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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the 12z CMC
15 hours


24hours


30hours


39 hours
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Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 42260
Or how about the cmc tacking snow on:


and the next ECMWF noreaster:
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9760
Quoting GeorgiaStormz:
Levi Cowan ‏@TropicalTidbits
GFS ensembles are in pretty good agreement on position of the storm at 42hr. Eastern Mass. is going to disappear.

in the 1978 blizzard there was ALOT of destruction along the coastline..whole houses pushed away...
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 42260
Quoting Oldmanwinter:
Arrrrrgh! wish it was us (here in NW Georgia) and not them. We haven't had ANY snow here except a few flakes in going on 3 years now. Thinking about buying a plane ticket to Portland,Maine for this weekend. I love snow, blizzards, and most any kind of winter storm, although i don't care for ice storms much.


I know 4-5 years with winters including winter weather events.

Now 3 years without so much as a flurry at my location.
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9760
Levi Cowan ‏@TropicalTidbits
GFS ensembles are in pretty good agreement on position of the storm at 42hr. Eastern Mass. is going to disappear.

Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9760
Quoting JustPlantIt:
Salt doesn't work when snow is coming down at a rate of 2-3" an hour.


true...the plowtruck wound't even be able to operate...however I doubt if NYC would get that heavy snowfall rate
Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14873
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:


"just keep swimming..swimming"..

I'm sorry but the Memes are going to be insane because of the name Nemo..
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
81. bwi
THE FOLLOWING 12 HRS ARE MOST CRUCIAL WHERE MODELS BEGIN DIVERGING ON A PARTICULAR SOLN.

Nice!

Quoting nrtiwlnvragn:
Model Diagnostic Discussion

Excerpt:


NOTABLE SHIFTS IN THE NAM ARE EVIDENT AS THE 12Z RUN HAS TRENDED STRONGER WITH THE TROF/SFC LOW ACRS THE OUTER BANKS ON 08/1200Z. THIS CONTINUES FURTHER INTO THE PERIOD AS THE 12Z NAM IS STRONGER AND MORE TO THE N/W RELATIVE TO ITS EARLIER RUNS. EVENTUALLY IT BEGINS LOOKING LIKE THE 06Z RUN ACRS RI BY SAT MORNING. RELATIVE TO OTHER GUIDANCE...THERE IS SOME SPREAD WITH THE LOW CENTER OVER THE OUTER BANKS WITH THE 12Z NAM FOLLOWING SUIT WITH THE 00Z ECMWF/ECMWF ENS MEAN. AGAIN...THE MOST OUTLYING SOLN APPEARS TO BE THE 00Z UKMET WHICH IS WEAKER AND MORE OFFSHORE. THE FOLLOWING 12 HRS ARE MOST CRUCIAL WHERE MODELS BEGIN DIVERGING ON A PARTICULAR SOLN. AT 09/0000Z...THE 12Z NAM ENDS UP BEING THE FARTHEST W MODEL WITH THE 00Z ECMWF/ECMWF ENS MEAN JUST OFF TO ITS E. FURTHER...THE 06Z GFS/GEFS MEAN IS E OF THE ECMWF SUITE OF SOLNS WHICH HAS BEEN NOTED IN THE PAST SEVERAL ENS RUNS. THE ENS SFC LOW PLOTS ACCURATELY DEPICT THIS DIVERGING OF OPINIONS ALBEIT WITH DIMINISHING SPREAD RELATIVE TO FEB 6 (00Z/12Z) GUIDANCE. ON A SIDE...THE 00Z UKMET IS THE MOST OFFSHORE SOLN WITH NO SUPPORT AT THIS TIME.
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Hey NE, wouldn't this be fun now?
10 days out?


GFS
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9760
aw come'on..its just a lttle snow..............
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 42260
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
Salt doesn't work when snow is coming down at a rate of 2-3" an hour.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
At any rate the long range GFS trends towards a snowy pattern and at some point we might have a lot of snow cover over the US:


(this is just a long range picture, that won't verify, the idea is what i'm getting at.)
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9760
Boston Blizzard 1978..............
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 42260
Well I'll be back on the blog this afternoon...
Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14873
In other news, it doesnt look like 90P is going to develop.
Member Since: October 20, 2012 Posts: 7 Comments: 2893
Im very interested to see when the watches are upgraded to warnings about the snowfall totals... looking for an increase here possible.
Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14873
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Member Since: August 13, 2009 Posts: 13 Comments: 6915
I don't have school tomorrow and Saturday..yeeeh!
Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14873
so what will it be like you ask?..(old pic)...
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 42260
Quoting Bluestorm5:


Im now in a little recess...

Now I see that TWC gave a 10/10 for this storm in Mass (as TA13 said...)

I also saw that TWC upped their snowfall forecast from 1-2' to 2-3'...
36" get near my knee...
Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14873
Arrrrrgh! wish it was us (here in NW Georgia) and not them. We haven't had ANY snow here except a few flakes in going on 3 years now. Thinking about buying a plane ticket to Portland,Maine for this weekend. I love snow, blizzards, and most any kind of winter storm, although i don't care for ice storms much.
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Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 42260
NWS gearing up....



SENIOR DUTY METEOROLOGIST NWS ADMINISTRATIVE MESSAGE
NWS NCEP CENTRAL OPERATIONS COLLEGE PARK MD
1555Z THU FEB 07 2013


A REGIONAL CRITICAL WEATHER DAY...CWD...WILL BE DECLARED AT
0000Z FRI FEB 08 2013 AND EXTEND THROUGH 0000Z SUN FEB 10
2013. THE FOLLOWING NWS REGIONS ARE IMPACTED BY THIS
CWD...EASTERN. NCEP/NWSTG AND THE NCF ARE ALSO
PARTICIPATING IN THIS CWD TO ENSURE A RELIABLE FLOW OF
WEATHER DATA. ALL SCHEDULED SOFTWARE/HARDWARE/NETWORK
CHANGES FOR THE IMPACTED OFFICES WILL BE POSTPONED UNTIL
THE CWD HAS ENDED. ANY EMERGENCY CHANGES WILL BE EVALUATED
AND APPROVED BY THE LOCAL/REGIONAL MANAGEMENT OFFICIALS.
NWS OFFICES SHOULD CONTACT THEIR REGIONAL OFFICES FOR
FURTHER QUESTIONS ABOUT THIS CWD.


ALERT ADMINISTRATIVE MESSAGE
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE EASTERN REGION HEADQUARTERS BOHEMIA NY
1115 AM EST THU FEB 7 2013

TO: ALY...BGM...BOX...BTV...CAR...CTP...GYX...OKX...PH I...VUY...NERFC

FM: ERH

YOU SHOULD HAVE RECEIVED TELCON INFORMATION FOR NOON COLLABORATION
CALL VIA NIMNAT MESSAGE. IF YOU HAVE NOT, PLEASE CONTACT ERH_1 ON
12PLANET.
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folks Out on long island NY ..a Nor'easter is coming, now is the time to prepare.
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 42260
Quoting Bielle:


Keeper, could have a link to these forecast maps? Thanks


I'm pretty sure he has links to them in his blog..
Member Since: August 13, 2009 Posts: 13 Comments: 6915
...WINTER STORM WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM FRIDAY MORNING
THROUGH LATE FRIDAY NIGHT...

* LOCATIONS...ALL OF EAST CENTRAL NEW YORK AND ADJACENT WESTERN
NEW ENGLAND.

* HAZARD TYPES...HEAVY SNOW POSSIBLE.

* ACCUMULATIONS...SNOW ACCUMULATIONS OF 9 INCHES OR MORE ARE
POSSIBLE FRIDAY INTO FRIDAY NIGHT.

* MAXIMUM SNOWFALL RATES...SNOW RATES MAY EXCEED ONE INCH PER
HOUR DURING FRIDAY EVENING.

* TIMING...SNOW WILL BEGIN FRIDAY MORNING...AND BECOME STEADIER
AND HEAVIER BY LATE FRIDAY AFTERNOON. THE HEAVIEST SNOWFALL WILL
OCCUR ON FRIDAY EVENING...BEFORE TAPERING OFF SATURDAY MORNING.

* IMPACTS...SNOW COVERED ROADS AND REDUCED VISIBILITY WILL MAKE
FOR DANGEROUS TRAVEL.
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 42260
Quoting originalLT:
The snow map in post 351, has me in Sw Ct. at about 6" of snow, I think that's totally wrong. Also, it's funny, TV Station WSFB, in Hartford Ct. has their own naming system, and has "named" this storm, "Charlotte". No mention of "Nemo".
LOL and She is spelling 'SNOW'
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rains coming into the Carolina's now.........
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 42260
Quoting originalLT:
The snow map in post 351, has me in Sw Ct. at about 6" of snow, I think that's totally wrong. Also, it's funny, TV Station WSFB, in Hartford Ct. has their own naming system, and has "named" this storm, "Charlotte". No mention of "Nemo".


It's a trusted model..
However it is "just a model".. :)
Member Since: August 13, 2009 Posts: 13 Comments: 6915
Quoting originalLT:
The snow map in post 351, has me in Sw Ct. at about 6" of snow, I think that's totally wrong. Also, it's funny, TV Station WSFB, in Hartford Ct. has their own naming system, and has "named" this storm, "Charlotte". No mention of "Nemo".


they should be crucified for doing something the NWS doesn't do.

I mean isn't it so horrible saying Nemo or Charlotte, instead of "the noreaster"
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9760
The NAEFS is going nuts

Member Since: October 20, 2012 Posts: 7 Comments: 2893
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:





Keeper, could have a link to these forecast maps? Thanks
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
The snow map in post 351, has me in Sw Ct. at about 6" of snow, I think that's totally wrong. Also, it's funny, TV Station WSFB, in Hartford Ct. has their own naming system, and has "named" this storm, "Charlotte". No mention of "Nemo".
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I don't know... but looks like PA might get in on this more than was originally thought.
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Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 42260
52. Inyo
Hard to place much confidence in a map with Burlington about 80 miles from where it should be - it's now a border town with Quebec apparently.


Quoting Bluestorm5:


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GFS-OP5 72 hrs out..
Model updates at 10:30am and again at 10.30pm..

Link

Member Since: August 13, 2009 Posts: 13 Comments: 6915
Off topic LOL:

Hila Ben Baruch says she parked her car legally near her Tel Aviv home only to find it gone and replaced with a handicapped parking sign. City Hall slapped her with more than $300 in fines. Making matters worse, she says a city representative accused her of lying when she called to complain.

Determined to prove her innocence, she obtained footage from a security camera showing municipal workers painting the handicapped symbol under her car, then towing the vehicle away
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9760
The Weather Channel has issued a STORM:CON of 10/10 for New England, the first time since the scale's debut.

Tom Nizol: "Boston's impacts will be historic."
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Im tracking two storms here.

The nor'easter, and the storm that is supposed to affect where I live in Central Wisconsin.

Both have the capability to produce thundersnow.
Member Since: October 20, 2012 Posts: 7 Comments: 2893
The Weather Channel‏@weatherchannel

UPDATE: Have added potential for up to 3 FEET of total #snow from Winter Storm #Nemo:
Link
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Quoting EricSpittle:
I have a question for all you people much smarter than I: is the total snow depth forecast for NAM and GFS models reliable at all? According to those I pick up anywhere from 2-8 inches from this storm, but they also say that there's 6 inches on the ground right now and I'm looking out my window at dry brown ground, and everywhere around me is the same way. Both models have showed for almost two weeks now a decent snowpack that simply doesn't exist in real life.

Snowfall forecasts are typically not as good as rainfall forecasts. As such, the forecasts will end up with much higher uncertainty ranges, and sometimes we end up getting amounts still outside of the range.
There are many things that can affect the depth of snow that remains at the end of a storm that we don't need to take into account with rainfall. To name a few, ground temperature, snow compaction, and snow crystal type.

Here is one tool you could try and use that will give you multiple scenarios of snowfall, both from different models and with/without compaction:
http://www.meteor.iastate.edu/~ckarsten/bufkit/im age_loader.phtml?site=kbos

As for the model showing a different snowfall amount than what you currently observe, there might be a few things to consider. Is your immediate area almost snow free, but nearby areas still have some snow/drifts? The grid cells in the model have to come up with a average over a large area which isn't always representative of individual locations within. The model may also be initializing on bad snow cover data.
Is the NOHRSC snow cover/snow water equivalent analysis better for your area than the model initializations?
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

For now. The two will phase tomorrow.


they seem to merge after it leaves the NE, more up towards Canada.
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9760
Quoting ScottLincoln:
Can an overall increase in the average heat energy of earth's climate system really cause more snow?
i saw a funny MN meme going around.. "It's Snowing! Must be pretty warm out"
so yeah, this is not lost on me ;)

edit: just yesterday i went out to start the car in no jacket, gloves or hat, fluffy snow falling, and though 'dang, it's Nice out today!' and proceeded to comfortably clear the car of all snow, not a bit too chilled
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Quoting GeorgiaStormz:
so there are two systems?
the noreaster and an inland storm in canada?

For now. The two will phase tomorrow.
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We're in a hole that is about to close up on us in the Houston/Galveston area. Sunshine is about to go out dang it.

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Solid #thundersnow chances with the #blizzard too.
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9760
I've lived through several 24+ storms here in easter Mass,and Boston like most big cities cannot handle that much snow,theres just no place to put it,it takes at least a week to truck it out of neighborhoods.If this does come to pass,our areas in eastern Mass will take about a week to recover and get back to normal.Ontop of all this snow,a warmup coming next week with the possibility of rain,and you will see roof collapses next week.
Member Since: September 6, 2007 Posts: 888 Comments: 15989

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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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