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 SyriboTigereyes:

The biggest problem I'm having is that I have not been able to get through to my doctors offices (Any of them) in a week. And I need to see him on Monday as I have two prescriptions I need to get that day and have them filled. But I literally can't get through to anyone, and it's freaking me out. I will be in the ER if I am not able to get these filled.. I've never experienced a situation like this before. And they are not medications I can just go to any doctor, not even my primary care doctor, to get.

Right now, I'm starting to not even care about our power because all I can think about is this. And all of the other people going through the same problems. Doctors offices not open, not having enough gas to get there, not able to get their medications or treatment. I haven't been able to get any procedures either this week or last, and I usually go every week or two. Sandy is the gift that keeps on giving.
Sorry to hear that. Try to talk to your pharmacist and explain the problems getting ahold of the doctor. They may give you a couple of pills to hold you over. It happened down here after a hurricane. Especially if the medication is the type you should not be without.
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

Let's not forget the year we are currently living in.


very true. I'll probably get trolled, again lol

But, I did see 18 tornadoes in this down year, so who knows!
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Quoting fsumet:
The NWS will not "come on board". The NWS was completely blindsided by this marketing tactic that the weather channel decided to use. If they wanted the NWS to go along with them, it would have helped if they at least had a conversation with them beforehand. Since the weather channel refuses to believe the west coast actually exists, some really powerful storms would not get names out there. There was no study done as to what constitutes a name other than it would impact a lot of people (ones that they market to). It was a good idea that they went about completely the wrong way. 


i think if it actually snowed at sea level where most people live out westit would be moe of an issue. I know it occasionally does around seattle and portland, but its snows more often in atlanta than it does there unless you have a crazy winter like last year. not many people live above 5000ft on the west coast. its the same on the east, they never talk about the adirondacks getting snow or heavy winds while its snowing in NYC or DC, If seattle gets snow like last year im sure they will put Jim there, just like they did last year. The constant low pressure systems that roll into the north west are so normal they are just not that important just like it gets 120 in death valley all summer
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Quoting tornadodude:
Texas Panhandle Saturday, may have to make a drive out there




Let's not forget the year we are currently living in.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 31430
Quoting Thundercloud01221991:
why isnt the storm that is hitting MT getting a name. It has a blizzard associated with it


Because it's not a highly populated area, so, in short, the weather channel wouldn't make much money off of it.
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Quoting riblet2000:
I know there already has been a lot of talk about TWC's storm naming but really, this is merely a way for them to brand and market winter storms, not some "safety program". It's one thing for the Weather Service to name tropical storms--they are the official source for weather information in the US--but a private commercial entity doing it smacks of blatant marketing and commercialism. Having this place carrying water for it is just sad...shows how easily money corrupts science. Prior to TWC's purchase this was a trusted independent site. Now I'm not so sure.

Do you work for The Weather Channel?
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 31430
why isnt the storm that is hitting MT getting a name. It has a blizzard associated with it
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Texas Panhandle Saturday, may have to make a drive out there



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i wonder if the storm will intake much of that tropical moisture before moving out...
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The NWS will not "come on board". The NWS was completely blindsided by this marketing tactic that the weather channel decided to use. If they wanted the NWS to go along with them, it would have helped if they at least had a conversation with them beforehand. Since the weather channel refuses to believe the west coast actually exists, some really powerful storms would not get names out there. There was no study done as to what constitutes a name other than it would impact a lot of people (ones that they market to). It was a good idea that they went about completely the wrong way. 
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Quoting 900MB:
About an inch of slushy snow on the sidewalks here in NYC. Temp below forecast at 32 degrees and the snow is coming down heavy. This is nuts!!!
just got to get pass this one then a nice warm up coming for ya 60's or warmer by weekend
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Jim Cantore‏@JimCantore

Heavier snow continues around #NYC and most of central New Jersey including the shoreline: http://radar.weather.gov/ridge/radar.php?product=N 0R&rid=dix&loop=yes … #NJwx
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I know there already has been a lot of talk about TWC's storm naming but really, this is merely a way for them to brand and market winter storms, not some "safety program". It's one thing for the Weather Service to name tropical storms--they are the official source for weather information in the US--but a private commercial entity doing it smacks of blatant marketing and commercialism. Having this place carrying water for it is just sad...shows how easily money corrupts science. Prior to TWC's purchase this was a trusted independent site. Now I'm not so sure.
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48 sJim Cantore‏@JimCantore

Looks like one of the heavier #Snow bands now has rotated into Philly: http://radar.weather.gov/ridge/radar.php?product=N 0R&rid=dix&loop=yes …
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Quoting SyriboTigereyes:

It really is no joke! And the pressure changes haven't been helping. I have a neuro-inflammatory chronic pain disease. Even worse than imagining not having pain medication for the pain itself, is the withdrawal symptoms that will begin very quickly. That frightens me much much more.

I've been trying to call again for the last hour, nothing. I can't even get through to my doctors business/office/surgical coordinator/manager that I talk to multiple times a week, have her cell phone number, and have become really close with. Her phone is not even working, I have no clue what is going on.

And to think that outages are already starting again. Heck, my vet just had a transformer blow outside of the clinic after finally getting power back recently. I really hope that after this storm, mother nature will leave us alone for a bit!


I do disaster work and know that this is a frequent problem in shelters where people leave in a hurry without their prescriptions. Doctors have to be found to prescribe and people have to be helped to get things refilled. I wonder if your local Red Cross can give you advice.
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246. 900MB
About an inch of slushy snow on the sidewalks here in NYC. Temp below forecast at 32 degrees and the snow is coming down heavy. This is nuts!!!
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Quoting LargoFl:
well its been there..for several weeks now..why..isnt it a tropical something by now?

That area of shower and thunderstorm activity in the southwestern Caribbean is associated with the Panama low—a semi-permanent feature of low pressure and increased rainfall. This is never a threat to develop.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 31430
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It's actually snowing pretty badly here, can't believe it's sticking so well. The only "good" thing is that the wind doesn't seem that bad yet. It was picking up before, but then it seemed to die down again.. not too many gusts in my immediate area.
Member Since: September 12, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 140
Quoting LargoFl:
well its been there..for several weeks now..why..isnt it a tropical something by now?<

This particular blob has not been there for several weeks. That area has been blobless for several days.
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Winter Storm Athena is pulling a lot of cold air down on its backside. We never made it to 50 °F yesterday and have barely made it there today. Freeze warnings are in effect here tonight as we should dip into the low to mid 30s.

Brrr...
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 31430
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Quoting indianrivguy:


I was in Guys and Dolls. Played Arvide Abernathy.. had a solo; "More I cannot wish you"

Some cool stuff.. the Lyric Theater General Manager was the son of Frank Loesser, who wrote the play. Later, during the summer Guys and Dolls Jr. I watched his Granddaughter audition for, and get the part of Big Jule.. she was 8ish.. in a Top Hat and Cane.. knocked the house OUT..

...With a sheeps' eye
And a lickerish tooth....

IRG...........What a wonderful little venue the Lyric is...... Downtown Stuart is also a wonderful place.. I try get up there at least once a month
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51 sAccuWeather.com‏@breakingweather

New York City reporting a quarter of a mile visibility as snow falls in Central Park
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Quoting SyriboTigereyes:

I've actually been doing that too, I usually talk with her through texts a lot. But for some reason, these last two days I've been having trouble with my messages going through to certain people.

The one thing about calling the ER and going there, is that no matter what kind of problem or disease you have, they will look at you as a drug addict. Even with a copy of all of your records, your surgeries, your procedures, your prescription history for years showing not one early refill and the same medication from the same doctor. I am just praying that something will give by Friday.. Today is one of my doctors surgery dates, but I'm not even sure if the surgical center is up and running yet! I am so glad I didn't have the spinal cord stimulator implanted right before this storm, God forbid I had a problem or any questions! But the date for the surgery is getting closer.. and I have to say.. weather events like this have now kind of scared me a bit away from the implant, because it's quite scary being under the care of a doctor for so many years and finding it literally impossible to get through to the office and find out anything.

And like someone said, I am definitely not the only person going through this! Terrible.



It's your choice - though they may be more understanding during a weather event.

Member Since: September 4, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 149
Quoting Grothar:


I blobserve my blob is still there! It's so blobvious.

i want it to be Valerie, even though it's highly unlikely to be.
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Quoting aspectre:
182 Matthias1967: According to Merriam-Webster, guys is used in plural to refer to the members of a group regardless of sex

Make that gender. So Guys and Dolls was about... nothin' new I guess...
...even Shakespeare was fond of pointing out that gender roles should be As You Like It.


I was in Guys and Dolls. Played Arvide Abernathy.. had a solo; "More I cannot wish you"

Some cool stuff.. the Lyric Theater General Manager was the son of Frank Loesser, who wrote the play. Later, during the summer Guys and Dolls Jr. I watched his Granddaughter audition for, and get the part of Big Jule.. she was 8ish.. in a Top Hat and Cane.. knocked the house OUT..

...With a sheeps' eye
And a lickerish tooth....

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Quoting whitewabit:


Try texting the mobile number you have .. they will get through sometimes when calls won't ..

I've actually been doing that too, I usually talk with her through texts a lot. But for some reason, these last two days I've been having trouble with my messages going through to certain people.

The one thing about calling the ER and going there, is that no matter what kind of problem or disease you have, they will look at you as a drug addict. Even with a copy of all of your records, your surgeries, your procedures, your prescription history for years showing not one early refill and the same medication from the same doctor. I am just praying that something will give by Friday.. Today is one of my doctors surgery dates, but I'm not even sure if the surgical center is up and running yet! I am so glad I didn't have the spinal cord stimulator implanted right before this storm, God forbid I had a problem or any questions! But the date for the surgery is getting closer.. and I have to say.. weather events like this have now kind of scared me a bit away from the implant, because it's quite scary being under the care of a doctor for so many years and finding it literally impossible to get through to the office and find out anything.

And like someone said, I am definitely not the only person going through this! Terrible.
Member Since: September 12, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 140
Well, up here in Montana, it is balmy and in the mid-60's...awesomely fab for this time of year, in contradistinction to forecasted weather due soon: Snow, cold and more snow then colder, highs probably only in the single digits for Saturday, and we DO have a winter storm warning up.

As a matter of fact I DO have a name for this sort of thing this early, however, this being a family site, it probably remains best unshared.
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Quoting DocNDswamp:
Hmmm, following TWC's lead naming winter storm "Athena"...
Perhaps we might consider earthquake "Cizin, 2012" just occurred in Guatemala???

Best wishes to those seriously affected by both and sincerely hope the consequences of the latter doesn't come close to deserve invoking the Mayan god's name.


I lived in that part of Guatemala for something over a year as a health care worker. They suffer a lot from poverty, volcanoes, hurricanes, and earthquakes.

Definately in my thoughts and prayers.

Member Since: September 4, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 149
228. whitewabit (Mod)
Quoting SyriboTigereyes:

It really is no joke! And the pressure changes haven't been helping. I have a neuro-inflammatory chronic pain disease. Even worse than imagining not having pain medication for the pain itself, is the withdrawal symptoms that will begin very quickly. That frightens me much much more.

I've been trying to call again for the last hour, nothing. I can't even get through to my doctors business/office/surgical coordinator/manager that I talk to multiple times a week, have her cell phone number, and have become really close with. Her phone is not even working, I have no clue what is going on.

And to think that outages are already starting again. Heck, my vet just had a transformer blow outside of the clinic after finally getting power back recently. I really hope that after this storm, mother nature will leave us alone for a bit!


Try texting the mobile number you have .. they will get through sometimes when calls won't ..
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Hmmm, following TWC's lead naming winter storm "Athena"...
Perhaps we might consider earthquake "Cizin, 2012" just occurred in Guatemala???

Best wishes to those seriously affected by both and sincerely hope the consequences of the latter doesn't come close to deserve invoking the Mayan god's name.
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A little patch of convective clouds has developed directly over the surface low of the nor'easter. This is due to latent heat release at the center of the warm seclusion. This is actually the same process that occurs in tropical cyclones (although this storm is very far from being tropical).





Member Since: August 2, 2006 Posts: 46 Comments: 11665
221 ncstorm: [quoting NWS] "...While the National Weather Service does not name winter storms, we do rate major winter storms after the fact."

Probably would have been very useful Warning of Severity to have Named what after-the-fact became known as the JoplinOutbreak before it broke Joplin.
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Quoting SyriboTigereyes:

It really is no joke! And the pressure changes haven't been helping. I have a neuro-inflammatory chronic pain disease.


You can call an emergency room as well and ask to speak to a nurse. They may be able to work something through the hospital pharmacy if you can't reach your local source.

Best of luck.

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Member Since: April 29, 2006 Posts: 151 Comments: 18349
Quoting TropicTraveler:


That is such a shame. Keep trying. I'd try one of my other doctors and explain the situation to them and see if they can help out on a temporary basis. Pain is no joke if you are the one having it.

It really is no joke! And the pressure changes haven't been helping. I have a neuro-inflammatory chronic pain disease. Even worse than imagining not having pain medication for the pain itself, is the withdrawal symptoms that will begin very quickly. That frightens me much much more.

I've been trying to call again for the last hour, nothing. I can't even get through to my doctors business/office/surgical coordinator/manager that I talk to multiple times a week, have her cell phone number, and have become really close with. Her phone is not even working, I have no clue what is going on.

And to think that outages are already starting again. Heck, my vet just had a transformer blow outside of the clinic after finally getting power back recently. I really hope that after this storm, mother nature will leave us alone for a bit!
Member Since: September 12, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 140
Quoting Grothar:


I'm blobless, down here......
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I think there is some charm to naming the big winter storms. Making up names for hurricanes is not any sillier and it does get people to pay attention.

I believe the NWS deserves total props for the fine work they do and the many lives they have saved.

That said - I think it is pretty over the top to say that anyone actually "owns" the weather.

If TWC can make a forecast then there is no reason why they can't name a storm. Whoever named the first hurricane probably didn't have official "permission" either.

Dr. Master's is right - having the NWS on board looks cleaner. Time will tell if naming the storms is useful and accepted.

Athena is frosting my front yard quite nicely now over the few leaves that Sandy left behind.

I just hope she doesn't get stuck.

2c.



Member Since: September 4, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 149
Approaching 4 inches of snow here in Naugatuck, CT.

Winds have been very gusty, maybe close to 50MPH.
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Quoting calkevin77:


"Back in St. Olaf..." :)


LOL. Luckily I was from St. Gustav.
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AccuWeather.com‏@breakingweather

New power outages have occurred in Bergen County, N.J. Wind is the more likely cause than snow, but that part is unconfirmed.
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Quoting aspectre:
207 TomballTXPride: That particular handle is a computer program I think. The way it quotes user seems consistent with an animated program that responds to random comments.

techno-heuristic electro-kronic interlacing device. 2847 is the year of my manufacture
Very good year....Remember it well
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207 TomballTXPride: That particular handle is a computer program I think. The way it quotes user seems consistent with an animated program that responds to random comments.

techno-heuristic electro-kronal interlacing device. 2847 is the year of my manufacture.
A ghost in the machine, so to speak.
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Quoting Matthias1967:


Actually I was slightly involved into German Wikipedia's list List of those storms and at the time we did not get it that Norway was using it's own naming system, we were pretty confused, so for some time Per was considered within us Wikipedians as a fake. Just figured out that we never corrected that.

However, though the systems got named from the 1950s onwards many of those earlier hurricane-force winds got named by a ship which they sunk, e.g. Capella-Orkan or Adolph-Bermpohl-Orkan or with some rare occasions when a region was hit, e.g. the Westeuropa-Orkan. Note that "Orkan" is derived from "huracán" and depicts storms with wind speeds in Beaufort strength 12, or hurricane-force winds. Basically the etymology of the word "Orkan" in German and "hurricane" in English is identic.


Yes, I learned that when I went to school in Germany for 5 years. German is actually my first language. We lived in Norway first but I was born on Long Island.

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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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