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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06z NAM at 48 hours:

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Weather Underground‏@wunderground

Latest run of the Euro has back off some on snow for NYC. Still a 1.5 feet of snow possible. See the latest. Link
Member Since: October 27, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 2026
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06z NAM at 36 hours:

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SevereStudios‏@severestudios

Some risk of a tornado for PARTS OF SE GEORGIA...EXTREME SRN SOUTH CAROLINA
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20130208 06 UTC
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06z NAM at 24 hours:

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Ryan Maue‏@RyanMaue

Major wind potential on back-side w/bent-back warm front around calm eye of "warm seclusion".
Link
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RyanMaueRyan Maue 4 h


NAM 12km at 00z has QPF of nearly 5'' liquid in NJ ... NYC if turns to snow would be buried. Fri temps look ~35°F max Link
Member Since: October 27, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 2026
665. flsky
Could use a couple of days of rain here in East Central Florida. High pollen counts and fire danger. Good luck to everyone with their respective storms tonight and tomorrow.
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Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 169 Comments: 53308
Ill be in the field live throughout the blizzard in Atlantic City NJ. Follow me on twitter @StormForce_1 for all the updates on coastal flooding(nearing Major stage here),sustained winds along with the gusts right on the beaches and snowfall amounts. This one is the real deal and will be a doozy to say the least. Im fully expected a colder solution then currently modeled. This should lead to heavier snows down throughout NJ and PA. Farther north looking at 1-3+ Feet for all areas in north Jersey all the way throughout New England.. Buckle up folks its gonna be a long day up here
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Ryan Maue ‏@RyanMaue
NASA runs a version of GFS called GEOS-5 ... their highest resolution snowfall forecast shows 6-12'' NYC & 2' R.I.
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x
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00Z NAM/GFS EVALUATION

THE 00Z NAM AND 00Z GFS ARE BOTH TOO WARM INVOF H85 ON THE ORDER
OF 2 TO 3C ACROSS THE INTERIOR OF THE MID-ATLANTIC FROM CENTRAL VA
NEWD INTO E CNTRL PA AS SUGGEST BY THE 00Z KIAD RAOB.

Maybe I do get some snow...
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652 nymore: When I was a kid, we would clean the roof off (due to weight of the snow) and jump from the top of a two story house into it for fun when we finished.

Of course back then, the Earth hadn't accumulated enough mass yet to have full gravity.
Some remarkable Russian videos on YouTube showing dudes jumping off of apartment buildings into snow drifts. Intactness after landing really had more to do with how DEEP and (importantly) how fluffy the snow drifts were than with anything else.
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Quoting WxGeekVA:


Was just coming here to post that.


sorry
Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14871
Quoting trHUrrIXC5MMX:


Was just coming here to post that.
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Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14871
Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14871
Quoting nymore:
I would not worry to much. You are not forecast to get ice which would weight down the lines to cause the pole to snap. The wind may cause drifting which would be a concern. Being on the second floor should mean nothing. As for anyone that lives up north, you should have a secondary power source, a secondary heating source and the materials to supply these. After that besides the problems of having to move the snow, life should carry on as normal. I see no reason to worry yourself to death.


never talked of a life threatening situation but it could be with this extreme conditions
Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14871


Ryan Maue ‏@RyanMaue
I get 28 mb/24 hr pressure fall at 40-45° latitude -- decent #bomb development. 967 mb minimum probably a good prog
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Quoting AussieStorm:

If you jumped out of the window into 2ft of snow, would you hit the ground? Btw, I am in no way telling you to try it. Maybe do it with a bag of rice or sand.
When I was a kid, we would clean the roof off (do to weight of the snow) and jump from the top of a two story house into it for fun when we finished.
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Quoting trHUrrIXC5MMX:


second floor on a hill, from strong winds and there is a power pole next to one of my windows and because warnings call for 24" of snow if not more.
I would not worry to much. You are not forecast to get ice which would weight down the lines to cause the pole to snap. The wind may cause drifting which would be a concern. Being on the second floor should mean nothing. As for anyone that lives up north, you should have a secondary power source, a secondary heating source and the materials to supply these. After that besides the problems of having to move the snow, life should carry on as normal. I see no reason to worry yourself to death.
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Quoting trHUrrIXC5MMX:


second floor on a hill,danger from strong winds and there is a power pole next to one of my windows and because warnings call for 24" of snow if not more.

If you jumped out of the window into 2ft of snow, would you hit the ground? Btw, I am in no way telling you to try it. Maybe do it with a bag of rice or sand.
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Quoting MrMixon:
Sigh...

National Weather Service Denver/Boulder Colorado
401 PM MST Thursday Feb 7 2013



Short term...would like to be able to beam back to the Old Homestead of Worcester for that big blizzard. In lieu of that...not much to say for the short term period with our uncertain chance of snow to come later.

The European model (ecmwf) is far enough south to provide a blizzard to the northeast corner of the state and some snow in areas further west and south...while the GFS and NAM keep the heavier snow further north and have a pronounced dry area near the Front Range due to more westerly winds and less lift.




I hear ya Mr. Mixon!! I would also like to beam back to Northeast MA right about now for this storm. Meanwhile this is how mother nature repays for moving to Colorado.
Member Since: October 17, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1267
Quoting nymore:
Why would you not be safe?


second floor on a hill,danger from strong winds and there is a power pole next to one of my windows and because warnings call for 24" of snow if not more.
Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14871
Quoting trHUrrIXC5MMX:
Well guys, I just took that picture with my camera as a test for the upcoming storm... I'll be uploading many pictures throughout the storm, I hope to get thunder snow..if I get to record it I;ll upload it too.




I hope I'll be safe
Why would you not be safe?
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645. redux
honestly, with the size of this storm, it wouldnt take much for snow amounts to hit somewhere that is currently not forecasted imo.

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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 :(


I feel your pain. Snow forecasts for the Front Range have gone from tentative to enthusiastic to skeptical...

Here at ~8,000' amsl our ground snow cover is maybe 10%. The rest is dry to bare dirt. Not ideal for mid-winter.

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Quoting PedleyCA:


Better chance of rain tomorrow. It is only suggesting .01 of rain. Doesn't even seem like its worth the effort.


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 :(
Member Since: August 21, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 7305
Sigh...

National Weather Service Denver/Boulder Colorado
401 PM MST Thursday Feb 7 2013



Short term...would like to be able to beam back to the Old Homestead of Worcester for that big blizzard. In lieu of that...not much to say for the short term period with our uncertain chance of snow to come later.

The European model (ecmwf) is far enough south to provide a blizzard to the northeast corner of the state and some snow in areas further west and south...while the GFS and NAM keep the heavier snow further north and have a pronounced dry area near the Front Range due to more westerly winds and less lift.


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Weather Underground ‏@wunderground
Live 24 hour streaming on the #noreaster now available on WU. Watch at http://www.wunderground.com/video/
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SECOND 10 OUT OF 10 GIVEN TO PORTLAND, ME

Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14871
Well guys, I just took that picture with my camera as a test for the upcoming storm... I'll be uploading many pictures throughout the storm, I hope to get thunder snow..if I get to record it I'll upload it too.




I hope I'll be safe
Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14871

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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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