd best since record keeping began. Hope you all had a good one, too!


Yes I did. I love the idea of the "100 years ago today" blog.
Member Since: October 8, 2008 Posts: 14 Comments: 4553
Quoting Grothar:
I think when the blog is slow, we should post our own ....."100 Years Ago Today" blog. It would be nice to know what some of you were doing then.


From a weather standpoint,, Whoomp there it is :)

http://www.weatherforyou.com/history/

or

http://www.crh.noaa.gov/iwx/program_areas/wxhisttdy/calendar.php

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting washingtonian115:
Next hurricane season(2011)looks bad for the U.S.I'm not liking it one bit....


Eventually we'll break our lack of major hurricane strikes. Whether it's next year or in 2020.
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Quoting Grothar:


To paraphrase Dr. Masters a little.. it was either the 1st or 3rd best since record keeping began. Hope you all had a good one, too!


LOL.

Thanks. I can't complain.
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Quoting Grothar:
I think when the blog is slow, we should post our own ....."100 Years Ago Today" blog. It would be nice to know what some of you were doing then.


A sort of "family album". Nice!
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Dr. Masters co-founded wunderground in 1995. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990. Co-blogging with him: Bob Henson, @bhensonweather

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