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

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

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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

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Quoting wxchaser97:

I would like a coke ICEE and a medium fry please, jk.

I just found out not too long ago there even was an earthquake. Is there a lot of damage?


That doesn't sound too bad right about now lol
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

Look who decided to pop in...


Super busy with life, so I got a night off and decided to come on :)
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Quoting tornadodude:


lol old man? Im 21

I wasn't talking about you. lol
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15932
Quoting Tazmanian:



for the ones that missed it can all ways look at commet 299 or go back too a few pages am getting sick of you guys posting the same thing overe and overe




knock it off I find it vary annyouing that I find some of you posting the same thing overe and overe like you guys do with the twos and nhc abvies I find it this a wast a blog space you olny need too post it one time per blog page not two too 3 time per blog page

I think many are starting to find you annoying...
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Quoting caneswatch:


Taz, be nice. This is not Burger King, you can't have it your way on here.


Hold the pickles, hold the lettuce, your posts will not upset us.....:)
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Quoting ces15hurricanes:
the season of winter storms will be appear in wikipedia???


Not going to happen...
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Quoting caneswatch:


Taz, be nice. This is not Burger King, you can't have it your way on here.

I would like a coke ICEE and a medium fry please, jk.
Quoting allancalderini:
base on local newspaper 39 and 100 missing.

I just found out not too long ago there even was an earthquake. Is there a lot of damage?
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Now this is a text book Nor' Easter. The upper low has come to a crawl and as such we should see a pivot in the precipitation shield centered over the New York City metropolitan area. In short, we have a while to go with this snow storm.---Meteorologist Steve Dimartino
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Quoting caneswatch:


Taz, be nice. This is not Burger King, you can't have it your way on here.

Look who decided to pop in...
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 31520
...As the nor'easter closed in, thousands of people in low-lying neighborhoods staggered by the superstorm just over a week ago were urged to clear out. Authorities warned that rain and 60 mph gusts in the evening and overnight could swamp homes all over again, topple trees wrenched loose by Sandy, and erase some of the hard-won progress made in restoring power to millions of customers.

"I am waiting for the locusts and pestilence next," New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said. "We may take a setback in the next 24 hours."

Ahead of the storm, public works crews in New Jersey built up dunes to protect the stripped and battered coast, and new evacuations were ordered in a number of communities already emptied by Sandy. New shelters opened.

via AP
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Quoting Tazmanian:



for the ones that missed it can all ways look at commet 299 or go back too a few pages am getting sick of you guys posting the same thing overe and overe




knock it off I find it vary annyouing that I find some of you posting the same thing overe and overe like you guys do with the twos and nhc abvies I find it this a wast a blog space you olny need too post it one time per blog page not two too 3 time per blog page


Taz, be nice. This is not Burger King, you can't have it your way on here.
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the season of winter storms will be appear in wikipedia???
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Quoting tornadodude:


lol old man? Im 21

To some people it is old...

Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
Atlantic City, New Jersey, one of the hardest-hit cities during Superstorm Sandy, before sunset:


That is making me jelly, and those areas really don't need any active weather for awhile.
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Atlantic City, New Jersey, one of the hardest-hit cities during Superstorm Sandy, before sunset:

Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 31520
I mostly agree with this graphic from TWC. I am making my own and writing a blog now.
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Quoting AussieStorm:

opps, I think we woke up the old man of the blog.... shhh shhh now now, go back to sleep. LOL.

Here is Brian Norcross on WeatherBrains a few weeks back on why TWC is going to name winter storms. Very interesting to say the least.
Fast forward to 15:50 for the start of the show.



lol old man? Im 21
Member Since: June 28, 2006 Posts: 24 Comments: 8201
Quoting Barefootontherocks:
And...
"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." (per Doc M)

Which means its very subjective.
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15932
Quoting tornadodude:


oh you poor thing.

Maybe we find it annoying when all you post about it is how annoying people are lol

opps, I think we woke up the old man of the blog.... shhh shhh now now, go back to sleep. LOL.

Here is Brian Norcross on WeatherBrains a few weeks back on why TWC is going to name winter storms. Very interesting to say the least.
Fast forward to 15:50 for the start of the show.

Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15932
Quoting Dakster:
How many people were killed in the recent Guatemalan earthquake?
base on local newspaper 39 and 100 missing.
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Quoting Dakster:
How many people were killed in the recent Guatemalan earthquake?

I think the latest is 30, but I am not entirely sure.
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How many people were killed in the recent Guatemalan earthquake?
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
If you guys were wondering what TWC's guideline to naming winter storms was, here you go.

And...
"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." (per Doc M)
Member Since: April 29, 2006 Posts: 151 Comments: 18378
I just wish there was stricter guidelines for naming a Winter Storm... such as a large area of 12 or more inches of snow. Nothing that drops under a foot really deserves to be named. That's child's play in most of the country.
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Quoting Tazmanian:



for the ones that missed it can all ways look at commet 299 or go back too a few pages am getting sick of you guys posting the same thing overe and overe




knock it off I find it vary annyouing that I find some of you posting the same thing overe and overe like you guys do with the twos and nhc abvies I find it this a wast a blog space you olny need too post it one time per blog page not two too 3 time per blog page


oh you poor thing.

Maybe we find it annoying when all you post about it is how annoying people are lol
Member Since: June 28, 2006 Posts: 24 Comments: 8201
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
Athena is producing heavy snow in and around New York City. The storm has added 100,000 homes to the list of outages in New Jersey.



The heavy snow is definitely going to keep the power crews busy.
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TA13 - You forgot the last one.

'When we feel like it.'

Not arguing about it, in fact I kind of like better than the great no'easter of XX Month of XX year... makes it easier to track/comprehend/reference - like hurricanes.

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Naugatuck, CT here

6.5 inches of snow has fallen. The snow started at 11:30AM.
Snowfall continues at 1/2 to 1 inch per hour
Winds gusting between 40 and 50MPH
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If you guys were wondering what TWC's guideline to naming winter storms was, here you go.

Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 31520
Quoting wxchaser97:
Good evening everyone, Athena is giving the coast an early snowfall. Some areas just to the NNE of NYC are now under winter storm warnings.


the mind as well put nyc under them as well....at this rate of snowfall theres no reason central park would not see over 6''
Member Since: August 4, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 570
Good evening everyone, Athena is giving the coast an early snowfall. Some areas just to the NNE of NYC are now under winter storm warnings. The call by the NWS on not using TWC names is interesting to me. I wish an official government weather branch was backing up the naming(HPC or NWS). I support the naming and think it is not a bad idea.
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Quoting AussieStorm:
For those that missed it, Here is what the NWS said about TWC naming the Nor'easter "Athena"

We rarely get something funny out of them.

Athena meaning and name origin:

Athena \a-the-na\ as a girl's name is pronounced a-THEE-nah. It is of Greek origin, and the meaning of Athena is "wise". Mythology: the virgin goddess of wisdom and war, identified with the Roman goddess Minerva. Homer, in the "Odyssey", refers to her as "gray-eyed Athena".

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We finally have Athena since this morning but cool nonetheless.I am in favor of naming this things and its just my opinion.
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Quoting tornadodude:
I heard something, was wondering if it was true or not, but the NWS doesn't want to call it Athena, that right?

I would say your correct.

Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15932
Quoting tornadodude:
I heard something, was wondering if it was true or not, but the NWS doesn't want to call it Athena, that right?

Yup look at post 323... Aussie's post
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It has been flurrying all day long off and on.... I really would like it to start snowing so I wish it came further West so more of the interior of PA would get some more snow
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I heard something, was wondering if it was true or not, but the NWS doesn't want to call it Athena, that right?
Member Since: June 28, 2006 Posts: 24 Comments: 8201
Athena is producing heavy snow in and around New York City. The storm has added 100,000 homes to the list of outages in New Jersey.

Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 31520
For those that missed it, Here is what the NWS said about TWC naming the Nor'easter "Athena"

Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15932
Quoting longislander102:
Hearing of more power outages in Massapequa now from downed power lines and transformers popping. Also heard of two houses that may be on fire down on one of Massapequa canals.

Our power is flickering. My friend on his way home from work in Lake Success saw A LOT of trees down. There are still so many leaves on the trees, they are all bending down! The snow is sticking to the leaves!

I see the LIPA outages have increased by almost 30,000 so far today.
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Posted on facebook from my friend who lives in Rhineback, NY...

Status update:
Snowing hard here upstate.. Wind gusts up to 55 mph creating blizzard conditions. On Staten Island, The Rockaways, Breezy Point, beach points on The Jersey Shore, coastal flooding, snow, high winds hitting these areas that still have no power or water. Fear of losing power to those restored. People still in homes that maintained catastrophic damage have not heeded evacuation requests. Still no gas in all above locations. Accumulations of snow up to 6 inches. Should taper off during the night. Prayers for everyone, and a big hug and shout out to our neighbors and friends on Staten Island.

Just posted that many rr suspensions with Penn Station closing.
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The NAO is expected to continue to climb rapidly for the next several days before plummeting after November 16. Our second major winter storm will probably come after that time, as the 18z GFS has just hinted at.

Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 31520
Quoting tornadodude:


as many times as someone wants to post it lol


Team Tazmanian. Blog police (yet again)

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Hearing of more power outages in Massapequa now from downed power lines and transformers popping. Also heard of two houses that may be on fire down on one of Massapequa canals.
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Quoting MAweatherboy1:
End of the 18z GFS run tonight:


What in the world is that. It's so far away, that it better not pan out.
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RSS data had the globe as the 8th warmest October since satellite records began. The US had its 6th coolest October, big change from the first nine months of the year.
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Quoting uncwhurricane85:


is that november 23?

Yep, it's wayyyyyy out there and none of the other runs have shown it so it's very unlikely to verify. Interesting to look at though.
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 82 Comments: 7633
Quoting Tazmanian:




how many time do we need too keep seeing that


as many times as someone wants to post it lol
Member Since: June 28, 2006 Posts: 24 Comments: 8201
Quoting MAweatherboy1:
End of the 18z GFS run tonight:



is that november 23?
Member Since: August 4, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 570
Quoting uncwhurricane85:


no because he didnt need to be if they did that he would be there every week thats what im saying...its just normal weather, the west coast jets straight up out of the ocean in most spots and can take these storms, the east cant! its just normal weather out there!
You seem to be focused on storm surge or something, and I doubt you looked at the wiki link I left for you. Perhaps one day you will live up that way and then you will understand what I'm saying.
Member Since: April 29, 2006 Posts: 151 Comments: 18378
End of the 18z GFS run tonight:

Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 82 Comments: 7633

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

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