Historic Nor'easter poised to slam Boston and the Northeast U.S.

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:43 PM GMT on February 07, 2013

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A potentially historic Nor'easter is brewing for the Northeast U.S., where blizzard watches are up for much of eastern Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut. The storm, dubbed "Nemo" by the Weather Channel, is expected to bring heavy snows of 1 - 2 feet, coastal wind gusts over hurricane force, and moderate to major coastal flooding. During the peak of the storm, Friday night into Saturday morning, snowfall rates of 2 - 3" per hour can be expected. These intense bursts of snow may be accompanied by lightning and thunder. The cites of Boston, Hartford, Providence, Portland, and Burlington are all likely to get more than a foot of snow, and two feet of snow will probably fall along a swath from the western suburbs of Boston to Southwest Maine. With the Nor'easter generating these heavy snows expected to bomb out with a central pressure of 972 - 976 mb, the rapid flow of air around this low pressure center will generate ferocious sustained winds near 50 mph at the coast, with wind gusts in excess of hurricane force--74 mph. The combination of heavy snow and high winds will make travel extremely dangerous or impossible, with near-zero visibility in white-out conditions. Total snowfall from the storm is likely to rank in the top ten for Boston since weather observations began at Logan Airport in 1936. According to NWS, here are the top snowstorms since 1936 for Logan Airport:

1. February 17-18, 2003 27.5"
2. February 6-7, 1978 27.1"
3. February 24-27, 1969 26.3"
4. March 31-April 1, 1997 25.4"
5. January 22-24, 1945 22.8"
6. January 22-23, 2005 22.5"
7. January 20-21, 1978 21.4"
8. March 3-5, 1960 19.8"
9. February 16-17, 1958 19.4"
10. February 8-10, 1994 18.7"
11. January 7-8, 1996 18.2"
11. December 20-22, 1975 18.2"
11. December 26-27, 2010 18.2"


Figure 1. Predicted wind speeds in knots at 7 am EST Saturday, February 9, 2013, from the 00Z February 7, 2013 run of the European (ECMWF) model. The model is predicting sustained winds of 50 knots (57.5 mph) will affect Cape Cod and Nantucket Island, Massachusetts. Multiply by 1.15 to convert knots to mph.

Serious coastal flooding expected in Massachusetts
The high winds from the storm will drive a damaging storm surge of 2 - 4' along the coast of Eastern Massachusetts Friday night and Saturday morning. Of particular concern is the flooding that will occur during the Saturday morning high tide cycle, as that is the time of the new moon, which will bring the highest tide of the month. The ocean's height in Boston varies naturally by about ten feet between low tide and high tide, so it matters greatly when the storm surge arrives, relative to the tidal cycle. Thus we speak of the "storm tide"--how how the water gets above the high tide mark, due to the combination of the storm surge and the tide. During Hurricane Sandy, on October 29, 2012, a potentially very damaging storm surge of 4.57' hit Boston, but arrived near low tide, so the water level during the peak surge did not rise above the normal high tide mark. As of noon EST on February 7, 2013, the latest storm surge forecast from the GFS model is calling for a storm tide of about 3.4' above high tide (MHHW, Mean Higher High Water) on Saturday morning, which would cause only minor flooding in Boston. This would be the 10th highest water level on record in Boston since tide gauge records began in 1921. According to former NHC storm surge expert Mike Lowry, who now works for TWC, the official top 5 storm tides at the Boston tide gauge, relative to MHHW, are:

1. 4.82' - February 7, 1978 (Blizzard of 1978)
2. 3.92' - January 2, 1987
3. 3.86' - October 30, 1991 (Perfect Storm)
4. 3.76' - January 28, 1979
5. 3.75' - December 12, 1992

More serious flooding is expected in Cape Cod Bay to the southeast of Boston, where the northeast winds from the storm will pile up a higher storm surge. A storm surge of 3 - 4' is predicted from Scituate to Sandwich Harbor Saturday morning. The surge will be accompanied by battering waves 20' feet high, and major flooding and coastal erosion is expected. Major coastal flooding is also expected on the east end of Nantucket Island.


Figure 2. Coastal flooding hazards during the high tide cycle on Saturday morning, February 9, 2013, as predicted at 12 pm EDT Thursday, February 7, 2013, by the NWS Boston.

Links:

Our news page
http://www.wunderground.com/news/

Our winter Storm page:
http://www.wunderground.com/winter-storm/nemo-2013.asp

Jeff Masters

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1039. Jedkins01
4:44 PM GMT on February 08, 2013
.
Member Since: August 21, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 6888
1038. aspectre
3:22 PM GMT on February 08, 2013
1027 WunderGirl12: geaux sneaux? what does that mean?

Cajun ;-) go snow
Member Since: August 21, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 4860
1037. pcola57
3:19 PM GMT on February 08, 2013
Quoting trHUrrIXC5MMX:


About so... if not somewhere in the Long Island Sound...

Btw.. I just watch the Accuweather storm video...Bernie Rayno called the NAM worthless...ouch!


He may have to eat his words later on..
If he will be a man about it that is..
I don't care for him anyway..
JMO of course..
Member Since: August 13, 2009 Posts: 13 Comments: 6667
1036. VR46L
3:18 PM GMT on February 08, 2013
Moisture...GOES-East US East Coast 4km Water Vapor

Member Since: March 1, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 6623
1035. WunderAlertBot (Admin)
3:17 PM GMT on February 08, 2013
JeffMasters has created a new entry.
1034. trHUrrIXC5MMX
3:17 PM GMT on February 08, 2013
10 AM NWC NYC weather discussion about NAM


DISCOUNTED 00Z NAM AND IT/S ASSOCIATED 4 INCH PLUS QPF TOTALS OVER
WESTERN CWA IN NJ.
Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14869
1033. 1900hurricane
3:17 PM GMT on February 08, 2013
Quoting Tropicsweatherpr:


Will that line cut the snowfall totals for NYC?

At least indirectly it will. Even if the rain-snow line never makes it north of New York City (which I think it will for a short time period), just being so close to the r/s line means that the snow to liquid ratio won't be so good with relatively warmer air aloft. As long as that r/s line is so close, snowfall to liquid ratios will probably be <10:1, or a very heavy and wet snow.
Member Since: August 2, 2006 Posts: 45 Comments: 11568
1032. HurrikanEB
3:15 PM GMT on February 08, 2013
Albany, NY NWS:

.NEAR TERM /THROUGH TONIGHT/...
LIGHT SNOW IS DEVELOPING OVERHEAD ACROSS THE REGION AS MOISTURE
BUILDS AND THE TWO SYSTEMS JUST BEGIN TO INTERACT WITH EACH OTHER
BEFORE THEY PHASE. THE SNOW WILL BE LIGHT AT FIRST AND ASSOCIATED
PRIMARILY WITH THE UPPER LEVEL TROF AND WEAK SURFACE LOW MOVING
THROUGH THE GREAT LAKES. WE COULD STILL SEE AN INCH OR TWO BY
SUNSET.

TRENDS IN DATA SUGGEST THE SURFACE LOW MAY BE TRACKING CLOSER TO THE
COAST AS THE CENTER IS JUST WEST OF HATTERAS...AND THE BEST
PRESSURE FALLS ARE JUST EAST OF THE NORTHERN OUTER BANKS. SOME
RAIN HAS BEEN OBSERVED OVER EASTERN LONG ISLAND AND A MIX INTO
PARTS OF NEW YORK CITY. ONCE THE UPPER DYNAMICS STRENGTHEN...A
CHANGEOVER TO SNOW SHOULD OCCUR...BUT THE RAIN/SNOW LINE WILL BE
VERY CLOSE AND COULD WAVER THROUGH THE DAY AND NIGHT DEPENDING ON
WHERE THE STORM EVENTUALLY TRACKS. IF THE RAIN/SNOW LINE SETS UP
ALONG THE COAST OR JUST INLAND...THEN THE HEAVIEST SNOW AXIS WOULD
SHIFT WEST AND NORTH. THE FRONTOGENESIS FORECAST SUGGESTS
YARDSTICKS WILL BE NEEDED TO MEASURE SNOW IN THE AXIS OF HEAVIEST
SNOW...THE NORTHWEST EDGE OF WHICH COULD SPREAD OVER A SLIGHTLY
LARGER PART OF THE FORECAST AREA.
Member Since: May 2, 2008 Posts: 12 Comments: 1289
1031. fireflymom
3:15 PM GMT on February 08, 2013
Translation-Go Snow
Quoting WunderGirl12:


geaux sneaux? what does that mean? :-/

Member Since: June 5, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 574
1030. Vindibunny
3:14 PM GMT on February 08, 2013
Quoting Tropicsweatherpr:


Will that line cut the snowfall totals for NYC?


Not really. That line is what is keeping the snowfalls totals for NYC to a foot rather than more than a foot. I'm in central New Jersey and am quite glad that the rain/snow line is doing its little dance around me. I've dug out of 2 feet of snow before. It isn't fun.
Member Since: September 1, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 17
1029. trHUrrIXC5MMX
3:13 PM GMT on February 08, 2013
Quoting 1900hurricane:

My guess is that it won't make it too much further north before the deepening storm begins tapping into the cold air from the banana high. Maybe right to about the Connecticut coastline?


About so... if not somewhere in the Long Island Sound...

Btw.. I just watch the Accuweather storm video...Bernie Rayno called the NAM worthless...ouch!
Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14869
1028. klaatuborada
3:13 PM GMT on February 08, 2013
Winds already picking up here on Cape Cod, and it's been snowing for an hour. Nothing sticking though. I'm hoping to be able to cook pretty soon, so we'll have a lot of easy heat up food over a fire. Just gusts. It's the wind I'm worried about, and falling trees.
Member Since: August 15, 2004 Posts: 23 Comments: 380
1027. WunderGirl12
3:11 PM GMT on February 08, 2013
Quoting GeorgiaStormz:


that's normal.
it's an extratropical cyclone with a large windfield blowing in from offshore...


but GEAUX SNEAUX!


geaux sneaux? what does that mean? :-/
Member Since: January 9, 2011 Posts: 23 Comments: 810
1026. Tropicsweatherpr
3:11 PM GMT on February 08, 2013
Quoting 1900hurricane:

My guess is that it won't make it too much further north before the deepening storm begins tapping into the cold air from the banana high. Maybe right to about the Connecticut coastline?


Will that line cut the snowfall totals for NYC?
Member Since: April 29, 2009 Posts: 75 Comments: 13334
1025. 1900hurricane
3:09 PM GMT on February 08, 2013
Quoting trHUrrIXC5MMX:
Rain now pushing up slowly


My guess is that it won't make it too much further north before the deepening storm begins tapping into the cold air from the banana high. Maybe right to about the Connecticut coastline?
Member Since: August 2, 2006 Posts: 45 Comments: 11568
1024. VR46L
3:07 PM GMT on February 08, 2013
GOES-East US East Coast 4km Infrared


Member Since: March 1, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 6623
1023. trHUrrIXC5MMX
3:07 PM GMT on February 08, 2013
Quoting 1900hurricane:

Here is the latest HPC analysis:



And here is the latest RAP analysis:



I know the RAP one self-updates, but I'm not sure about the HPC one (I think it does). RAP updates hourly and if HPC updates, it's every three hours.


great thanks... so now down to 994 mb...
Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14869
1022. trHUrrIXC5MMX
3:05 PM GMT on February 08, 2013
Rain now pushing up slowly

Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14869
1021. tconnell11
3:05 PM GMT on February 08, 2013
A long time lurker with a question about the low coming up the coast. It seems to me that it is moving a little faster than anticipated and pulling moisture to the northeast. Will that speed affect the phasing with the other storm? I'm in Eastern PA and it would seem that the GFS models are going to be more correct for our area and the NAM models more correct for the New England/New York City areas.
Member Since: November 6, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 0
1020. GeorgiaStormz
3:05 PM GMT on February 08, 2013
T-0 Min = LGT SNW BOS MA
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9467
1019. 1900hurricane
3:04 PM GMT on February 08, 2013
Quoting trHUrrIXC5MMX:
who has a map of the storm pressure down in the Carolinas ?

Here is the latest HPC analysis:



And here is the latest RAP analysis:



I know the RAP one self-updates, but I'm not sure about the HPC one (I think it does). RAP updates hourly and if HPC updates, it's every three hours.
Member Since: August 2, 2006 Posts: 45 Comments: 11568
1018. EricSpittle
3:01 PM GMT on February 08, 2013
http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/refresh/graphics_at3+shtm l/030836.shtml?gm_esurge

Looks to be 13-15' above normal tides at its highest
Member Since: October 26, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 162
1017. trHUrrIXC5MMX
2:59 PM GMT on February 08, 2013
Quoting TampaSpin:
The collision of the secondary Low was underestimated by models. This sytem is going to really bomb out near the Boston area ....wait to these to LoWS get together.


I actually don't wanna know that...could be deadly
Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14869
1016. suzi46
2:58 PM GMT on February 08, 2013
4" of pure powder on the ground here..no wind and just about 0F..moderate snowfall..and this isn't the BIG ONE yet..that's moving in later this afternoon into tomorrow A.M..still holding with prediction of 18/24" with high winds..just came in from shooting some shots for posting..so QUIET out there!
Member Since: February 20, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 5681
1015. trHUrrIXC5MMX
2:58 PM GMT on February 08, 2013
Quoting interstatelover7165:
Turning into moderate snow in Danbury...


the snow has grown thin down here...not too much moisture in the air apparently
Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14869
1014. TampaSpin
2:58 PM GMT on February 08, 2013
The collision of the secondary Low was underestimated by models. This sytem is going to really bomb out near the Boston area ....wait till these 2 LoWS get together.
Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 177 Comments: 20430
1013. aspectre
2:57 PM GMT on February 08, 2013
Bank of America @BofA_Help
Winter Storm #Nemo may bring 2 feet of #snow to New England late Fri & Sat.
Prepare now -- make sure you have plenty of cash on hand.
Member Since: August 21, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 4860
1012. trHUrrIXC5MMX
2:57 PM GMT on February 08, 2013
who has a map of the storm pressure down in the Carolinas ?
Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14869
1011. pcola57
2:57 PM GMT on February 08, 2013
Storm surge map from NOAA..
Next 48hrs..
All red/max warnings except Providence and Philadelphia..

Member Since: August 13, 2009 Posts: 13 Comments: 6667
1010. trHUrrIXC5MMX
2:56 PM GMT on February 08, 2013
Quoting interstatelover7165:
Looks like it's not pushing any further north than Sherman in Western CT.


there is some rain mixing in there so the snow has hard time
Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14869
1009. interstatelover7165
2:54 PM GMT on February 08, 2013
Turning into moderate snow in Danbury...
Member Since: August 18, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 994
1008. overwash12
2:54 PM GMT on February 08, 2013
Just got off the graveyard shift. Coming home I travel across a causeway,must have went through what would be (Nemo's eyewall) ,winds were howling @ 55 mph! N.E. N.C.
Member Since: June 24, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 1437
1007. TampaSpin
2:53 PM GMT on February 08, 2013
WARNING if you live along the COASTAL WATERS....you might wanna get out if still possible.....their will be a storm Surge with this sytem.
Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 177 Comments: 20430
1006. GeorgiaStormz
2:53 PM GMT on February 08, 2013
Quoting TampaSpin:
There will be a storm SURGE with this system just like a Hurricane!


that's normal.
it's an extratropical cyclone with a large windfield blowing in from offshore...


but GEAUX SNEAUX!
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9467
1005. GeorgiaStormz
2:52 PM GMT on February 08, 2013
Quoting TampaSpin:
screw the SNOW STORM FORECAST we basically have a HURRICANE SNOWING.....WOW!


eeeeeeeeeeh....... no.

but geaux sneaux!
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9467
1004. interstatelover7165
2:49 PM GMT on February 08, 2013
Quoting trHUrrIXC5MMX:
Snow pushing in more now...

Looks like it's not pushing any further north than Sherman in Western CT.
Member Since: August 18, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 994
1003. washingtonian115
2:49 PM GMT on February 08, 2013
Quoting WunderGirl12:


Great. I can run for my life from a hurricane. You can run from blizzards. :P Have fun.
I want it to be like 2010 where the beautiful majors(and most storms for that matter) were out to sea.
Member Since: August 14, 2010 Posts: 10 Comments: 15738
1002. TampaSpin
2:49 PM GMT on February 08, 2013
There will be a storm SURGE with this system just like a Hurricane!
Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 177 Comments: 20430
1001. VR46L
2:48 PM GMT on February 08, 2013
RUTGERS Radar NE

Member Since: March 1, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 6623
1000. TampaSpin
2:48 PM GMT on February 08, 2013
screw the SNOW STORM FORECAST we basically have a HURRICANE SNOWING.....WOW!
Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 177 Comments: 20430
999. pcola57
2:44 PM GMT on February 08, 2013
Quoting FunnelVortex:


I know, warm coastal waters are a contributing factor for nor'easters, I'm suprised Masters diddnt mention it.


He may yet as he stated he was going to do an update post today..
Member Since: August 13, 2009 Posts: 13 Comments: 6667
998. trHUrrIXC5MMX
2:44 PM GMT on February 08, 2013
Snow pushing in more now...

Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14869
997. pcola57
2:43 PM GMT on February 08, 2013
A little off topic but..
Just another nasty weather day for Alaska..





Member Since: August 13, 2009 Posts: 13 Comments: 6667
996. NEwxguy
2:43 PM GMT on February 08, 2013
Lt snow just started here in the Boston area,the opening act.
Member Since: September 6, 2007 Posts: 863 Comments: 15114
995. GeorgiaStormz
2:42 PM GMT on February 08, 2013
ECMWF 240, check out the NE again:


the models really don't like you guys.

That storm would make this storm look like a walk in the park.
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9467
994. 1900hurricane
2:42 PM GMT on February 08, 2013
Quoting FunnelVortex:


Where do you get those charts? I want to know!

They are from the ECMWF website. If you click on the banner, they have a different product that they don't usually show there everyday. I just figured out a way to bookmark them so I can use them again in the future.
Member Since: August 2, 2006 Posts: 45 Comments: 11568
993. WunderGirl12
2:41 PM GMT on February 08, 2013
Quoting Chucktown:


This isn't a warm core system.


Wouldn't it be a cold core system? :P
Member Since: January 9, 2011 Posts: 23 Comments: 810
992. WunderGirl12
2:40 PM GMT on February 08, 2013
Quoting washingtonian115:
Well If I can't have an interesting winter...I err we better have an interesting hurricane season.


Great. I can run for my life from a hurricane. You can run from blizzards. :P Have fun.
Member Since: January 9, 2011 Posts: 23 Comments: 810
991. GeorgiaStormz
2:37 PM GMT on February 08, 2013
TWC Breaking ‏@TWCBreaking
An hour or so ago this webcam from @wunderground in Hartford, CT showed bare ground. Now #snow covers the ground: Link
(WU cam)
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9467
990. washingtonian115
2:36 PM GMT on February 08, 2013
Quoting GeorgiaStormz:
And then another noreaster within a week:

Wes Junker the winter weather expert at CWG has been hinting at something next week for D.C at this time around the cold air will be in place.Thank God.But this is still a ways out..
Member Since: August 14, 2010 Posts: 10 Comments: 15738
989. GeorgiaStormz
2:35 PM GMT on February 08, 2013
And then MAYBE another noreaster:
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9467

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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.