Snows begin in Northeast U.S. as historic Nor'easter strengthens

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:17 PM GMT on February 08, 2013

Share this Blog
38
+

Snow has begun falling from New York City to Massachusetts, where blizzard warnings are flying in anticipation of the arrival of one of the most severe and dangerous Nor'easters in U.S. history. The great storm, dubbed "Nemo", has just emerged into the waters off the coast of Virginia, and is predicted to "bomb" to a central pressure of 975 - 980 mb by Saturday afternoon. Cold, Arctic air spilling southwards behind a strong 1038 mb high over Canada will collide with warm, moist air over the Atlantic, where ocean temperatures are unusually warm--about 5°F warmer than average over a large swath from New Jersey to Nantucket, Massachusetts. The contrast between the cold and warm air will help intensify the storm, and the unusually warm waters will pump large quantities of moisture into the air, which will be capable of feeding record-breaking snows over New England. The latest NWS forecast for Boston calls for 22 - 30" of snow by Saturday morning, with additional snows though Saturday afternoon. Since Boston's all-time heaviest snow storm is 27.5" (February 17-18, 2003), Winter Storm Nemo has a chance of exceeding that. 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"


The weight of all that heavy snow on rooftops will create the danger of roof collapses. In addition to the heavy snow, the storm will bring 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 Hartford, Providence, and Portland are all likely to get more than a foot of snow, and two feet of snow will probably fall along a swath from South Central Connecticut to Southwest Maine, with isolated amounts of 3'. Ferocious sustained winds near 50 mph will occur 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. The snow and high winds are likely to cause many power outages.


Figure 1. Predicted snowfall for Winter Storm Nemo from Friday's 00Z run of the European (ECMWF) model. The highest snowfall amounts (> 24") are predicted for Long Island, Southern Connecticut, and Eastern Massachusetts, including Boston. This forecast assumes that the ratio between liquid water equivalent and snow depth will be 10:1. In some areas away from the coast, this ratio may be closer to 15:1, leading to snow amounts near 36".


Figure 2. Predicted wind speeds in knots at 7 am EST Saturday, February 9, 2013, from the 00Z February 8, 2013 run of the European (ECMWF) model. The model is predicting sustained winds of 50 knots (57.5 mph) will be just offshore of 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. High tide Friday night will occur between 9:30 - 10 pm EST, and minor to moderate coastal flooding is expected along east and north-facing shores, when the storm surge of 2 - 3' rides in on top of the tide. Battering waves of 8 - 17' will hit the coast south of Boston in Cape Cod Bay, causing severe beach erosion. Of greater 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 near 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 high 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. Fortunately, it appears that the peak storm surge from Nemo will arrive at the time of low tide early Saturday morning, and the surge will have fallen about a foot by the time the high tide arrives near 10 am EST Saturday. As of 9am EST on February 8, 2013, the latest storm surge forecast from the GFS model was calling for a storm tide of about 3.4' above high tide (MHHW, Mean Higher High Water) in Boston on Saturday morning. This would cause minor to moderate flooding in the city, and would be approximately the 10th highest water level on record. The official top 5 storm tides since 1921 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 18 - 26' feet high, and major flooding and significant coastal erosion is expected. Major coastal flooding is also expected on the east end of Nantucket Island.

Severe beach erosion is also expected along the north and northeast facing shores of Long Island, NY, where a storm surge of 3 - 5' will combine with 4 - 8' breaking waves. Minor to moderate coastal flooding is expected along western Long Island Sound. New York City is expecting a 2 - 4' storm surge, which will cause mostly minor flooding, with a few areas of moderate flooding.


Figure 3. Coastal flooding hazards during the high tide cycle on Saturday morning, February 9, 2013, as predicted at 5 am EDT Friday, February 8, 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

Reader Comments

Comments will take a few seconds to appear.

Post Your Comments

Please sign in to post comments.

or Join

Not only will you be able to leave comments on this blog, but you'll also have the ability to upload and share your photos in our Wunder Photos section.

Display: 0, 50, 100, 200 Sort: Newest First - Order Posted

Viewing: 60 - 10

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29Blog Index

Quoting JTDailyUpdate:


I'm still standing with this as a precursor to volcanic activity, possibly some major underwater eurptions


USGS stated just that same point on their weekly report summary for the Marianna Islands chain..
Member Since: August 13, 2009 Posts: 13 Comments: 6773
Quoting pcola57:


Thanks Max..
Keep them coming.. :)


sure..

.probably you didn't quite get the part of "I was afraid it could hit my room" bcause I forgot to add "FOR SANDY" in there... but I just did..

Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14871
Quoting VR46L:


Typical ...


not sure what that means.
Dr masters even came on here and settled that argument sometime in January I believe.
That's just a fact, nobody got forced to do anything.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Yes!.He has been stopped in his tracks!.
Member Since: August 14, 2010 Posts: 10 Comments: 16435
Quoting trHUrrIXC5MMX:
rain is moving in... now at the CT coast... Darn!

I think with a more NW track seemingly taking shape amounts in NYC and surrounding areas could be cut down.
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 82 Comments: 7633
Quoting trHUrrIXC5MMX:
LATEST PICS I GOT... HOPE YOU LIKE 'EM

Nearly nearly 1.5" of snow now...

O went up to the attic to get this one....a snowplow went by about 2 mins before...it would have been great I had shot it with the truck going by... I'll come gain


that's from the back of my house in the attic.. notice the green arrow is nor a big avenue there...some cars going by.
In fact, that avenue is called Route 1, it extends all the way from Key West, FL through here and up to Maine!



That's the power pole near my window, just 10' away... I was afraid it could hit my room because the winds were pushing it towards it... But I was in Mass. anyway. Awesome snow pics indeed!



Thanks Max..
Keep them coming.. :)
Member Since: August 13, 2009 Posts: 13 Comments: 6773
GOES-East US East Coast 4km Infrared

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting MAweatherboy1:
Just had another big one in the Solomon Islands, 7.0 this time:



wtf???? Wasn't that 8.0 going to calm things down??

Is there another massive quake looming?
Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14871
Quoting Neapolitan:
Dr. Masters has answered similar questions before: no, no one "made" him use the name "Nemo". He uses the TWC winter storm names because it's a great idea. Most reasonable people feel the same way, I think.
Must be so so many unreasonable people that blog here... Dammit Jim
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Neapolitan:
Dr. Masters has answered similar questions before: no, no one "made" him use the name "Nemo". He uses the TWC winter storm names because it's a great idea. And it's been my experience that most reasonable people agree.


Typical ...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
What could be a historic storm, and some want to nit-pick whether it is named or not? Wow!! You must not enjoy weather as much as i do.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
rain is moving in... now at the CT coast... Darn!
Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14871
Quoting trHUrrIXC5MMX:
LATEST PICS I GOT... HOPE YOU LIKE 'EM

Nearly nearly 1.5" of snow now...

O went up to the attic to get this one....a snowplow went by about 2 mins before...it would have been great I had shot it with the truck going by... I'll come gain


that's from the back of my house in the attic.. notice the green arrow is nor a big avenue there...some cars going by.
In fact, that avenue is called Route 1, it extends all the way from Key West, FL through here and up to Maine!



That's the power pole near my window, just 10' away... I was afraid it could hit my room because the winds were pushing it towards it... But I was in Mass. anyway. Awesome snow pics indeed!


Danbury area-up to 1.25".
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Robert Sinclair (AAA):

"Remember All Wheel Drive DOES NOT equal All Wheel Stop."

"I remember one time on the turnpike there were 100 crashes and 98 involved SUVs"
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Neapolitan:
Dr. Masters has answered similar questions before: no, no one "made" him use the name "Nemo". He uses the TWC winter storm names because it's a great idea. Most reasonable people feel the same way, I think.
And some "reasonable peaple" feel the names are ugly as well.. ;)
Quoting Grothar:
GFS showing another low in 6 days.

Cold air will be here this time in D.C I'm just hoping it's cold enough.
Member Since: August 14, 2010 Posts: 10 Comments: 16435
Quoting Wiiilbur:


Of course that's what happened. No one in their right mind would use this ridiculous naming convention if they weren't forced to. I'm betting Masters holds his nose and cringes every time he has to type one of those BS storm names.


really?
keep betting that.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
My prediction - people are going to be amazed at how many trees and branches fall, and the extent and duration of lost power. It was obvious after Sandy that most of the trees that fell were already visibly rotting on the inside. No, that is not normal. Trees didn't used to fall in storms, and most species should live for centuries.

Trees are in decline everywhere because they are absorbing toxic air pollution. The background level of tropospheric ozone is inexorably increasing as precursors travel around the globe. The first impact on vegetation, before symptoms appear on damaged leaves and foliage, is that root systems shrink. This renders plants more vulnerable to drought and wind. Immunity to pathogens such as insects, disease and fungus is compromised, and these opportunistic attacks kill trees, and lower the yield and nutritional content of annual crops.

When the storm is over and the power is out, take a look at the trees. Whether they fell or not, their bark is all cracking and peeling off. They are all dying.

We might be able to plant new trees and have them thrive once again - but we'd have to drastically reduce our level of consumption and put in place a radical plan to lower human population.

Read about the trees here, before the power goes out (and fill the tub with water):

http://scienceblogs.com/gregladen/2013/01/29/whis pers-from-the-ghosting-trees/
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Tazmanian:



that makes 2 7.0s so far for tat area following the 8.0


I think a other big one is on the way


I'm still standing with this as a precursor to volcanic activity, possibly some major underwater eurptions
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Tazmanian:



that makes 2 7.0s so far for tat area following the 8.0


I think a other big one is on the way
I don't really think so. All of these energy is being released already so there won't be that much of energy left for the big one.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Downtown, NYC... I have been in this place below
Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14871
Thank you Dr. Master... Glad I am not up there..Everyone be careful in the Northeast
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting 1900hurricane:
Thanks Dr. Masters.

From the previous blog:

At least indirectly it will. Even if the rain-snow line never makes it north of New York City (which I think it will for a short time period), just being so close to the r/s line means that the snow to liquid ratio won't be so good with relatively warmer air aloft. As long as that r/s line is so close, snowfall to liquid ratios will probably be <10:1, or a very heavy and wet snow.


Wonder if this means more warm air intrusion and prolonged period of rain. Have noticed though that dewpoints are holding tough on Long Island for the time being. Need winds to start backing to the NNE this afternoon to get more snow. Wish I was there for this but I am in warm and sunny Puerto Rico.
Member Since: April 29, 2009 Posts: 75 Comments: 14055
Quoting riblet2000:
Each time The Weather Channel marketing department forces Wundergroud to use their cheesy winter storm names without also stating that it is a Weather Channel marketing gimmick, this once great site loses credibility. Soon, it'll be just as lame as weather.com.

C'mon, show some integrity.


except nobody gets forced.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting NASABrat:
So tell us, did the Weather Channel guys make you use the name "Nemo" at least once in your story because they bought your Weather Underground and they said so? It's ok, we will understand.
Dr. Masters has answered similar questions before: no, no one "made" him use the name "Nemo". He chooses to use the TWC winter storm names because it's a great idea. And it's been my experience that most reasonable people agree.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:


GFS 12Z Precipation Loop


Member Since: Posts: Comments:
GFS showing another low in 6 days.

Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 69 Comments: 25395
Quoting MAweatherboy1:
Just had another big one in the Solomon Islands, 7.0 this time:




that makes 2 7.0s so far for tat area following the 8.0


I think a other big one is on the way
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting NASABrat:
So tell us, did the Weather Channel guys make you use the name "Nemo" at least once in your story because they bought your Weather Underground and they said so? It's ok, we will understand.


Well we ran out of good names that start with snow to call these things
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
LATEST PICS I GOT... HOPE YOU LIKE 'EM

Nearly nearly 1.5" of snow now...

O went up to the attic to get this one....a snowplow went by about 2 mins before...it would have been great I had shot it with the truck going by... I'll come gain


that's from the back of my house in the attic.. notice the green arrow is nor a big avenue there...some cars going by.
In fact, that avenue is called Route 1, it extends all the way from Key West, FL through here and up to Maine!



That's the power pole near my window, just 10' away... I was afraid it could hit my room for Sandy because the winds were pushing it towards it... But I was in Mass. anyway. Awesome snow pics indeed!

Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14871
Quoting riblet2000:
Each time The Weather Channel marketing department forces Wundergroud to use their cheesy winter storm names without also stating that it is a Weather Channel marketing gimmick, this once great site loses credibility. Soon, it'll be just as lame as weather.com.

C'mon, show some integrity.



if you don't like it then you can go post some where else
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Well we ran out of good names that start with snow to call this
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Just had another big one in the Solomon Islands, 7.0 this time:

Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 82 Comments: 7633
As I mentioned yesterday, TV Station WFSB in Hartford CT. names their storms, this one they call, "Charlotte". They have been doing this for years, so it's nothing new for them.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Each time The Weather Channel marketing department forces Wundergroud to use their cheesy winter storm names without also stating that it is a Weather Channel marketing gimmick, this once great site loses credibility. Soon, it'll be just as lame as weather.com.

C'mon, show some integrity.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
18 hours

Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 69 Comments: 25395
Looks like heavy sneaux about to hit CT

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting NASABrat:
So tell us, did the Weather Channel guys make you use the name "Nemo" at least once in your story because they bought your Weather Underground and they said so? It's ok, we will understand.


no that's not what happened.
I mean we can just calll it "the noreaster" or we can call it nemo. Big deal.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Thanks Doc, so far not much up here (near the NE border of RI and MA), just a coating on the grass and trees as we haven't gotten into the heavy stuff yet. Should be a fun 24 hours!
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 82 Comments: 7633
Thanks Dr. Masters for the new blog post. :-) Stay safe everyone!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
18 NASABrat: So tell us, did the Weather Channel guys make you use the name "Nemo" at least once in your story because they bought your Weather Underground and they said so?

Hardly. When ya push an idea good for its time, others tend to go along with it.
Bank of America @BofA_Help
Winter Storm #Nemo may bring 2 feet of #snow to New England late Fri & Sat.
Prepare now -- make sure you have plenty of cash on hand.

Bank of America @BofA_Help
Prepare now so you ride out Winter Storm #Nemo. Make a trip to the ATM for cash.
Fill up your gas tank & cupboards. Charge your cell phone.
Even you would have to concede that TheWeatherChannel ain't even a tiny fraction of being big enough to force anything on the BofA.
Member Since: August 21, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 4860
WxGeekVA their is hope if your still on.Around next sunday they are showing a possibility of snow with temps in the 30's to near 40's range.This is still 9 days out and things can and will change.
Member Since: August 14, 2010 Posts: 10 Comments: 16435
So tell us, did the Weather Channel guys make you use the name "Nemo" at least once in your story because they bought your Weather Underground and they said so? It's ok, we will understand.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Thank you Dr. Masters for the update..
Thanks for mentioning the higher water temps being a contributing factor for a more robust and deepening of moisture lift and resulting increase in snow ..
As you said,Historic indeed..
Thanks again..
Member Since: August 13, 2009 Posts: 13 Comments: 6773
SnowMyGod:

Image of the Day:


Powerful Nor'easter Coming Together
A massive winter storm is coming together as two low pressure systems are merging over the U.S. East Coast. A satellite image from NOAA's GOES-13 satellite on Feb. 8 shows a western frontal system approaching the coastal low pressure area.

The satellite image, captured at 9:01 a.m. EST, shows clouds associated with the western frontal system stretching from Canada through the Ohio and Tennessee valleys, into the Gulf of Mexico. The comma-shaped low pressure system located over the Atlantic, east of Virginia, is forecast to merge with the front and create a powerful nor'easter. The National Weather Service expects the merged storm to move northeast and drop between two to three feet of snow in parts of New England.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Pic of snow in New Canaan, CT

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


I had a coating of slush on my car and the grass this morning. Melted now though.
Yes unfortuantely.Winter in terms of snow has been very crule.We've been teased on eto many times!.Wes Junker the winter weather expert is hinting at a cold pattern and a storm around that time that could be D.C's for two inch storm and the models are starting to pick up on it to.So we'll see.I'm crossing fingers.Once March comes I'v given up..
Member Since: August 14, 2010 Posts: 10 Comments: 16435
steady light snow here near hartford CT, ground is covered
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
sign of good deepening...lighting reports!!
Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14871
Oh, and GEAUX SNEAUX!

Thanks Dr Masters.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting washingtonian115:
Nothing to see here in D.C..


I had a coating of slush on my car and the grass this morning. Melted now though.
Member Since: September 3, 2011 Posts: 13 Comments: 3468

Viewing: 60 - 10

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29Blog Index

Top of Page

About

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

Local Weather

Mostly Cloudy
71 °F
Mostly Cloudy