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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Quoting WunderGirl12:


Lucky...(jealousy forming) can you send me down some?


sure, but i just deleted my e-mail history... I had over 15,000 emails, some date as far back as 2010...

I'll look in my msn account.
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Breaking News Storm ‏@breakingstorm
3,775 flights have been canceled due to coming Northeast US storm, @flightaware reports - @CBSNews
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Quoting beell:


Close to a 30mb pressure fall in 12 hrs at the buoy east of Virginia Beach.


WOW, 30 MB FALL IN 12 HRS?? explosive deepening... this would worsen the situation worse than it is....
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Quoting trHUrrIXC5MMX:
ALL WHITE...
Snow is falling moderately...over half an inch already




Lucky...(jealousy forming) can you send me down some?
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Well, I have school to do, so I'm gonna head out for the morning. I'll be back later today. Have a good night Aussie! :-)
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ALL WHITE...
Snow is falling moderately...over half an inch already


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Quoting CoolB:


That's around the corner from me. With the name AussieStorm I didn't expect that ;)

Here's another.

QEW near Niagara Street - East side of Overpass


More here. Keeper gave me the link
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Quoting pcola57:
24hr time lapse at Plymouth State University,Plymouth New Hampshire..



From a clear sunny winter day, (without snow) to a winter wonderland in 24hrs. wow! O__O

WunderGirl12
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Paul Jr ‏@WhereIsPaulJr
Here comes the blizzard! We are supposed to be on our way to Cali today and they are already canceling flights!
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879. CoolB
Quoting AussieStorm:

Highway 405 west of Niagara River


That's around the corner from me. With the name AussieStorm I didn't expect that ;)
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24hr time lapse at Plymouth State University,Plymouth New Hampshire..
As of 20 mins. ago..



Same campus,dorm cam..

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Highway 405 west of Niagara River
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OK, so it's official: My University is closed due to snow for the first time since 2008.
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875. beell
Quoting trHUrrIXC5MMX:


wow is its really going down... now at 996 mb?


Close to a 30mb pressure fall in 12 hrs at the buoy east of Virginia Beach.
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Quoting AussieStorm:

Hey WunderGirl. How is it going, are you going to get any of this snow or you nice and safe? How's your report going?


Unluckly for me, I get NONE of this snow that they talk about. (rolls eyes) I am nice and safe, thanks for asking. :-) The Report is going very well, and I am finishing up my first draft up today. :-D I should have the report done in about a week or two. :-D

WunderGirl12
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873. VR46L
IR False colour

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Quoting WunderGirl12:


Hi Aussie! :-)

Hey WunderGirl. How is it going, are you going to get any of this snow or you nice and safe? How's your report going?
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871. CoolB
Near Niagara Falls Ont here and it looks like what a beautiful Christmas morning should look like and it came with a present too, a day off work!
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Quoting beell:


Hatteras, NC

A little further N.


Virginia Beach 64 NM East of Virginia Beach, VA




wow is its really going down... now at 996 mb?
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Scott McPartland is streaming from his house in Queens right here
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Quoting trHUrrIXC5MMX:


Some rain is sneaking into central CT while snow is trying to go further south in New Jersey


That rain/sleet/snow line will be important to watch to see how much snow NYC finnally gets.
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Quoting AussieStorm:

Japan.





Hi Aussie! :-)
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Some rain is sneaking into central CT while snow is trying to go further south in New Jersey
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865. beell


Hatteras, NC

A little further N.


Virginia Beach 64 NM East of Virginia Beach, VA


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864. MTWX
Good Morning All!!

I see our Noreaster is shaping up faster than expected!!

NEXSAT East Coast
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Here is a list of web cams from Boston.

Link
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Quoting Tropicsweatherpr:


Where is that?

Japan.



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861. VR46L
GOES-East US East Coast 4km Water Vapor

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Haven't seen this in a while!
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Quoting trHUrrIXC5MMX:


Hi WU girl...sorry about that


No Problemo. ;-) I'm just jealous, yah know. lol. :-)

WunderGirl12
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Ton's of moisture to work with..

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Providence, RI...

Snow. The snow could be heavy at times. Low around 20. Windy, with a northeast wind 24 to 34 mph, with gusts as high as 46 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New snow accumulation of 17 to 23 inches possible.
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856. VR46L
Quoting FtMyersgal:


Nope, nothing at my house. A few lucky folks got a whopping .10 in the wee hours this morning. My next best rain chance will be Wednesday next week. My guess anyway. Thanks for asking VR!


Hard luck Gal :(

I feel for you , I would give you my surplus if I could ...

It was so close but so far away. Sigh
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Good Morning everyone from uptown Manhattan NYC! There's light snow falling and it's not sticking quite yet. We're expecting 12-15 inches today, depending on whether (and how long) there is a changeover to rain.
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Quoting WunderGirl12:


Lucky You! no snow expected until the next ice age...


Hi WU girl...sorry about that
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Quoting trHUrrIXC5MMX:


Big snow for Philly too according to NAM


Lucky You! no snow expected until the next ice age...
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Quoting pcola57:
Good Morning All..
Coming together faster that I expected..
Looking wicked this am..







Big snow for Philly too according to NAM
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Good Morning All..
Coming together faster that I expected..
Looking wicked this am..





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Still waiting on the first flakes up here, probably not too much longer.
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Quoting VR46L:


I know you will keep in contact with her, Gal !

Did you get any rain last night :)


Nope, nothing at my house. A few lucky folks got a whopping .10 in the wee hours this morning. My next best rain chance will be Wednesday next week. My guess anyway. Thanks for asking VR!
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Jim Cantore‏@JimCantore

Best chances for #thundersnow looks to be late tonight and during the early morning hours for #Boston and southern New England. #MAwx #RIwx
Member Since: October 27, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 2026
Nearly half an inch of snow already
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Quoting interstatelover7165:
Should be snowing here near Danbury CT any minute.
SNOWING IT IS!
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last time they called for this much snow here we received a lot of thundersnow and got double the amount they were calling for. 12 inches is a lot but add thundersnow and you're looking at double that(in most cases here)
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Quoting Tropicsweatherpr:


Where is that?
He told me Norwalk CT
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842. VR46L
Quoting FtMyersgal:
Good morning folks. My mother in law in a suburb of Milwaukee Wisconsin got a total of 7 in of wet sloppy snow yesterday afternoon and evening.


I know you will keep in contact with her, Gal !

Did you get any rain last night :)
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Quoting trHUrrIXC5MMX:
WOW...HEAVILY SNOWING HERE

NOW


10 MINS AGO...


Where is that?
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Should be snowing here near Danbury CT any minute.
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839. VR46L
The Merge is not far away...



Rugters IR
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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.