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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AccuWeather.com‏@breakingweather

RT @accu_henry: Storm will probably intensify off Norfolk, bomb out going to Nantucket, loop Sat Am and head out.
Member Since: October 27, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 2026
Quoting GeorgiaStormz:
this would be interesting 9-10 days out:



and then:

look at ny:


The snow gets pretty far south could see some flakes, but as we know it's the land of vudoo.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
.POWERFUL WINTER STORM TO AFFECT THE REGION THURSDAY NIGHT INTO
SATURDAY MORNING...

NYZ078>081-072100-
/O.CAN.KOKX.WS.A.0001.130208T1800Z-130209T1800Z/
/O.EXA.KOKX.BZ.A.0001.130208T1800Z-130209T1800Z/
NORTHWESTERN SUFFOLK-NORTHEASTERN SUFFOLK-SOUTHWESTERN SUFFOLK-
SOUTHEASTERN SUFFOLK-
627 AM EST THU FEB 7 2013

...BLIZZARD WATCH IN EFFECT FROM FRIDAY AFTERNOON THROUGH
SATURDAY AFTERNOON...
...WINTER STORM WATCH IS CANCELLED...

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN UPTON HAS ISSUED A BLIZZARD
WATCH...WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM FRIDAY AFTERNOON THROUGH SATURDAY
AFTERNOON. THE WINTER STORM WATCH HAS BEEN CANCELLED.

* LOCATIONS...SUFFOLK COUNTY ON LONG ISLAND.

* HAZARD TYPES...HEAVY SNOW AND DAMAGING WINDS.

* ACCUMULATIONS...SNOW ACCUMULATION OF 8 TO 12 INCHES.

* WINDS...NORTH 25 TO 35 MPH WITH GUSTS UP TO 60 MPH.

* TEMPERATURES...IN THE LOWER 30S.

* VISIBILITIES...ONE QUARTER MILE OR LESS AT TIMES.

* TIMING...THE STRONGEST WINDS AND HEAVIEST SNOW WILL OCCUR FRIDAY
EVENING INTO SATURDAY MORNING.
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 38541
Ryan Maue‏@RyanMaue

WRF simulated brightness temperatures (fake infrared satellite) shows the nice eye of #Nemo Link
Member Since: October 27, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 2026
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 38541
The Weather Channel‏@weatherchannel

#Blizzard watch extended to include parts of Long Island. #Nemo
Link
Member Since: October 27, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 2026
.SYNOPSIS...1009 MB LOW PRES ACROSS THE MISSISSIPPI COASTAL
WATERS WILL MOVE E-NE AND INLAND THE FLORIDA PANHANDLE THIS EVENING
WHILE DRAGGING A COLD FRONT CURRENTLY EXTENDING FROM LOW SW TO
NEAR BROWNSVILLE TEXAS WILL REACH FROM NEAR TAMPA BAY TO
BROWNSVILLE FRI MORNING THEN FROM THE FLORIDA KEYS TO BROWNSVILLE
SAT MORNING BEFORE DISSIPATING SUN. HIGH PRESSURE WILL BUILD
WAKE OF THE FRONT...WITH SOUTHERLY RETURN FLOW SETTING ACROSS THE
NW WATERS ON SAT...THEN INCREASING ACROSS THE ENTIRE GULF SAT
NIGHT AHEAD OF ANOTHER COLD FRONT THAT WILL MOVE OFF THE TEXAS
COAST AROUND SUNRISE SUN. THIS FRONT WILL STALL OVER THE NW
WATERS ON SUN...AND DRIFT BACK W TO THE TEXAS COAST ON MON.
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 38541
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 38541
wonder if this is an eye on the NAM:
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Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 38541
Quoting Luisport:
Ryan Maue‏@RyanMaue

Actual 850 hPa level temps show warm-seclusion inner-core of storm --much colder air drawn CCW from S. Canada into NEng Link


wonder if it will have an eye.
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Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 38541
this would be interesting 9-10 days out:



and then:

look at ny:

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Tail of northern low still a little west of me, though looks like a little piece ahead of line heading at us. We're 48, StL is 51 and also ahead of the line, Spfld is 40 and in it now. Winds still not SW yet, SE, S @ 5 gust to 15, 29.84" w/ a 42 dew pt.

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Ryan Maue‏@RyanMaue

Actual 850 hPa level temps show warm-seclusion inner-core of storm --much colder air drawn CCW from S. Canada into NEng Link
Member Since: October 27, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 2026
Quoting yoboi:


is that the same as being networked to master gores super computer???


Good one!
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223. VR46L
Euro 12z @48 hrs

Member Since: March 1, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 6901
Quoting yoboi:


is that the same as being networked to master gores super computer???
Wow... you really are lame.
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BOSTON %u2014Forecasters said Thursday afternoon that there was no change in their prediction that the coming winter storm and blizzard will be "potentially Historic.


The storm will make travel "nearly impossible" on the roads, as it also threatens the coast with flooding and hurricane-force wind gusts. The National Weather Service warned of 5-foot drifts from the storm.


Read more: http://www.wcvb.com/weather/Major-Nor-easter-forec ast-Friday-in-Massachusetts/-/9850416/18416088/-/1 50yp1dz/-/index.html#ixzz2KF4NGiay
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 38541
Quoting LargoFl:
..ok stay safe up there till this passes you..waterspouts popping up today


I'm not too worried, sadly a dry slot has developed for the Tallahassee area with heavy rain parting north and south. Unfortunately the models often miss these weird mesoscale situations. The last front was more impressive than expected, this one is turning out less eventful then expected for the area, it was much much impressive earlier, looks like the low is quickly ejecting northeast while convergence on the front is sliding southeast ahead of the front in the gulf. That leaves northern Florida in a gap between the two.
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219. yoboi
Quoting Neapolitan:
Oh, I see. It appears, then, that either your router or your computer's firewall are set to "Allow only foolish drivel". Can't help you there; you may want to call an expert in your area. Wherever that may be today.


is that the same as being networked to master gores super computer???
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here is the danger area right now jedkins...
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 38541
Quoting Jedkins01:


Yep! I've been here, I only went back home just for last weekend. I'll also be back in the Tampa Bay area for spring break and again in summer.
..ok stay safe up there till this passes you..waterspouts popping up today
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 38541
Milton Mass................•The Milton Police Department released the following statement on its Facebook page. It has a few reminders as the storm approaches.


Milton residents, as we are all aware, there is the potential for a blizzard in our area Friday into Saturday. Please be mindful of how you remove snow from your property and make sure that house numbers are visible to emergency personnel. Also, please keep hydrants clear. If you have elderly or disabled neighbors, please check in on them. Above all, be safe and stay off the roads if at all possible so the DPW can do their job and clear the streets.
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 38541
Quoting LargoFl:
you back up there Jedkins?


Yep! I've been here, I only went back home just for last weekend. I'll also be back in the Tampa Bay area for spring break and again in summer.
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Ryan Maue‏@RyanMaue

Hard to come up with a better text-book example of explosive cyclogenesis off the East Coast. Link
Member Since: October 27, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 2026
Quoting Luisport:
AccuWeather.com‏@breakingweather

A waterspout moved onshore as a tornado, causing damage 3 miles west of Santa Rosa Beach, FL.
Link
Wow....
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AccuWeather.com‏@breakingweather

A waterspout moved onshore as a tornado, causing damage 3 miles west of Santa Rosa Beach, FL.
Link
Member Since: October 27, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 2026
Quoting EricSpittle:
That linked forecast is spot on showing me with ~0 ground cover, and matches almost exactly what I am seeing with the models as to addition of snow on top of what the initialization shows from the storm. So I guess the initialized amount doesn't make a huge difference then when looking at storm totals?

If I'm understanding how Mr. Karstens set up his meteogram generator correctly, I think the snow accumulation is 0.0 at T0 (the start time).
So in actuality, the rainfall/snowfall accumulation numbers near T0 are shouldn't be taken as the "current rain/snow on the ground."
Quoting EricSpittle:

I understand some of what makes snowfall prediction hard, as you said compaction, level of moisture, crystal size, all sorts of different things can make a difference between an inch of precipitation falling as a foot of snow or six inches, I was just curious as to why the baseline seemed so far off and now I think I understand a little bit better.

Unfortunately, a model initializing poorly for current snow depth might cause the model to simulate the future poorly, as it will model the ground as if it were snow and not bare earth/grass/forest/etc. That could change temperature, which could change positioning of storm systems and fronts. Generally-speaking, the more close to observations the initialization is, the better the simulation will be.
Quoting EricSpittle:

Do you know roughly how large the grid cells are for these models?

This can vary, even with the same model. Here is a somewhat out of date overview on model resolution:
http://www.personal.psu.edu/adb241/eWallTutorial/ models/modelgrid.htm

I was trying to find a better summary page perhaps from NCEP but it did not come up easily in a quick google search.
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Quoting ARiot:


Of course, tens of thousands of years between "ice ages" vs climate forcing by man easily observed and well documented in a hundred or so is just too hard to grasp.


what?
I wasnt arguing a point just stating the obvious.
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Quoting LargoFl:
Somerville Mass..2005...........
That looks like a lot of work.
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10-15 inches they said...............URGENT - WINTER WEATHER MESSAGE
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE MOUNT HOLLY NJ
111 PM EST THU FEB 7 2013

...A POTENTIALLY SIGNIFICANT WINTER STORM TO AFFECT THE AREA
FRIDAY INTO EARLY SATURDAY ...

.LOW PRESSURE DEVELOPING NEAR THE COASTAL CAROLINAS LATE TODAY...WILL
RAPIDLY INTENSIFY AS IT MOVES TO A POSITION 100 MILES EAST OF ATLANTIC
CITY LATE FRIDAY AFTERNOON THEN TO NEAR NANTUCKET EARLY SATURDAY.

SNOW THAT FALLS PRIOR TO SUNRISE FRIDAY IN NORTHERN NEW JERSEY AND
EASTERN PENNSYLVANIA WHILE A HAZARD...IS NOT THE PRIMARY EVENT. THE
POTENTIALLY DANGEROUS PORTION OF THIS STORM IS FOR THE FRIDAY EVENING
RUSH HOUR INTO THE WEE HOURS OF SATURDAY MORNING.
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 38541
Quoting LargoFl:
rain into North Carolina now........
Right now here in Raleigh, it's not raining but I think we'll get some heavy rain later today.

Rain, mainly after 7pm. Low around 42. North wind 9 to 13 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New precipitation amounts between three quarters and one inch possible.


If the temperatures were colder, we would be facing a foot of snow... *le sigh*
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206. ARiot
Quoting GeorgiaStormz:


Obviously her browser lets her go to www.wunderground.com and a wattsupwiththat supporter wouldnt be against saying an ice age is coming. ;)


Of course, tens of thousands of years between "ice ages" vs climate forcing by man easily observed and well documented in a hundred or so is just too hard to grasp.
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rain into North Carolina now........
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 38541
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springtime melt might be awesome up there..flooding wise
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 38541
Quoting LargoFl:
winds gusting to almost 30 mph by me now........
I like this breeze man, even if it is warm outside, it feels good and relaxing, I'm thinking about going and grab a chair and sit down outside and finish this paper for Psychology.
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Havent seen the blog this active since Sandy.
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Somerville Mass..2005...........
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 38541
Quoting LargoFl:
ok so boston need 28 inches to set a new record..its quite possible huh
If NAM and Euro is correct :P
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Quoting Neapolitan:
I dunno. Does your browser only let you go to WattsUpWithThat.com, maybe? If so, try visiting some actual science sites; that's where you'll find the non-ideological truth.



Right, because Almighty scientists never have an ideology, they are always 100% truthful, and they don't have the same human nature as anyone else. I guess they must be different creatures similar to humans, maybe I'm not entirely human either since my career will probably be a scientist.

Most certainly, I'm speaking with sarcasm here, but seriously, if scientists are infallible and never bring an ideology or agenda to the table, I don't think scientists are humans.
Furthermore, I'm certainly not inciting any massive conspiracy, and while the scientific method is a great thing, people are still people. They are human like everyone else.



Note, there is no reference to climate change arguments here, but rather a general statement.
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Based on figure 2 of Dr. Masters post it looks like the tide will be really bad on the north facing shore of Nantucket Island as the tide will be coming in and the tide will be going out on the south facing shore. This of course is due to the counter-clockwise flow of the storm system and because it will be deepening as it heads north.
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rather sharp trough if it pans out.
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Quoting JustPlantIt:
Toilet paper!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Most important.
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Quoting GeorgiaStormz:
Why do people buy milk and bread for storms?

I'm sure bread is fine but do you really need a run on milk?

With a store full of thousands of non perishable foods and drinks, why are milk and bread cleaned off the shelves in hours?

At my house for significant winter weather(almost never) we buy gatorade/juice and canned foods/crackers/etc...

I've never understood the "BUY ALL THE BREAD AND MILK!!" panic at the first sign of a major snowstorm.
Toilet paper!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Georgia radar..all headed northward folks........
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 38541
winds gusting to almost 30 mph by me now........
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 38541
OMG... LOVE DORITOS!!! On the more serious note... wish that the global warming... catalytic ice age talk would just stop for a day. More serious for people in NE with this storm. There is DANGER with this. Just me... homeless, are they in shelters?

Storm could be a CENTURY STORM.
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ok so boston need 28 inches to set a new record..its quite possible huh
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 38541
Quoting GeorgiaStormz:
Why do people buy milk and bread for storms?

I'm sure bread is fine but do you really need a run on milk?

With a store full of thousands of non perishable foods and drinks, why are milk and bread cleaned off the shelves in hours?

At my house for significant winter weather(almost never) we buy gatorade/juice and canned foods/crackers/etc...

I've never understood the "BUY ALL THE BREAD AND MILK!!" panic at the first sign of a major snowstorm.


I buy all the beer and cheddar Chex Mix when a storm is on the way. Case in point: Today. So ya know, we all like different things when we're snowed in. Milk and bread is cheaper though.
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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.