High tide in New York brings flooding

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 12:14 AM GMT on April 16, 2007

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Winds from the 2007 Nor'easter have pushed a two foot storm surge on top of an unusually high "Spring Tide" into the New York City area at the time of this evening's 7:30pm EDT high tide,(Figure 1). Battering waves on top of the storm surge have undoubtedly caused significant coastal erosion, and possibly damage to some structures along the coast. It could have been worse for New York City, as the peak storm surge of 2.5 feet occurred during the afternoon before high tide. Sustained winds of tropical storm force have been observed most of the day south of Long Island at Ambrose Light, and in Long Island Sound. The situation is worse along the western shores of Long Island Sound, where strong winds have already generated a 3-foot storm surge, which was still increasing in height as of 7:30pm EDT. High tide at King's Point is not until 9:30pm EDT tonight; Long Island Sound may see a destructive 4-foot storm surge at that time (Figure 2).

The Nor'easter is moving slower that expected, and is still centered over North Carolina at 7pm EDT. Central pressure continues to fall rapidly, and is down to 981 mb. The storm is expected to continue to intensify down to 973 mb, and track NNE up the New Jersey coast and over New York City. By 8am EDT Monday, the storm will peak in intensity over Connecticut and stall.


Figure 1. Tidal levels observed at The Battery in New York City as of 7:30pm EDT Sunday April 15. Note that water levels peaked at 2.5 feet above normal during the afternoon, but fell to 2 feet above normal at the time of high tide.

The storm surge from today's storm will rival some of the largest ones ever observed in New York, such as during the "Perfect Storm" of October 31, 1991, and the March 13, 1993 Storm of the Century. The worst coastal flooding in recent years in New York City occurred during the December 11-12 1992 Nor'easter, which damaged as many as 20,000 homes and forced almost 2,000 people to take refuge in emergency storm shelters. Storm surges of 4 feet were recorded near New York City, and 5.5 feet in western Long Island Sound. It is possible that the flooding levels seen in the December 1992 Nor'easter will be exceeded in western Long Island Sound tonight.


Figure 2. Tidal levels observed at King's Point in western Long Island Sound on April 15, 2007.

There is too much other remarkable weather to cover in detail. The entire Northeast coast will see an extended period of storm surge flooding, battering waves, and high winds that will likely cause hundreds of millions of dollars in damage. Heavy rains of over four inches have already fallen at New York's Central Park, a tornado from the storm has caused extensive damage in South Carolina that killed one person, and near blizzard conditions are affecting some mountainous regions of New England.

Mount Washington weather
It's a night to hunker down and stay inside at the Mount Washington observatory in New Hampshire. Winds at 8pm EDT were sustained at 70 mph, gusting to 77, and steadily rising. Keep an eye on the history page for Mount Washington to follow the remarkable weather conditions there.

I'll edit this blog tonight to update the water levels and winds, and have a full new blog Monday morning, and there will also be a separate update on the East Coast Winter Storm blog.

Jeff Masters

Fire Flood Rescue (GGGJerseyGuy)
North Eastern Floods New Jersey with heavy rains and wind. Rain totaling up to 5 inche. Here is a photo of a fire rescue in Lodi New Jersey on Main st and Union ave.
Fire Flood Rescue
Sellersville, PA NorEaster (clicks4fun)
Spring deluge - around 1 p.m. - water still rising - roads are being closed - and many more hours of rain to come!
Sellersville, PA NorEaster

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89. MZT
3:35 AM GMT on April 16, 2007
7 inches is getting alarming.

To put that in perspective, the historic floods in North Carolina from Hurricane Floyd were about 10-15 inches in most areas, with some 20 inch+ zones.

Considering that this storm could run for another couple of days, the rainfalls could be incredible. =:-(
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88. CapeWeather06
3:35 AM GMT on April 16, 2007
Storm is west of Atlantic City, MD or southwest.
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87. CapeWeather06
3:32 AM GMT on April 16, 2007
About 7.20" of rain have fallen in Connecticut today and some more left to have. Winds sound stronger then 40mph but hey its just that. I got to wait for the low pressure to come this way before the winds catch up to the pressure falls.
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86. watchingnva
3:32 AM GMT on April 16, 2007
update...he just called after I hit enter...lol...his pressure is down to 976 but not dropping as fast now... and he got a nice gust close to 60...

night guys...lol
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85. SteveDa1
11:30 PM EDT on April 15, 2007
Well I am pretty sure they already knew. 3.5 inches of rain in 3 hours is... actually it's possible. Ok... it's snow.

Levi - you make a very good point, even though you are gone now. Metric is very simple.
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84. watchingnva
3:25 AM GMT on April 16, 2007
pressures around the bay are ranging anywhere from 985 down to 979... my garndfather has a boat in a marina on the middle penninsula...talked to him about 2 hours ago...he told me his barometer was 980.4 and falling....winds were anywhere from 20-35mph...had 1 gust up to 48 so far... said hes guessing hell get winds up in the 60's...possibly 70. Ill get his high gust and what not tomarrow when I talk to him... night guys.

Stay safe.
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83. avlos
10:29 PM CDT on April 15, 2007
preesure is 733.49 torr at Lakehurst,NJ. ;)
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82. sxwarren
3:22 AM GMT on April 16, 2007
Buoy Station 44025 - LONG ISLAND 33 NM South of Islip, NY, 10:50pm EDT:

Wave hgt 17.4 feet, pressure 28.97 (981mb) falling rapidly.
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81. weatherboykris
3:28 AM GMT on April 16, 2007
Everyone stay safe in the storm.
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80. CapeWeather06
3:26 AM GMT on April 16, 2007
Thanks Levi32 for your concerns.
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79. V26R
3:27 AM GMT on April 16, 2007
Nite Kris
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78. snowboy
3:26 AM GMT on April 16, 2007
SteveDa1, should clarify you're talking snow at your end..
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77. V26R
3:26 AM GMT on April 16, 2007
Just looked here, I have 979 mb here in extreme southern Staten Island, wind is still from a southerly direction
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76. weatherboykris
3:27 AM GMT on April 16, 2007
goodnight Levi.I'm out too guys.
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75. Levi32
7:15 PM AKDT on April 15, 2007
Ok look.....how awful is this:

12 inches in a foot....3 feet in a yard.....5280 feet in a mile.....freezing point in Fahrenheit is 32 degrees....boiling point is at 212 degrees....16 ounces in a pound.....8 ounces in a cup....

Isn't that all a bit confusing and hard to remember? Check out metric:

10 millimeters in a centimeter.....100 centimeters in a meter.....1000 meters in a kilometer.....freezing point is at 0 in Celcius.....boiling point is at 100 degrees....1000 grams in a kilogram....

See how easy that is? It's all in powers of 10! And it makes so much sense to me in things like the Celsius temperature scale. Freezing at 0, boiling at 100. So simple! So convenient. I'm so used to Fahrenheit that I admit I'd hate to go to Celsius, but it's a better scale in my opinion.

Anyway that's my little rant on the whole deal smeal lol. Have fun with the nor'easter tonight! I won't be able to be here. You guys in New England be careful, the hurricane force winds are yet to come, and the storm surge and flooding will only get worse through tomorrow as the low winds up.

'Night everyone!
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74. SteveDa1
11:23 PM EDT on April 15, 2007
Pressure down to 979 in Atlantic City (28.91 inches)
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73. V26R
3:18 AM GMT on April 16, 2007
Looks as if on the radar that the center of this monster is moving into the upper Chesapeake Bay area
Anyone have any pressure readings from that area?


Link
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72. CapeWeather06
3:18 AM GMT on April 16, 2007
An inch or inch and a half of rain here on Cape Cod, MA and the winds have increased to 40mph at 11:20pm.
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71. SteveDa1
11:12 PM EDT on April 15, 2007
I've had 3.5 inches here in the last 3 hours and its not showing any signs of stoping... in fact I don't think I'm even a quarter through it. Pressure still high at 1007mb, but I am far away from the storm...
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70. weatherboykris
3:13 AM GMT on April 16, 2007
Wow...check out those dark blues just south of the radar.Those are very close to the surface.

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69. Skyepony (Mod)
3:08 AM GMT on April 16, 2007

NOAA wave watch model
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68. CapeWeather06
3:09 AM GMT on April 16, 2007
Pressure now at 1000mb and winds up to 40mph in gusts, but an area of heavier precip, rain is coming towards us and it looks like a pretty intense area of winds inside the rain band coming from the south southwest.
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67. weatherboykris
3:09 AM GMT on April 16, 2007
And snowboy,I suppose 'whining' was a bit harsh.'Complaining' would've been better.sorry,LOL.
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66. V26R
3:08 AM GMT on April 16, 2007
That wind gust was probably from a severe Thunder Storm we had about 0230z that went thru here, Lightning was very impressive
and totally unexpected here in extreme southern Staten Island, NY
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65. snowboy
3:08 AM GMT on April 16, 2007
funny it's an intense storm, but the precipitation shield is a lot smaller than models originally predicted
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64. weatherboykris
3:08 AM GMT on April 16, 2007
Not really that rare for 980mb,capeweather.
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63. CapeWeather06
3:05 AM GMT on April 16, 2007
Henry Margusity reported wind gusts around 79mph out on Staten Island, NY. I don't know, but that's pretty strong for a storm with a central pressure of 980mb.
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62. snowboy
2:57 AM GMT on April 16, 2007
folks, re-read my post and it did sound snarky. My apologies.

But as a scientist, working with a variety of measurements in a variety of units on a regular basis let me tell you that I thank the good lord every day that I'm doing my work in metric units.

I grew up under using imperial system and know they're fine for lay people, but they're utterly impractical in the sciences..
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61. weatherboykris
3:01 AM GMT on April 16, 2007
The mb/inches conversion is very easy.Jusy multiply the inches by 33.89.
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59. weatherboykris
2:50 AM GMT on April 16, 2007
What's so great about metric?
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58. SteveDa1
10:46 PM EDT on April 15, 2007
Meters to Feet or miles and Celsius to Farenheit is easy stuff. What I completely don't understand is the pressure in inches. I understand 980 MB much more than if you said 29 inches of pressure...
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57. V26R
2:34 AM GMT on April 16, 2007
Pressure is 28.9 inches and still falling in Staten Island, NY with a southerly/easterly
wind starting to pick up
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56. H2PV
2:37 AM GMT on April 16, 2007

Posted By: snowboy at 2:11 AM GMT on April 16, 2007.

The rest of the world made the eminently practical and sensible switch to metric ages ago, but not you stubborn Americans. Ha ha ha! Oh no, better to waste endless time dealing with impractical units than to require the population to stretch their minds and move forward.. Suit yourselves.


What's so sensible? An inch is from the knuckle to the tip of my index finger, a foot is my size 12's with shoe on, a cubit is from my elbow to the tip of my index finger and two of those is a yard (from my index finger on my outstretched arm to my nose), a mile (mille) is 1,000 double-steps, a ton is one standard-sized big barrel of wine, an acre is the amount of ground one man can harvest with a sythe in one 10 hour day.

A hectare is what in your world of actual experience? A meter is 1/10,000,000th of the distance between the north pole and the equator, as if most people ever get to either one, let alone both of them to pace it off.

The English units are very practical and tied to human dimensions and units of historical commerce.

Teaspoons and tablespoons are mouth-sized. 3 teaspoons to a tablespoon, 16 tablespoons to a cup, two tablespoons to an ounce. A pint is how much a thirsty workman can drink at a long gulp. Makes recipes and meal planning intuitive for millions of cooks.

What's intuitive about a joule? Who even uses joules when they are not in a classroom or laboratory?

55. udflyers09
2:34 AM GMT on April 16, 2007
Just saw an observation out of Linwood, NJ near Atlantic City with a pressure of 979.08.
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54. flibinite
2:20 AM GMT on April 16, 2007
edo... that river gauge *better* be wrong, or I fear there's going to be people who will not make it.

It seems totally impossible, though, so I wouldn't worry too much.

CURRENT CONDITIONS: Albany, NY
Rain Fog/Mist and 34 F (1 C)
Wind: From the North at 16 MPH
Dewpoint: 33 F (1 C)
Pressure: 29.46" (997.7 mb) and falling...

Jo
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53. sdcbassman
2:25 AM GMT on April 16, 2007
snowboy ... no need for the anti-american rant. the subject we're discussing is an event taking place in America. The observation and mesurement in inches REFLECT THAT. i'm sure you can understand that. if not ... just deal with it.
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50. Levi32
6:23 PM AKDT on April 15, 2007
LOL....if you want my vote, I'm for millibars all the way! Snowboy's right metric is the way to go, with the exception of the Celsius scale. I'm not quite ready to drop farenhite lol.
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48. SteveDa1
10:18 PM EDT on April 15, 2007
980.3mb in Wildwood, NJ and 980.7mb in Atlantic City... those are the lowest readings for the state. I think the center is very close to Wildwood if not over the southernmost part of NJ.
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47. sdcbassman
2:22 AM GMT on April 16, 2007
982mb ... 29.00inches ... still falling .. central NJ
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45. snowboy
2:00 AM GMT on April 16, 2007
Whining?!!! kris, you're lucky you're out of reach or I'd tan your hide. LOLOLOL.

The rest of the world made the eminently practical and sensible switch to metric ages ago, but not you stubborn Americans. Ha ha ha! Oh no, better to waste endless time dealing with impractical units than to require the population to stretch their minds and move forward.. Suit yourselves.

I just noted that about half the pressure posted in here were in mb, and half in inches, which seems silly cause then everyone tuning in here gets to do those lovely conversions themselves with every new post.
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44. SteveDa1
9:56 PM EDT on April 15, 2007
I can convert them easily here.

Everything you need to convert is there... it's great.
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43. Skyepony (Mod)
1:55 AM GMT on April 16, 2007
Here's a great page for converting inches to mb, vise versa & kts/MPH
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42. sdcbassman
1:53 AM GMT on April 16, 2007
29.02 and falling rapidly ... or 983mb for snowboy
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41. CapeWeather06
1:53 AM GMT on April 16, 2007
Still pressure only at 1004mb and steady or decreasing with heavy rain and gusts to 38mph, but that has been happening for about forty minutes already.
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40. V26R
1:43 AM GMT on April 16, 2007
Actually if you use the NDBC site you can pick if you want Metric or English standards

Pressure right now is 986mb or 29.16 inches and falling still with a Decent Thunder Storm
in extreme southern Staten Island, NY
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39. HutchFL
1:44 AM GMT on April 16, 2007
Take a breather. Wish SouthernLady a happy birthday and thank her for her dedicated work on the blogs tracking this system for the past several days.
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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.