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Winter Storm Nemo: Historic Blizzard Pounds New England

Chris Dolce
Published: February 9, 2013

Nemo's Coastal Flood Threat

Background

Boston Tides

Boston Tides

Intense, onshore winds will produce moderate to locally major coastal flooding around high tides Saturday morning. Flooding was reported in Weymouth, Mass., at the time of high tide Friday evening.

(READ FLOOD ALERTS:  MA | NY | CT | NH | ME | NJ | DE)

Background

S. New England Coastal Flood

S. New England Coastal Flood

S. New England Coastal Flood

S. New England Coastal Flood

The areas at greatest risk are north and east-facing shorelines from Boston south into Cape Cod Bay, with tides 3-4' above normal already observed and expected to continue through Saturday morning's high tide!  

According to Michael Lowry, Hurricane Specialist and Storm Surge Expert at The Weather Channel (On Twitter), here are top five storm tide values at the Boston Harbor gauge in the historical record:

  • "Blizzard of '78" (Feb. 6, 1978):  4.82 feet
  • January 2, 1987:  3.92 feet
  • "Perfect Storm" (Oct. 30, 1991):  3.86 feet
  • January 28, 1979:  3.76 feet
  • 1992 Nor'easter (Dec. 12, 1992):  3.75 feet
  • All values are referenced to mean higher high water, i.e., the normal high tide level.

Lowry says a model storm surge forecast for Boston Harbor suggests this storm may produce a peak surge on par with both the 1992 Nor'easter and the January 1979 event, with the greatest threat during Saturday morning's high tide.

Tide levels at Boston were 4.21 feet above normal just after midnight Saturday morning.

(EXPERT BLOG:  Weather Underground's Dr. Jeff Masters)

Suffice to say, significant beach erosion will occur along the entire Mass. coast.  This may include some structural damage, flooding of basements along with numerous roads closed!  Those conditions were observed with Friday's evening high tide.

Significant coastal flooding is also expected Saturday morning along the sound side of Long Island and the "eastern forks", as well as parts of coastal Connecticut and the southern coast of Maine.  Minor to locally moderate coastal flooding is also expected along the Jersey shore and the Delmarva Peninsula.

Major impacts to interstate and air travel are forecasted with this storm. Be sure to check back with us at weather.com and The Weather Channel for the latest on this winter storm.

Follow our meteorologists on Twitter:  Chris Dolce | Jonathan Erdman | Nick Wiltgen

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NASA

Near Guadalupe Island off the coast of Baja California on June 21, 2012.

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