Blizzards of the Past Decade 2003-2013

By: TheDawnAwakening , 8:49 PM GMT on October 10, 2013

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February 17-18th 2003 Snowstorm
44" Garrett, MD

ENSO PHASE: warm phase
NAO PHASE: Positive phase
PNA PHASE: Positive phase

With all regards to this being a historical snowstorm for Boston through DC, this was in no regards a major blizzard with extreme pressure falls and gradient. This was a rather weakened 500mb trough that moves through with warm air advection over a very cold dome of high pressure over Northern New England. Dry air kept most of the snow around the I95 corridor and further eastward. This was the best case scenario for snow lovers with a weak surface low and strong surface high and strong warm air advection processes.

December 25-27th 2004 Christmas Eve through Boxing Day Snowstorm
18" Brewster, MA

ENSO PHASE: WARM PHASE
NAO PHASE: POSITIVE PHASE
PNA PHASE: NEGATIVE PHASE

This was an extremely dynamic storm system which brought snow as far south as Mexico in late December and brought 18" of snow to Massachusetts with amounts of 12" near the VA coastline. This storm deepened rapidly as it moved up the East Coast. This system was the result of a strong long wave trough in which the shortwave rounded the base of the trough over the GOM and then moved Northeastward up the coast missing the 40/70 benchmark by several hundred miles, keeping the best dynamics in a snowband along the coastline.

January 22-23rd 2005 Blizzard
40.5" Mashpee, MA

ENSO PHASE: WARM PHASE
NAO PHASE: POSITIVE PHASE
PNA PHASE: NEGATIVE PHASE

THis was a result of a strong to intense shortwave trough that became enhanced with a strong PNA ridge over western US rockies region. This shortwave entered the US through Manitoba, Canada indicating a highly anomalous and highly amplified pattern. This was indicative of the massive pressure falls that were found on the buoy near 40/70 on January 23rd 2005. Snowfall rates reached a record breaking 8.5" in 1 hour 15 minutes in Taunton, MA with thunder snow. Areas along the entire eastern Shore of MA were founded in 30-40" of snow and drifts over 50". Schools were closed for near to over a week long in the region. Winds gusted over hurricane force over Nantucket, MA and Cape Cod, MA.

These are the first three storms on the list, I will have more on the next three storms tomorrow afternoon.
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February 12th 2006 Snowstorm
30.2" N/A

ENSO PHASE: COLD PHASE
NAO PHASE: COLD PHASE
PNA PHASE: COLD PHASE

This was a major snowstorm which dumped near 35" over New Jersey and New York, paralyzing the city of New York, NY and Fairfield, CT received over 35" of snow. A shortwave moved through the long wave pattern trough in which a large ridge centered over the Rockies lead to downstream troughing over the Eastern US Seaboard. This vort max closed off a 500mb low delaying the departure of the surface low. It was quite a dynamic situation with the low sub 970mb.

February 13-14th 2007 Valentine's Day Blizzard
48" in Stowe, VT

ENSO PHASE: NEUTRAL PHASE
NAO PHASE: COLD PHASE
PNA PHASE: COLD PHASE

During a neutral ENSO period and a cold phase of the PNA index, a coastal low tracked along the coastline or just inland ending up in west of the Cape Cod, MA Canal creating blizzard like conditions along the mountain range with Stowe, VT receiving four feet of snow. This storm was snowless along the immediate shoreline while areas west of Boston, MA received 6"+ of heavy wet snows.

January 14th 2008 Snowstorm
14.5" in Worcester, MA

ENSO PHASE: COLD PHASE
NAO PHASE: WARM PHASE
PNA PHASE: COLD PHASE

This snowstorm was weak in nature compared to the previous two blizzards, with pressure around 992mb compared to the sub 970mb the other two storms had. This was an actual dynamic situation, but did not result in a big snowfall. A lead 500mb vort max within the overall long wave trough was the result of a negative tilted trough, with a backside vort max closing in on the storm, resulting in a kicking out of the first lead vort max. This closed down the duration of the storm and only allowed 14.5" to accumulate in the highest snowfall area. THis was an inland based storm with little if any accumulations near the coastline.

December 16-20th 2009 SNowstorm
32" in N/A

ENSO PHASE: WARM PHASE
NAO PHASE: COLD PHASE
PNA PHASE: WARM PHASE

This storm situation was based upon 500mb troughing over the Canadian Maritimes and a longwave trough over the eastern US closing off a low in the APPS. There was a strong southern stream shortwave trough that formed over the Southern US states in a strong EL Nino phase, in which the sub tropical jet stream was rather well active. A strong pacific Ocean shortwave trough entered the Plains on the 17th and 18th and then phased with the southern stream shortwave trough over MS/AL and then merging over the NC/SC region and just offshore. Questions remained on how far north the confluence over the Maritimes would allow the low to move and ended up dumping near a foot of snow over the Cape and Islands and along the SNE coastline. The storm dumped over 30" of snow in NJ and NY.

February 5-6th 2010 Blizzard
38.3" in Elkridge, MD

ENSO PHASE: WARM PHASE
NAO PHASE: COLD PHASE
PNA PHASE: WARM PHASE

This storm was a question of the strength of confluence over the New England region through the Maritimes of Canada. The strength of confluence blocked the surface low and 500mb trough from moving far enough northward to bring precip to the region. However MD and PA received one of their biggest snowstorms in recorded history. Baltimore and Washington D.C. received over 20" from this blizzard.
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February 9-10th 2010 Blizzard
Widespread 20"+ in Baltimore/D.C. region

ENSO PHASE: WARM PHASE
NAO PHASE: COLD PHASE
PNA PHASE: WARM PHASE

Highly dynamic longwave troughing pattern over the eastern US allowed a large 500mb closed low developed over the Mid Atlantic states with the surface low moving northwestward as the 500mb trough captures the surface low. Widespread snows occurred to the west of the surface low track and near the 500mb upper level low.

January 25-27th 2011 SNOWSTORM
10-15" in SNE

ENSO PHASE: COLD PHASE
NAO PHASE: COLD PHASE
PNA PHASE: WARM PHASE

Dynamic storm system with a band of a quick 12" of snowfall as the system exits quickly. 10-15" of snow moves quickly, but very dynamic.

January 8-11th 2011 Snowstorm
40.5" in Savoy, MA

ENSO PHASE: COLD PHASE
NAO PHASE: COLD PHASE
PNA PHASE: WARM PHASE

Highly dynamic storm system, in which 500mb low was large and dynamic and strong. Band of heavy snow spread across SNE, dumping a large amount of snow on Massachusetts.

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3. WunderAlertBot (Admin)
1:23 PM GMT on October 21, 2013
TheDawnAwakening has created a new entry.
2. TheDawnAwakening
5:39 PM GMT on October 11, 2013
Quoting 1. originalLT:
Nice post so far, interested to see the rest. Also interesting to see so far that the NAO Phase in all three examples so far was negative.--They always make a big deal that to get big East Coast storms you have to have a negative NAO to get "Blocking".


The NAO blocking regime is for long lasting blizzards in duration, it really doesn't have an impact on the track or location of the storm. It turns the occasional snowstorm of 15" into a blizzard with 40" of snow. It doesn't mean there will be a major storm, you need a catalyst for that in the form of a 500mb vort max and troughing regime.
Member Since: October 21, 2008 Posts: 243 Comments: 3564
1. originalLT
4:16 PM GMT on October 11, 2013
Nice post so far, interested to see the rest. Also interesting to see so far that the NAO Phase in all three examples so far was negative.--They always make a big deal that to get big East Coast storms you have to have a negative NAO to get "Blocking".
Member Since: January 31, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 7065

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