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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And then MAYBE another noreaster:
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9760
Quoting FunnelVortex:
This is what the forecast radar shows the future storm on Sunday to be like.

If that comes to pass it would be very good news for the drought-stricken areas.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting trHUrrIXC5MMX:


why "doubters"?
Not sure...I remember one in particular saying it's just snow.
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And then another noreaster within a week:

Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9760
Quoting washingtonian115:
Well If I can't have an interesting winter...I err we better have an interesting hurricane season.


this year could be a disaster..probably what doomsday meant
Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14873
Quoting PalmBeachWeather:
You sure called this one Max... A few doubters but you knew best.


why "doubters"?
Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14873
Well If I can't have an interesting winter...I err we better have an interesting hurricane season.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting FunnelVortex:


That doesn't mean it cant use that energy as well.


The storm derives its energy from baroclinicity in the atmosphere, not from the Gulf Stream. The warmer Gulf Stream provides the moisture transport and the conveyor belt of moisture from off the Atlantic.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
central US may be up next:
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9760
Quoting trHUrrIXC5MMX:
Now over 1" of snow here
You sure called this one Max... A few doubters but you knew best.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Member Since: October 20, 2012 Posts: 7 Comments: 2893
Quoting trHUrrIXC5MMX:
Now over 1" of snow here
Also over 1" in Danbury.
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Quoting Chucktown:
I'm not completely sold yet on a perfect phase. The storm coming up the coast is a little faster than was forecast. If there is no phase, there is gonna be a whole lotta busting going on. I haven't seen that "radar pivot" yet. Still a lot has to come together for this storm to live up to its forecasted potential.


Watching this as the day progresses may help..
Link
Member Since: August 13, 2009 Posts: 13 Comments: 6917
Quoting 1900hurricane:

Yeah, pretty far from it at the moment, although it will trend that way as bombgenesis continues.





Where do you get those charts? I want to know!
Member Since: October 20, 2012 Posts: 7 Comments: 2893
Water Vapor loop of the action:

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting pcola57:


Your absolutely correct Funnel..
More the reason this storm will bomb out lower than predicted..
IMO


I know, warm coastal waters are a contributing factor for nor'easters, I'm suprised Masters diddnt mention it.
Member Since: October 20, 2012 Posts: 7 Comments: 2893
2-3" in Portland Maine.... snowing since early am (sometime between midnight and six)
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I'm not completely sold yet on a perfect phase. The storm coming up the coast is a little faster than was forecast. If there is no phase, there is gonna be a whole lotta busting going on. I haven't seen that "radar pivot" yet. Still a lot has to come together for this storm to live up to its forecasted potential.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting FunnelVortex:


And how long has it been snowing?


About 2 hours..
Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14873
Quoting Chucktown:


This isn't a warm core system.

Yeah, pretty far from it at the moment, although it will trend that way as bombgenesis continues.



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Quoting Jedkins01:


Be thankful, here in Tallahassee, we have a significant drought. A "dry slot" developed today over the area despite that the surface low was rapidly developing, rainfall here was short lived and only around 0.25 from a couple hours of moderate rain. We were expected to get 1 to 2 inches with strong thunderstorms...

Kinda depressing :(


This month we have .01 and the YTD is .09 bit dry here.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting FunnelVortex:


That doesn't mean it cant use that energy as well.


Your absolutely correct Funnel..
More the reason this storm will bomb out lower than predicted..
IMO
Member Since: August 13, 2009 Posts: 13 Comments: 6917
Quoting trHUrrIXC5MMX:
Now over 1" of snow here


And how long has it been snowing?
Member Since: October 20, 2012 Posts: 7 Comments: 2893
Now over 1" of snow here
Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14873
965. VR46L
18hr Rap

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964. VR46L
15 hr Rap

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Chucktown:


This isn't a warm core system.


That doesn't mean it cant use that energy as well.
Member Since: October 20, 2012 Posts: 7 Comments: 2893
This looks to about be where we are at right now.



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Quoting FunnelVortex:
Lets not forget the unusually warm waters off the coast.



Just more energy for it to feed off of.


This isn't a warm core system.
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960. VR46L
Rap 12 hr

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959. VR46L
Rap 9 Hr

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958. VR46L
Rap 6 hr

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Per the HRRR Boston will get SLAMMED.
NYC will get lots of snow but not anything severely extreme.

CT and RI get big snows too.
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9760
956. VR46L
Rap 3 hr

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Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 42277
I'm safe here in D.C...Nothing to see here but rain.
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Lets not forget the unusually warm waters off the coast.



Just more energy for it to feed off of.
Member Since: October 20, 2012 Posts: 7 Comments: 2893
952. VR46L
Rap 1 hr

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Quoting EricSpittle:

Posting pictures of two naked storms that are simply expressing their love for eachother, you should be ashamed you dirty voyeur :)


Lol !!
Eric "ain't Love Grand".. :)
Member Since: August 13, 2009 Posts: 13 Comments: 6917
Marnie Levy@MarnieLevy There are 6,300 street miles in New York City to be plowed and salted - that%u2019s like going from NYC to LA and back @NYCMayorsOffice #Nemo
Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14873
Peak storm total #snow so far: 14.8" just SE of Muskegon, MI.
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9760
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 42277
947. 900MB
Quoting reedzone:
The latest GFS run is to be discounted... has a storm from 990 - 990 mlb running up the coast, south of NYC... the storm is already 985 mlb... This is strengthening a bit more then forecast.


That is an impressive number Reed. Looks like it could bomb out to low 960's mb.
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Quoting pcola57:
Both systems now mergeing..


Posting pictures of two naked storms that are simply expressing their love for eachother, you should be ashamed you dirty voyeur :)
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Quoting AussieStorm:
I'm going to bed everyone. Stay safe in your in the warned areas for this nor'easter.


Good Night Aussie! :-)
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Ridiculous QPF on that NAM run, near 3.5":

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Quoting FunnelVortex:
Who here thinks it could gain an eye-like structure?


Morning Funnel. How much snow did you get yesterday?
My MIL in Franklin got 7 in
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Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 42277
trH-inch on the ground near Danbury.
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This is what the forecast radar shows the future storm on Sunday to be like.

Member Since: October 20, 2012 Posts: 7 Comments: 2893
Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14873

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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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