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One Snowy, Windy Nor’easter Gone; More on the Way?

By: Bob Henson 5:04 PM GMT on February 10, 2017

A fast-moving, hard-hitting snowstorm walloped large swaths of the Northeast U.S. and New England on Thursday, a mere day after record highs above 60°F had enveloped much of the region. Widespread wind gusts of 50 to 70 mph--qualifying the storm as a blizzard for several hours in many areas, including Boston--added to the impact of this classic midwinter event, which dropped widespread snow totals of a foot or more from Long Island, New York, to southwest Maine. Only one fatality had been reported as of Friday morning, a doorman in New York City who slipped and fell through a plate-glass window while shoveling.

The high winds and heavy snow were fueled by a powerful upper-level low sweeping atop the strong low-level temperature contrasts. The result was a very intense surface low that underwent “bombogenesis” near 40°N and 70°W, the benchmark location most closely associated with heavy snow in New York and New England. A bomb-type low requires surface pressure to drop at least 24 mb in 24 hours. Thursday’s storm more than did the trick, with pressures falling from 1002 to 973 mb in 24 hours.

February is the peak month for big snows in the Northeast, and while this storm didn’t smash many records for total accumulation, it was still notably intense, as the fierce winds were accompanied by very heavy snowfall rates. New York’s LaGuardia International Airport received 6” of snow in just two hours, between 8 AM and 10 AM EST Thursday morning, en route to a storm total of 10”.

Figure 1. Pedestrians in western Brooklyn navigate the heavy snow and high winds on Thursday, February 9, 2017. Image credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images.

The strong temperature and moisture contrasts led to an unusually unstable air mass that generated a truly impressive amount of thunder and lightning for a winter storm (see embedded video at bottom). Matthew Cappucci, an undergraduate at Harvard University, uses data from the National Lightning Detection Network to calculate the number of cloud-to-ground flashes in Northeast winter storms. Cappucci tallied a total of 120 cloud-to-ground lightning strikes with Thursday’s nor’easter. No other winter storm analyzed by Cappucci over the last decade has produced more than 6 strikes, except for the 19 strikes recorded on December 29, 2016. (Thursday was the first time Cappucci himself experienced thundersnow.) A house fire in Providence, RI, on Thursday may have been caused by a lightning strike.

Top snow totals by state, as compiled on Friday morning by the NOAA/NWS Weather Prediction Center, included:

Connecticut: 19” (East Hartford)
Massachusetts: 19” (East Longmeadow)
Maryland: 11.5” (Redhouse)
Maine: 15.4” (near Berwick)
New Hampshire: 17” (Nottingham)
New Jersey: 10” (Vernon)
New York: 16” (Guilderland)
Ohio: 3” (Ravenna)
Pennsylvania: 11.0” (near Champion)
Rhode Island: 14” (Greene)
Virginia: 6” (Hightown)
Vermont: 10” (Woodford)
West Virginia: 8.5” (near Cheat Lake)

See the weather.com roundup for more details on the impact of this storm, dubbed Niko by The Weather Channel.

Figure 2. Larry Habermehl shovels his driveway on King Street in Enfield, Connecticut, on Thursday, Feb. 9, 2017. Habermehl said, "I need the exercise and I don't like plows gouging up my lawn." See this Harvard Health Blog post for tips on how to protect your heart from the risk posed by shoveling snow. Image credit: Brad Horrigan/Hartford Courant via AP.

Figure 3. Seven-day snowfall predicted by the 06Z Friday run of the GFS model for the period from early Friday morning February 10 to February 17, 2017. Longer-range model projections like these can be expected to shift over time in the location and intensity of snowfall. Image credit: tropicaltidbits.com.

More snow likely for parts of the Northeast/New England
After a highly variable but not-too-severe winter thus far, the Northeast and New England are in for a week or more of multiple snowfall threats. This idea is supported by the Madden-Julian Oscillation, which will be very active over the tropical Pacific over the next few days. Large clusters of showers and thunderstorms associated with the MJO can produce upper-level effects that propagate thousands of miles poleward into the midlatitudes. A 2016 paper led by Phil Klotzbach (Colorado State University), showed that when the MJO is active in the tropical regions from the western Pacific toward South America (phases 7 and 8), it tends to boost the amount of snow falling across southeast New England. During Boston’s record-snowy winter of 2014-15, more than 90% of the snow at Logan International Airport fell while the MJO was in phases 7 and 8, according to Klotzbach and colleagues. The MJO is predicted to be quite strong in regions 7 and 8 for the next week-plus (see Figure 4 below).

One potentially major Northeast storm is taking shape for late Sunday into Monday. Like the storm just ended, the Sunday/Monday event will be produced by upper-level energy translating quickly across eastern Canada and the Northeast U.S. rather than digging deeply into the Eastern U.S. This time, the warm sector of the storm should be far enough north to keep precipitation in liquid form along the Washington–New York megalopolis. However, the fast-moving surface low may have just enough time to bomb out east of Boston and help generate heavy snow in the 6” - 12” range (or even more) from upstate New York across northern New England, especially over southern and eastern Maine. Another compact upper-level low will scoot along a similar track later next week. As of Friday, it was unclear whether this impulse will dig enough to produce yet another significant snow for the Northeast and New England.

We’ll be back on Monday with a new post. Enjoy your weekend, everyone!

Bob Henson

Figure 4. Predicted state of the Madden-Julian Oscillation for the period from February 10 to 24, 2017, based on output from the ensemble GFS model. This phase-state map shows MJO energy progressing counterclockwise (eastward) through eight geographic phases, each shown by a map sector defined by dotted lines. The further the MJO is located from the map center, the stronger the activity. The green line indicates the GFS ensemble average, while yellow lines show the individual model runs. Image credit: NOAA/NWS Climate Prediction Center.

Winter Weather Blizzard

The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.

Reader Comments

501. vis0

Quoting 251. RobertWC:

It was 100F degrees in heartland today. in February. No one has ever seen this. If this, shows up over the in the Senate we are all screwed.

Quoting 255. RobertWC:

It was 100 F today on Feb 11 . Crushing records, now we crash as a deep low comes by on it's way to melt the pole.

Quoting 258. RobertWC:

These numbers here load the lows they are being hurled North.

They don't die after they leave us. They are after the last of the ice. The last of the old cold .

They are the killers of the cold. The murders of the ice in it's bed.
The reply below was posted during the start of the Lake Oroville warnings so i felt that was more urgent at the moment that i changed what is below to images justmehouston had posted.

What is below might not be an exact copy but it was my nutty reasoning as to RobertWC's  multi caring of our real home comments

First RobertWC was at least also at the WxU Twitter and maybe as i noticed all the record HIGHs broken posted there so he commented here where one can wax poetically as opposed to the 140 character forcing misspelling errors limiting Twitter, not to mention Twitter which also takes the life out of words as in not maintaining a readers attention to the point of not being able to pass on wisdom/intelligence via words, which is one of a handful of things that use to separate humans from animals, though one of the others in that uh-humm handful is the thumb which cellphones do exercise more, maybe update THE THINKER by Rodan to the thumber (roughly translated into English it means Dumber :- P???

CREDIT:: Rodan, Taz for standing in for the ...thumb

[vis0 TANGENT TIME starts]

i originally called Twitter the shout out site not thinking people would drop to that level of lack of true info, boy was i wrong.  i figured since in the late 1980s through 1990s NYU had a twitter like page on a 3D made of world in where messages could be posted and that lasted for 6 years it was called YORB that twitter would last 6 years at most...underestimated the power of repeating endlessly ("its hits") ones 15secs of fame.

The Human brain has developed to be filled with much particularly new "stuff" when learning as to each subject so one can developed a more complete understanding to each subject to which in return a more careful and complete reaction can be created.  Instead in using Twitter not to leave links to more complete page long explanations its mainly for dramatic, empty 140 or <  characters,  then to have brains react on that alone thus creating many brains filled with large empty echo chambers.     

[vis0 TANGENT TIME endss]

These High records during the winter are not being broken by the usual 1 maybe 2 degree which happens when breaking a temperature record as to the "opposite to seasonal lean" expectation (you expect more cooler records for cold season and more warmer records for the hot season, but here if its a Cold record for summers its happening less and in this case Hot records for winter its happening more.  Plus in seeing El Nino just "leave" a few months ago even scientists figured that even though world average will still be on the higher than normal as to 100+ year averages, areas of the world should see either a not as warm year or cooler than the hottest year.   $keptics READ CAREFULLY cooler than the HOTTEST year means even if 2017 only reached to the 8th hottest year the other 7 years we've recently lived through...recently) Now if Nino moves back in odds are the Aortic will not have the expected cooling swath relief La Nina might have presented in not transporting warmer air northward....though that's not always the case as to exact areas Nino/Nina affect.

The record breaking extreme is also more than the swath in normal warmer in winter periods as usually the top extreme hotter temperature is at most 4F degrees higher.  This past week it was 6, 8, 10F higher and a hand full or two.  Anyone remember ~ a week ago a person on these blogs mentioned a record cold temperature in NYS, yes but that was a thin wedge (as another WxU member commented) here the counterpart is not a thin wedge but 2 pie serving swath covering the middle third of the USofA.      Therefore  i figure (again my thoughts not RobertWC) that RobertWC is figuring that this ability to reach such higher temperature in North America WHEN its already warmer than average in the North Pole means instead of a countering shot of cold air another injection of warmer air seems to be in the cards for the ice cubes (formerly known as ice bergs -(Art Lic)) but when ya see a polar bear jumping onto a seemingly area of sturdy ice and it rotates like an a log in a log rolling contest, that area of ice is closer to an ice cube  versus a mountain of ice.)
Now the part that maybe freaked some out (seem not to understand RobertWC's poetic posts) is RobertWC (in my opinion) in taking it (Earth's being changed so fast) very hard as RobertWC seems to look at the Planet Micro and Macroscopically (many look at Earth like its a burden) thus understanding how fast all is changing as in from 1962 though at that time already speeding up feedback from nature to pollutants compared to now the innocence of growing up bit by bit together with natures bit by bit changes has changed, though seemingly gradually to many of the generation born in the late 1950s.  Yet ask people born in the 1910-1930s ~1940s  how fast this change is, IN PARTICULAR as to nature's feedback  and they'll tell you that in the past 20-30 years they've seen some natural disaster events/extremes they only saw once maybe heard of a second time nearby as in 600 miles away twice prior to the 1980s, while after the 1980s at least 5 times ... that is a big change yet for such an important topic most place it ~10th in the list of important things even though of the higher 9, 6 become worse when what thought to be number 10 is not taken care of as in health here some of the 6 that become worse;
Property values (home upkeep),
Crime rises - particularly reactionary-personal crimes (my theory as to planets Hz changing causes mental problems) and a few more.

So far the 3 most dramatic natural disasters FROM within Earth biosphere have not really hit the USofA hard. Those 3 are, upper tier major earthquakes and multi-major TS/Cat4/5 within one year.  Andrew and Katrina where years apart and notice how life was changed for so man. Imagine the same areas having similar TS within 5 months.  What 'bout Number 3?,  not talking 'bout as it will attract $keptics to misuse my comment.  

Not trying to scare anyone but in my un humble opinion and UNPROFESSIONAL by modern science standards knowledge of a science not yet officially discovered,  both aforementioned extreme disasters have to occur within North America before 2021 due to my science finding i "nuttily" explain on my blogs but more on that on my blogs.  Am preparing some retro-caps of my old deleted blogbytes i'll post a link here.  Those that dare go to my site to see those caps of my old blogbytes will see see how accurate or not my "predictions' where (not counting Maxs pages,  only counting  prediction involving the device i jot of on my Wxu blobyte and my knowledge as to measuring energies traveling throughout this universe that are centered not on light/heat/physics only but resonance/vibrations/sound...)

Back to the normal members and getting ready to rest for the next work week begins for many.

502. vis0
see nxt cmmnt, #503
503. vis0
Quoting 473. ChiThom:

It's amazing that California went from major drought to major flooding
in a few weeks! The Lake Oroville flood control failure is scary!

For the last two days, it's been warm an extremely windy in Chicagoland.
Some large branches broke off of a white pine that I was parked under,
and narrowly missed my car. No rain fell, nor snow, just damaging winds
blowing, and lots of hot air coming our way.
Quoting 500. NativeSun:

Not really, it's happen many times in the past, and does anyone remember the so called mega drought in Texas, that was suppose to last for years, by so many so called experts. It sure is funny how nature seems to balance everything out over time.
The mega drought made up for not being as long (time) by being worse in severity, then came the 1 in 250 year hail, 1 in 500 year hail, 1 in 500 year rains (twice, though more towards Ak/La the 2nd time as to rains beginning in Tx...La had another 1 in 500 yr flood a few months later. 

i notice NativeSun does does not say "huh what happened to the 3 year mega drought /heatwave of Ca...it became a 4 to 5 yr mega drought / heatwave and now Ca has too much water which has happened before but when one states it happened before  but disregards that before it was somewhat manageable, because before it took many years if not decades to repeat as it was within the expected range of a healthy planet, recently the records are reached several times within 3 to 5 years.

If before a state's normal monthly rainfall was 20 inches and the max is 25inches and minimum rainfall record was 3inches yet be it wettest (max) or driest never occurred within 12 years and over that past 3 years that State had TWO (DIFFERENT) MONTHS of 26 inches (Max+record) , then 3 different months of 3 inches.

 nativesun might say see as before the Max beaten by a measly inch and minimum tied, no BIIIIG deal.  BUT WHETHER purposely or ignorance YOU IGNORE that the recent records happened within ~3 years NOT 12 years...that is a biiig deal.

Home runs in MLB in a year was in the upper 50s very low 60s for decades then for some weird reason certain players where hitting upper 60s lower 70s every year.
if someone comes along and only hits 40 per year but plays for 21 years they'll reach the unheard of 800 HRs in a career

Here ya see 2 ways to break records as to home runs.

Same with weather extremes, there are records as to time  and amount, ignoring one does not mean the other did not happen and like the player Earth is on drugs.  Drugs man has concocted at first to create new ways of harnessing energy but after knowing these energy creating ways (oil) cause death those in charge decided instead of investing EARLY (1960s) in new energy methods that could make them more money they preferred the lazy way and take blood money is okay cause their greed deemed it so.

504. vis0
for those bookmark last pages a new cat6 blogbyte has been written::




3:46 PM GMT on February 13, 2017



JeffMasters has created a new entry.