First Hurricane Sandy, now Winter Storm Athena for the Eastern U.S.

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:57 PM GMT on November 07, 2012

Share this Blog
30
+

Winter Storm Warnings are up for Southwest New Jersey, Northern Delaware, and Southeast Pennsylvania, including Philadelphia, PA, where Winter Storm Athena is expected to drop 3 - 5" of snow today through Thursday morning. Slushy accumulations of up to 1" are likely in Baltimore, and non-accumulating snow will fall as far south as Washington, DC. Athena, the season's first Nor'easter and first winter storm to get a name under The Weather Channel's new naming system, is spreading rain and high winds into Southern New Jersey and Eastern Long Island, NY this morning. Winds at buoy 44025, about 40 miles offshore from the coast of Central New Jersey, reached 40 mph, gusting to 49 mph, with a significant wave height of 14', at noon EST. Winds at Nantucket, MA have gusted as high as 54 mph this morning. Athena is building a storm surge that has already reached 2.2' at Atlantic City and 1.8' at New York City as of noon EST. A storm surge of 2 - 3.5' is likely along the section of coast most heavily damaged by Sandy's storm surge, and battering waves up to 20' high will cause moderate beach erosion along much of the New Jersey and New York shoreline. The storm surge will cause minor to moderate flooding during this afternoon's high tide cycle near 1 pm EST, and again at the next high tide, near 1 am EST Thursday morning. Fortunately, the high tides this week will be some of the lowest of the month, since we are midway between the new moon and full moon. Wind gusts from Athena will likely reach 50 mph along the coasts of New Jersey and Southern Long Island, NY, and could hit 60 mph on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. I expect that Athena's winds, rains, and wet, heavy snows will cause up to 50,000 new power outages today. As of early Wednesday morning, 676,000 customers were still without power in the wake of Hurricane Sandy (down from a peak of 8.5 million customers.)


Figure 1. Winter Storm Athena as seen at 9:01 am EST November 7, 2012. Image credit: NOAA/GSFC.


Figure 2. Predicted storm surge at Sandy Hook, NJ, for Winter Storm Athena, from the experimental Extratropical Storm Surge model, run by NOAA's Meteorological Development Laboratory. This model used winds from this morning's 6Z (1 am EDT) run of the GFS model. The peak storm surge (yellowish-brown line) is predicted to be 3.4', occurring Wednesday evening. High tide (green line) occurs near 1 pm Wednesday afternoon, resulting in a peak storm tide of approximately 7.2' around 1 pm Wednesday (black line). For comparison, Sandy delivered a 8.6' storm surge to Sandy Hook before their tide gauge failed, with the storm tide reaching 13.2' above MLLW (Mean Lower Low Water.)

The decision to name Athena
The Weather Channel announced in October that they would begin naming winter storms this year, in an effort to aid in raising awareness and reduce the risks the public faces. One of the main criteria for naming a storm is its impact on populated areas; the meteorology of the storm may not get it named, if the storm doesn't affect a populated area. If Hurricane Sandy had not devastated the region of coast being affected by today's Winter Storm Athena, it may not have gotten a name. With so many people still under recovery efforts even well inland, the combination of heavy, wet snow and wind prompted the decision to name Athena. The models have been trending towards more cold air getting pulled into this system, so it is possible Athena could drop heavier snows than currently advertised. The National Weather Service will not be referring to today's Nor'easter as "Athena". They put out this internal directive: "The NWS does not use named winter storms in our products. Please refrain from using the term Athena in any of our products."

Here are the peak wind gusts from Athena as of 11 am EST on Wednesday, November 7, 2012:



Jeff Masters

Reader Comments

Comments will take a few seconds to appear.

Post Your Comments

Please sign in to post comments.

or Join

Not only will you be able to leave comments on this blog, but you'll also have the ability to upload and share your photos in our Wunder Photos section.

Display: 0, 50, 100, 200 Sort: Newest First - Order Posted

Viewing: 61 - 11

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13Blog Index

Well i see obama won, climate must be better already lol.

Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9759
Quoting LargoFl:
I agree, especially when they have close to or above the hurricane force wind threshold, they can be just as destructive as summer hurricanes sometimes,but there has to be some kind of threshold numbers that must be reached before a name gets tagged onto it..like hurricane force winds and a foot of snow etc..


The only threshold seems to be where is going to be affected ...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting ARiot:
If naming storms resulted in people being more weather-aware and prepared, I would support it being led by the NWS.

With the significant odds of AGW systemically impacting the severity of the weather, the NWS has a huge challenge of educating the public.

As far as TWC goes, it's infotainment -- a double-edged sword.
NWS has said No names for winter storms and dont associate any of their warnings etc to a name...they dont want to do it
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 42085
now IF..this was July..surely THIS storm would have a Name..HUDSON CANYON TO BALTIMORE CANYON INCLUDING THE WATERS W OF
39.3N 71.9W...SW TO 37.7N 72.9W
1000 AM EST WED NOV 7 2012

...HURRICANE FORCE WIND WARNING...

.THIS AFTERNOON...N TO NE WINDS 35 TO 45 KT INCREASING TO 50 TO
65 KT...THEN BECOMING N TO NW. SEAS 10 TO 19 FT BUILDING TO 20
TO 28 FT. AREAS OF RAIN. A CHANCE OF TSTMS FAR E.
.TONIGHT...N TO NW WINDS DIMINISHING TO 35 TO 45 KT. SEAS 13 TO
23 FT SUBSIDING TO 12 TO 17 FT. AREAS OF RAIN. A CHANCE OF TSTMS
FAR NE.
.THU...NW WINDS DIMINISHING TO 20 TO 30 KT. SEAS SUBSIDING TO 8
TO 13 FT...HIGHEST E. A CHANCE OF SHOWERS.
.THU NIGHT...NW WINDS 20 TO 25 KT. SEAS SUBSIDING TO 7 TO 10 FT.
.FRI...NW WINDS DIMINISHING TO 10 TO 15 KT. SEAS SUBSIDING TO 3
TO 5 FT.
.SAT...WINDS DIMINISHING TO VARIABLE 10 KT OR LESS. SEAS
SUBSIDING TO 2 TO 4 FT.
.SUN...WINDS BECOMING S TO SW 10 KT OR LESS. SEAS 2 TO 3 FT.
$$
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 42085
If naming storms resulted in people being more weather-aware and prepared, I would support it being led by the NWS.

With the significant odds of AGW systemically impacting the severity of the weather, the NWS has a huge challenge of educating the public.

As far as TWC goes, it's infotainment -- a double-edged sword.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
guess there is no weather or storm to talk about huh.......
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 42085
Quoting 900MB:
Not buying into the naming of winter storms.



it is what it is
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting JeffMasters:
I like the idea of naming winter storms, though I agree it would be better if the NWS were on board with this idea.

Jeff Masters
I agree, especially when they have close to or above the hurricane force wind threshold, they can be just as destructive as summer hurricanes sometimes,but there has to be some kind of threshold numbers that must be reached before a name gets tagged onto it..like hurricane force winds and a foot of snow etc..
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 42085
Quoting WaterWitch11:
does anyone know why they started naming the storms? and what qualifies one to get named? thanks


How about if we name them after Animals, instead of Humans?
Winter Storm Ardvark, Armadillo, Alpaca
Winter Storm Beaver
Winter Storm Crow
Winter Storm Sloth
Winter Storm Tapir
OK... an idea whose time has not come... ever?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:

All the best to the people in the wake of this ...

If Athena wasn't a nor'easter she should have been a good sign for the new presidentship. Wiki: "Athena is the goddess of wisdom, courage, inspiration, civilization, law and justice, just warfare, mathematics, strength, strategy, the arts, crafts, and skill." Good luck to everyone abroad!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting danielb1023:
What does this mean for Northern Jersey? Our forecast has been almost an afterthought? No winter weather advisories or anything for Western Essex County...


I am in the exact same area and I've been checking the NWS all morning. It looks like all we have for the moment is a wind advisory, which could be bad news for tree and power crews (but sounds a lot less terrifying than last week all the same!) and some mixed precip. Fingers crossed that we don't get anything worse!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Classic look of an intensifying Nor'easter.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
Guys, please tell me what complaining on the blog is going to do. Nothing you say is going to influence them not to name it. No point complaining and arguing about it.


Arguing over naming storms, arguing over who won president...

Welcome to "The Divided States of America"

There are now 43 days till 12-21-12
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting TropicTraveler:
Ah the fiscal cliff. Maybe we could start naming political storms, Hmmm. What sort of names would be good for political storms?


Hot Wind Warning?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
Guys, please tell me what complaining on the blog is going to do. Nothing you say is going to influence them not to name it. No point complaining and arguing about it.


G'morning TA,
I hope you realize that not all bloggers here are"Guy's"
And Dr. Masters brought up the subject of winter storm naming so it's out here for discussion..
Not trying to argue with with you..just sayin'.. :)
Member Since: August 13, 2009 Posts: 13 Comments: 6915
People don't like changes I guess...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Not buying into the naming of winter storms.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Ah the fiscal cliff. Maybe we could start naming political storms, Hmmm. What sort of names would be good for political storms?
Member Since: July 24, 2007 Posts: 2 Comments: 927
Quoting Progster:


from wikipedia:

Inspired by the practice of the U.S. National Weather Service to assign names to hurricanes and typhoons, a student at the Free University of Berlin (FU), Karla Wege, suggested in 1954 that all high- and low-pressure systems affecting Europe should be given names in order to make tracking the systems simpler. Lows were given female names and highs male names.[3][4] This practice was soon adopted by the German media.

In 1998, the system changed to alternating male and female names for highs and lows each year. In November 2002, the Adopt-a-Vortex scheme was started, which allows members of the public to buy names that will then be assigned to storms during each year. The money raised by this is used by the meteorology department to maintain weather observations at the FU.[3]

The FU names became gradually known across Europe through the media. Even though these are not sanctioned by any official organizations, like the World Meteorological Organization, they are commonly used. However, a storm may still be named differently in different country. For instance, the Norwegian weather service also names independently notable storms that affect Norway.[5]


Although I'm not in favor of the practice unless its picked up by NWS, and some criteria are developed, I do like the "adopt a vortex" idea.


Thanks for that Progster,
Helps me understand the way they implemented their system through a neutral university format.
I'm dissapointed we in the States didn't utilize our NWS and went commercial with the idea..
There must be a reason..but why..kinda bugs me.
Member Since: August 13, 2009 Posts: 13 Comments: 6915
Wonder how long it's going to take for NBC to start naming winter storms after their shows? We'll have Winter Storm Leno and Winter Storm The Voice.

And soon we'll have to endure hearing about fall storms (to coincide with the new TV season) that will be named after new shows: Autumn Storm Revolution, etc.

I'm so sick of all this marketing the weather, and it's sad to see Wunderground being sucked into it all. To paraphrase Dylan, "You don't need a weatherman to know which way the money blows."

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Guys, please tell me what complaining on the blog is going to do. Nothing you say is going to influence them not to name it. No point complaining and arguing about it.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting luvtogolf:
Just checked and I see that the stock market is down big today. Gee, I wonder if they are reacting to the our Nor'easter Athena?


Uh...no.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting luvtogolf:
Just checked and I see that the stock market is down big today. Gee, I wonder if they are reacting to the our Nor'easter?


The head of the European bank was underscoring the weakness of the European economy, and the pending fiscal cliff have driven stocks down.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting luvtogolf:
Just checked and I see that the stock market is down big today. Gee, I wonder if they are reacting to the our Nor'easter?


There was also this little storm called 2012 Presidential Election... :)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
I see no benefit from designating "Athena". Just a publicity stunt.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting plutorising:


i believe most people get their weather off the weather channel in the states, and don't much listen to radio at all anymore.

People do listen to radios in their cars.
Member Since: July 24, 2007 Posts: 2 Comments: 927
Quoting pcola57:


Do they have a commercial "weather channel" name their winter systems or is there a Met. org. for that???
Anyone??


from wikipedia:

Inspired by the practice of the U.S. National Weather Service to assign names to hurricanes and typhoons, a student at the Free University of Berlin (FU), Karla Wege, suggested in 1954 that all high- and low-pressure systems affecting Europe should be given names in order to make tracking the systems simpler. Lows were given female names and highs male names.[3][4] This practice was soon adopted by the German media.

In 1998, the system changed to alternating male and female names for highs and lows each year. In November 2002, the Adopt-a-Vortex scheme was started, which allows members of the public to buy names that will then be assigned to storms during each year. The money raised by this is used by the meteorology department to maintain weather observations at the FU.[3]

The FU names became gradually known across Europe through the media. Even though these are not sanctioned by any official organizations, like the World Meteorological Organization, they are commonly used. However, a storm may still be named differently in different country. For instance, the Norwegian weather service also names independently notable storms that affect Norway.[5]


Although I'm not in favor of the practice unless its picked up by NWS, and some criteria are developed, I do like the "adopt a vortex" idea.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
I like the idea of naming the storms but agree it was a little late to name this one. My thoughts are with all of those storm victims whose power is still off or whose homes are still damaged, and now they have to go through another storm. Hope they keep generators, grills, and other open flames outside and well away from dwellings. I've read already that there are deaths from people having generators inside. So sad to live through a terrible storm and die from a generator's fumes.
Member Since: July 24, 2007 Posts: 2 Comments: 927
Quoting WaterWitch11:
does anyone know why they started naming the storms? and what qualifies one to get named? thanks



here the blog


Link
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Just checked and I see that the stock market is down big today. Gee, I wonder if they are reacting to the our Nor'easter Athena?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Its only one commerical Company that is calling it a name , checked other weather sites today and the name is not mentioned . But is it a coincidence that the Mid west storm of last month was ignored and this one is named when all eyes on the area affected as they are only recovering from Sandy. Until the authorities ie the NWS call it a name I wont be ...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting JeffMasters:
I like the idea of naming winter storms, though I agree it would be better if the NWS were on board with this idea.

Jeff Masters


This is to get confusing. Have we not already had Winter Storm Adam (Clipper in North Dakota) or was that designated by a seperate entity. If we have two different entities designating storms, ooooo the confusion
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting danielb1023:
What does this mean for Northern Jersey? Our forecast has been almost an afterthought? No winter weather advisories or anything for Western Essex County...


Try this..
Member Since: August 13, 2009 Posts: 13 Comments: 6915
Quoting WaterWitch11:
does anyone know why they started naming the storms? and what qualifies one to get named? thanks



trying too find the blog dr m did on that so you can look at it but I cant find it it would have evere thing you need too no
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting AussieStorm:Also it all depends on how many subscribers TWC has in effected areas. [snip]My guess is these people will get there information from local radio which will not use "Athena" but just Nor'easter or Storm.


i believe most people get their weather off the weather channel in the states, and don't much listen to radio at all anymore.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting MahFL:
They name storms in Europe, so it's not a new idea. I don't see anyone complaining about named storms in Europe. Also I beleive Dr Masters has free say in his beliefs, if he did disagree all he had to say very diplomatically is he didn't think the idea was 100 solid, but would embrace it and see how the public react. As it is Dr Masters says he agrees.


Do they have a commercial "weather channel" name their winter systems or is there a Met. org. for that???
Anyone??
Member Since: August 13, 2009 Posts: 13 Comments: 6915
does anyone know why they started naming the storms? and what qualifies one to get named? thanks
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting JerseyCapewxguy:
I don't think naming winter systems is a smart idea. Too confusing, given that tropical systems are also named.

IMO, what they could/ should have done is name them with "numbers". i,e. "winter storm 1", then 2, 3...etc etc.

THat would have distinguished them more clearly from tropical systems.


They are using the term "Winter Storm" before the name of the system, just like with the tropical systems they have "tropical storm" or "hurricane". As long as you use the prefix there should not be any confusion...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
.
Member Since: August 13, 2009 Posts: 13 Comments: 6915
They name storms in Europe, so it's not a new idea. I don't see anyone complaining about named storms in Europe. Also I beleive Dr Masters has free say in his beliefs, if he did disagree all he had to say very diplomatically is he didn't think the idea was 100% solid, but would embrace it and see how the public react. As it is Dr Masters says he agrees.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting JeffMasters:
I like the idea of naming winter storms, though I agree it would be better if the NWS were on board with this idea.

Jeff Masters


I like the named winter storms also. Hopefully since the names are quite different than the more conventional tropical system names, people will be able to differentiate between the two.

List of storm names from Dr. Master's blog Link

When is the last time you saw a tropical weather system named Ukko, Freyr, or Gandolf???
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
I don't think naming winter systems is a smart idea. Too confusing, given that tropical systems are also named.

IMO, what they could/ should have done is name them with "numbers". i,e. "winter storm 1", then 2, 3...etc etc.

THat would have distinguished them more clearly from tropical systems.

What they also could do to go in tandem with this is develop a winter storm scale similar to the saffir simpson type scale for the numbered winter storms/ nor'easters.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Thanks for the new blog Dr. Masters. If TWC insists on naming winter storms IMO they waited too long to name Athena. We've known the storm was coming days ago. If the purpose of naming winter storms is to give advanced warning to folks, this first attempt is too late.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Dr. Masters, I'm wondering why today's forecast high temps have dropped about 10 degrees from yesterday's predicted values. Has the storm track changed?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Thanks Dr. Masters..
If NWS was involved it would give TWC's new "idea" some credibility.
Personally i believe NWS should implement this idea..
They do after all name our tropical storms,not TWC..
None the less,i hope the effects are minimal with this storm..
Thanks again..
Member Since: August 13, 2009 Posts: 13 Comments: 6915
Quoting JeffMasters:
I like the idea of naming winter storms, though I agree it would be better if the NWS were on board with this idea.

Jeff Masters


I do think its a step in the right direction. It's not like we have a system that is currently in place right now to be confused with another. We need something that can be used as an easy tool to help bring awareness to people in an affected area that would help minimize damage, give people time to plan accordingly, and in the end help save lives.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting AETHOMAS:
Thanks Dr. Masters. People can more easily remember names, not dates and numbers. I think naming winter storms will have the storms stick into people's heads a long time. :)

I think it will be remembered as the nor'easter after "Super-Storm Sandy" not as "Athena"
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15977
Quoting Neapolitan:
As is their right. It'll be interesting to look back a number of years from now and see whether TWC gives up the naming idea, or the NWS adopts the practice. (FWIW, my money is on some form of the latter.)I doubt anyone will think they're tropical, especially since most people don't have the vaguest idea what that term means. To most non-weather nerds I know, a storm is a storm is a storm.

"The price of corporate servitude"? Really? ;-)


Really, Neo. Jeff has to use a marketing strategy now in his summaries. That's science?...nope, not in my books. Does it add information that helps the public..au contraire, it risks confusing them.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Thanks Dr. Masters. People can more easily remember names, not dates and numbers. I think naming winter storms will have the storms stick into people's heads a long time. :)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:

Viewing: 61 - 11

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13Blog Index

Top of Page

About

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

Local Weather

Overcast
30 °F
Overcast

JeffMasters's Recent Photos

Lake Effort Snow Shower Over Windsor, Ontario
Sunset on Dunham Lake
Pictured Rocks Sunset
Sunset on Lake Huron