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Snow measured in feet, not inches: historic Nor'easter pounds New England

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 4:50 PM GMT on February 09, 2013

A historic Nor'easter roared through New England overnight, bringing snowfall measured in feet, not inches, hurricane-force wind gusts, and serious coastal flooding. The snow was heaviest in coastal Connecticut, where snowfall rates of 6"/hours were recorded, and an astonishing 40" piled up in Hamden. An all-time snowfall record was set in Portland, Maine, where 31.9" fell, and numerous cities in the Northeast recorded top-ten snowfall amounts, including Hartford, CT (2nd all-time with 22.3"); Worchester, MA (3rd all-time, with 28"); Providence, RI (8th all-time, with 17"); Concord, NH (2nd all time, with 24"), and Boston, MA (6th all-time, with 21.8.") NOAA's latest Storm Summary has a full list of snowfall amounts.

Here are the seven snowstorms of greater than 20" since 1936 for Logan Airport (figures from today's storm are not final yet):

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 22-23, 2005 22.5"
6. February 8-9, 2013 21.8"
7. January 20-21, 1978 21.4"


Figure 1. Not driving anywhere today! Snow buries cars in New Haven, CT at the Premier Hotel & Suites on Long Wharf on February 9, 2013. Image credit: wunderphotographer phototex.

The great storm, dubbed "Nemo", bombed out to a central pressure of 971 mb at 7 am EST Saturday, February 9. This is the type of central pressure one sees in Category 1 hurricanes, and Nemo generated numerous hurricane-force wind gusts along the coast, including a 76 mph gust at Boston's Logan Airport. Significant wave heights of 30' were measured in Massachusetts Bay, and 35.4'at the Cape Ann Buoy 44098, off the east coast of Massachusetts. Here are the hurricane-force wind gusts (in mph) measured so far in Nemo:

Connecticut:
WESTPORT 82
PORTLAND 81

Massachusetts:
CUTTYHUNK 83
HYANNIS 77
BOSTON LOGAN AIRPORT 76
BEDFORD 75
BUZZARDS BAY 74
MARSTONS MILL 74

New Hampshire:
MOUNT WASHINGTON 81

Maine:
BROOKLIN 75

New York:
PLUM ISLAND 75


Figure 2. Satellite image of Winter Storm Nemo taken at 4:31 pm EST Friday, February 8, 2013. Image credit: NASA/GSFC.

Serious coastal flooding hits Massachusetts
The high winds from the storm drove a damaging storm surge into the coast of Eastern Massachusetts Friday night and Saturday morning. Hardest hit was the coast of Cape Cod Bay southeast of Boston, where major flooding forced residents of low-lying areas to evacuate. A storm surge in excess of four feet inundated roads, damaged coastal buildings, and caused severe beach erosion. Officially, the surge peaked at 4.21' in Boston early Saturday morning. Unofficially, this is fourth greatest storm surge measured in Boston since record keeping began in 1921. Fortunately, the surge hit as low tide was approaching, and the "storm tide"--how how the water gets above the high tide mark, due to the combination of the storm surge and the tide--only reached 2.86' above high tide (MHHW, Mean Higher High Water) in Boston. Nemo's storm tide did not make the top-ten list of high water levels in Boston.

Top unofficial top-five storm surge (not storm tide) events in Boston's history, given as height above normal tide:

4.88' on October 30, 1991 during the "Perfect Storm" Halloween Nor'easter
4.57' on October 29, 2012 during Hurricane Sandy
4.34' on February 6, 1978, during the Blizzard of 1978
4.21' on February 9, 2013, during Winter Storm Nemo
3.69' on February 14, 1940, during the Valentine's Day Nor'easter of 1940

The 1938 hurricane and March 18, 1956 Nor'easter had storm surges less than two feet at Boston. The Christmas Night Storm of 1909 caused severe coastal flooding, but tide gauge records in Boston don't begin until 1921.

The official top ten 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

Links:
NASA has a nice satellite animation of the storm, spanning a day.

Our news page:
http://www.wunderground.com/news/

Our winter Storm page:
http://www.wunderground.com/winter-storm/nemo-2013.asp

A few impressive 24-hour videos from wunderground webcams:

Bellingham, MA:
http://www.wunderground.com/webcams/steved281/1/video.html?month=02&year=2013&filename=current.mp4

Woonsocket, RI
http://www.wunderground.com/webcams/Traj/1/video.html?month=02&year=2013&filename=current.mp4

Hartford, CT
http://www.wunderground.com/webcams/N1PSJ/1/video.html?month=02&year=2013&filename=current.mp4

Lexington, MA
http://www.wunderground.com/webcams/zach34298/1/video.html?month=02&year=2013&filename=current.mp4

Jeff Masters

Storm Nemo (FreelanceCT)
Cars buried in snow. Snow Sculpture!
Storm Nemo
We Found Nemo! (ceocrocker)
Although the storm is far from over, it is time for the first session of snowblowing the driveway. Upon opening the garage door, we found Nemo waiting for us!
We Found Nemo!
Blizzard Nemo (stoneygirl)
Heavy snow here in Massachusetts. Crazy winds that are howling like a hurricane. Heading for 2 feet of snow as we speak. Totally wild here.
Blizzard Nemo

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

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Tragedy striking from this very violent tornado right now. Just gotta be thankful that it didn't hit at night, just gotta keep an eye on this huge line as it heads into Alabama and Georgia, because these states are the ones that it will be plowing at night.
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It's a little difficult to tell with the hole in the surface obs in Alabama, but like beell said earlier, the storms appear to be riding the warm front.



Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
This storm is just ridiculous.
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Great doughnut hole showing up again!

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It's very likely still on the ground. Probably still very violent.
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Got BWER showing up on my radar from Hattiesburg storm:

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Quoting Bluestorm5:
Storms today isn't worth a moderate risk. This is high-end Slight risk today, with tornado at 10% hatched.



you sure about that lol if I re call the other day we had a sight risk and we ended up see 55 nados
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The Hattiesburg storm is absolutely the perfect textbook example of a supercell thunderstorm producing a strong, long tracked tornado. It's continuing to plow through more areas now, not sure how populated they are.
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Uh oh, not good.
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Tornado reports continuing to come in on the SPC storm report page, at least one home confirmed as destroyed from the page.
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Reports of houses seriously damaged in Petal, with some "reduced to piles of wood". In addition, an ACE hardware store is reported to be "completely gone".
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They just closed I-94, US highway 10 and state hwy 210 in Mn
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Quoting Ameister12:
The Hattiesburg storm is still very likely producing a violent tornado.

Yeah, that's important to remember, radar signature is as good now as I've seen it so far.
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Praying there are no fatalities..
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The Hattiesburg storm is still very likely producing a violent tornado.
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Quoting Skyepony:
0521 PM TORNADO 1 NW HATTIESBURG 31.32N 89.32W
02/10/2013 FORREST MS PUBLIC

DAMAGE ACROSS THE WESTERN PORTION OF USM CAMPUS...POWER
LINES DOWN AND DEBRIS THROWN ABOUT AND BLOCKING RDS.


Crap, it crossed part of a college campus?!
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Quoting Tazmanian:
looks like the SPC dos it again today could have been good for a mod risk of severe weather not sure about high
Storms today isn't worth a moderate risk. This is high-end Slight risk today, with tornado at 10% hatched.
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961. Skyepony (Mod)
0428 PM TORNADO 1 WSW PICKWICK 31.13N 89.86W
02/10/2013 MARION MS EMERGENCY MNGR

*** 5 INJ *** HOMES DAMAGED ALONG MT CARMEL CHURCH RD AND
REGAN RD. 5 INJURIES REPORTED ALONG THE PATH SO FAR.


&&
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...A TORNADO WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 630 PM CST FOR
SOUTHEASTERN COVINGTON...SOUTHERN JEFFERSON DAVIS...NORTHWESTERN
LAMAR AND NORTHERN MARION COUNTIES...

AT 543 PM CST...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE METEOROLOGISTS CONTINUE TO
TRACK A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING A TORNADO. THIS
TORNADO WAS LOCATED NEAR GOSS MOVING EAST AT 50 MPH.

THE TORNADO WILL BE NEAR...
IMPROVE AND BASSFIELD BY 550 PM CST...
MELBA BY 555 PM CST...
SUMRALL BY 600 PM CST...
SANFORD AND SEMINARY BY 610 PM CST...
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959. Skyepony (Mod)
0512 PM TORNADO 3 W WEST HATTIESBURG 31.32N 89.43W
02/10/2013 LAMAR MS EMERGENCY MNGR

LARGE TORNADO ON THE GROUND...MULTIPLE CONFIRMING REPORTS
AS WELL AS LIVE VIDEO STREAM. MULTIPLE DMG REPORTS ACROSS
LAMAR COUNTY.
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958. Skyepony (Mod)
0521 PM TORNADO 1 NW HATTIESBURG 31.32N 89.32W
02/10/2013 FORREST MS PUBLIC

DAMAGE ACROSS THE WESTERN PORTION OF USM CAMPUS...POWER
LINES DOWN AND DEBRIS THROWN ABOUT AND BLOCKING RDS.

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I have never seen such a clear Boundary Weak Echo Region (BWER - doughnut hole) before. It's simply amazing.

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looks like the SPC dos it again today could have been good for a mod risk of severe weather not sure about high
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955. Skyepony (Mod)
0540 PM HAIL GOSS 31.36N 89.89W
02/10/2013 E2.75 INCH MARION MS EMERGENCY MNGR

BASEBALL TO POSSIBLY SOFTBALL SIZED HAIL IN AND AROUND
GOSS.
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Perfect.

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Quoting wxchaser97:

Yup, some pretty serious damage is likely.

Yep... Not good at all. Could have easily caused EF3 (Maybe EF4) type damage.
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SEVERE WEATHER STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE JACKSON MS
541 PM CST SUN FEB 10 2013

MSC067-110000-
/O.CON.KJAN.TO.W.0034.000000T0000Z-130211T0000Z/
JONES MS-
541 PM CST SUN FEB 10 2013

...A TORNADO WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 600 PM CST FOR
SOUTHEASTERN JONES COUNTY...

AT 541 PM CST...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE METEOROLOGISTS AND STORM
SPOTTERS WERE TRACKING A LARGE AND EXTREMELY DANGEROUS TORNADO. THIS
TORNADO WAS LOCATED OVER EXTREME NORTHWESTERN PERRY COUNTY MOVING
NORTHEAST AT 40 MPH.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

A TORNADO WARNING MEANS THAT A TORNADO IS OCCURRING OR IMMINENT. YOU
SHOULD ACTIVATE YOUR TORNADO ACTION PLAN AND TAKE PROTECTIVE ACTION
NOW.

THIS IS AN EXTREMELY DANGEROUS AND LIFE THREATENING SITUATION. THIS
STORM IS CAPABLE OF PRODUCING STRONG TO VIOLENT TORNADOES. IF YOU ARE
IN THE PATH OF THIS TORNADO...TAKE COVER IMMEDIATELY!
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Debris reported on US 43 in Antioch in Clarke County (AL). Likely tornado crossing US 84 now #alwx
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
MississippiWx lives in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. We can only hope he took shelter.


Oh god... I hope he's safe.
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This storm will be the next big tornado producer.
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Even the NWS is getting annoyed at all the storms:

* AT 536 PM CST...ANOTHER SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING A
TORNADO WAS LOCATED 16 MILES NORTH OF CHATOM...OR 4 MILES NORTH OF
MILLRY...MOVING EAST AT 40 MPH.
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947. beell
Bulk shear has gradually assumed a westerly vector during the day. Unfortunately, the warm front is also now aligned W to E across MS and AL. Earlier storms crossed over and faded. These storms appear to be running the boundary east and taking advantage of the convergence.
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Quoting Ameister12:
Had to eat dinner. Any damage reports?

Yup, some pretty serious damage is likely.
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Quoting Ameister12:
Had to eat dinner. Any damage reports?

Lots from Hattiesburg
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Tornado is near Runnelstown, MS right now.

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SEVERE WEATHER STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE MOBILE AL
537 PM CST SUN FEB 10 2013

ALC023-129-MSC153-110015-
/O.CON.KMOB.TO.W.0004.000000T0000Z-130211T0015Z/
CHOCTAW AL-WASHINGTON AL-WAYNE MS-
537 PM CST SUN FEB 10 2013

...A TORNADO WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 615 PM CST FOR WAYNE...
NORTHWESTERN WASHINGTON AND SOUTHWESTERN CHOCTAW COUNTIES...

AT 532 PM CST...A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WITH STRONG ROTATION AND LIKELY
PRODUCING A TORNADO WAS LOCATED 10 MILES WEST OF WAYNESBORO...OR 7
MILES NORTHWEST OF CLARA...MOVING NORTHEAST AT 55 MPH.

LOCATIONS IMPACTED INCLUDE...
WAYNESBORO... CLARA... TOXEY...
SILAS... NEEDHAM... GILBERTOWN...
MILLRY...
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MississippiWx lives in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. We can only hope he took shelter.

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Had to eat dinner. Any damage reports?
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URGENT - IMMEDIATE BROADCAST REQUESTED
TORNADO WATCH NUMBER 34
NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER NORMAN OK
535 PM CST SUN FEB 10 2013

THE NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER HAS ISSUED A
TORNADO WATCH FOR PORTIONS OF

PARTS OF SOUTHEAST LOUISIANA
SOUTHERN MISSISSIPPI

EFFECTIVE THIS SUNDAY AFTERNOON AND EVENING FROM 535 PM UNTIL
1100 PM CST.

TORNADOES...HAIL TO 1.5 INCHES IN DIAMETER...THUNDERSTORM WIND
GUSTS TO 70 MPH...AND DANGEROUS LIGHTNING ARE POSSIBLE IN THESE
AREAS.

THE TORNADO WATCH AREA IS APPROXIMATELY ALONG AND 80 STATUTE
MILES EAST AND WEST OF A LINE FROM 35 MILES EAST SOUTHEAST OF
BATON ROUGE LOUISIANA TO 55 MILES NORTH NORTHWEST OF PINE BELT
MISSISSIPPI. FOR A COMPLETE DEPICTION OF THE WATCH SEE THE
ASSOCIATED WATCH OUTLINE UPDATE (WOUS64 KWNS WOU4).

REMEMBER...A TORNADO WATCH MEANS CONDITIONS ARE FAVORABLE FOR
TORNADOES AND SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS IN AND CLOSE TO THE WATCH
AREA. PERSONS IN THESE AREAS SHOULD BE ON THE LOOKOUT FOR
THREATENING WEATHER CONDITIONS AND LISTEN FOR LATER STATEMENTS
AND POSSIBLE WARNINGS.

OTHER WATCH INFORMATION...THIS TORNADO WATCH REPLACES TORNADO
WATCH NUMBER 32. WATCH NUMBER 32 WILL NOT BE IN EFFECT AFTER 535
PM CST. CONTINUE...WW 33...

DISCUSSION...UNTIL A STRONG SOUTHERLY LOW-LEVEL JET WEAKENS AND
DEVELOPS EAST OF THE REGION LATER THIS EVENING...THE RISK FOR
SUPERCELLS CAPABLE OF PRODUCING TORNADOES CONTINUES ACROSS THE
REGION.

AVIATION...TORNADOES AND A FEW SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS WITH HAIL
SURFACE AND ALOFT TO 1.5 INCHES. EXTREME TURBULENCE AND SURFACE
WIND GUSTS TO 60 KNOTS. A FEW CUMULONIMBI WITH MAXIMUM TOPS TO
500. MEAN STORM MOTION VECTOR 24040.


...KERR/THOMPSON
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

You can even see debris in that picture.
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Very strong rotation with a likely tornado NE of the main storm we've been following.
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Shear on radar is in excess of 110 knots. This is likely EF3+.

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Nasty weather tonight. Prayers go out to all who are affected.

Mobile NWS Site
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News station is streaming again.

*EDIT: and now it crapped out again...
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There's a damaged building on the live stream now, I think he has stopped, possibly to offer assistance as there are emergency workers on the scene.
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Why are there commercials on the chaser feed? WTF
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Cat 6 lead authors: WU cofounder Dr. Jeff Masters (right), who flew w/NOAA Hurricane Hunters 1986-1990, & WU meteorologist Bob Henson, @bhensonweather

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