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

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no one is in the chat now...
Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14876
Quoting Bluestorm5:
Same here. I'm getting "Unknown error"

same
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Quoting Ameister12:
Incredible tornado footage from John Sibley



Incredible what emotions someone must go through upon witnessing such carnage and the fact that 'the destroyer' is just up ahead on the horizon ... Thanks for the post.
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Quoting trHUrrIXC5MMX:


and the silliest thing it says when I try "Unknown error"
Same here. I'm getting "Unknown error"
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Quoting Astrometeor:
//begin rant

So, the majority of the items on weather.com are still talking about Nemo, and the next blizzard. Not really paying attention to the severe weather outbreak in Mississippi and Alabama. Lost more respect for TWC.

Do you happen to have a local affiliate that carries Weather Nation? They sometimes do better (and you dont have to worry about them breaking in to reality TV or irrelevant programming).
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting wxchaser97:
In 2 minutes, we will only have 1 tornado warning, thank goodness.

Actually now, no tornado warnings! Just a few severe thunderstorm warnings, but with the weak rotation message on one.
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Quoting wxchaser97:
In 2 minutes, we will only have 1 tornado warning, thank goodness.


No warnings right now, woot!
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Quoting wxchaser97:
In 2 minutes, we will only have 1 tornado warning, thank goodness.

No more tornado warning! Yay! :D
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Quoting wxchaser97:
In 2 minutes, we will only have 1 tornado warning, thank goodness.


yeah at one moment I got to see this huge blood red area...

Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14876
Quoting Bluestorm5:
Same here. I can't go into chat room.


and the silliest thing it says when I try "Unknown error"
Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14876
In 2 minutes, we will only have 1 tornado warning, thank goodness.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
//begin rant

So, the majority of the items on weather.com are still talking about Nemo, and the next blizzard. Not really paying attention to the severe weather outbreak in Mississippi and Alabama. Lost more respect for TWC.

On the TV, there are more commercials playing than the minutes they have spent on the tornadoes.

And then the shows. Reef Wranglers? Discovery had a thing on this a couple of years ago, they got rid of it because it is such a boring job. At least have shows that are much more pertaining to the weather then "yeah, we pay attention to the forecast." Might as well come video my place and make a show about a high-school student following weather events.

//end rant
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Quoting Bluestorm5:
Chase video from John Sibley, a storm chaser who was in Hattiesburg during this tornado.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hGLSSUHrOeE

Is John Sibley a Hattiesburg, Forrest County, or Mississippi state officer?
Let's hope so, otherwise he only broke just a few laws in the pursuit of his tornado.
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Looks like the extreme southeastern U.S. is in for quite a cold shot, according to the CPC.

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Quoting trHUrrIXC5MMX:


I tried to go back in but it does not let me...
Same here. I can't go into chat room.
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Incredible tornado footage from John Sibley

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Quoting Doppler22:
Chat just went to dust for me


I tried to go back in but it does not let me...
Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14876
Quoting ScottLincoln:

Should have been pretty good. Was a tornado on the ground for several miles before hitting Hattiesburg. And I think the storm was at least a marginal supercell back into Louisiana.


Yeah, i ended up finding the statement they issued about 15 minutes prior.. Thank you.
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Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Chat just went to dust for me
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1111. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
chill out everyone no need to get all wound up
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 196 Comments: 64574
Chase video from John Sibley, a storm chaser who was in Hattiesburg during this tornado.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hGLSSUHrOeE
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Quoting Bellringer10:


Sarcasm exist, and get used to it.


you don't give up right?
Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14876
Quoting Bellringer10:


Sarcasm exist, and get used to it.

Kinda hard to tell if you're being sarcastic when it's typed... No need to be a jerk.
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SEVERE WEATHER STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE MOBILE AL
800 PM CST SUN FEB 10 2013

ALC023-025-110230-
/O.CON.KMOB.TO.W.0015.000000T0000Z-130211T0230Z/
CHOCTAW AL-CLARKE AL-
800 PM CST SUN FEB 10 2013

...A TORNADO WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 830 PM CST FOR NORTHERN
CLARKE AND SOUTHEASTERN CHOCTAW COUNTIES...

AT 755 PM CST...A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WITH STRONG ROTATION AND LIKELY
PRODUCING A TORNADO WAS LOCATED 20 MILES WEST OF GROVE HILL...OR
NEAR COFFEEVILLE...MOVING EAST AT 45 MPH.

LOCATIONS IMPACTED INCLUDE...
THOMASVILLE... FULTON... COFFEEVILLE...

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

TAKE COVER NOW. FOR YOUR PROTECTION MOVE TO AN INTERIOR ROOM ON THE
LOWEST FLOOR OF A STURDY BUILDING.
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The Weather Channel ‏@weatherchannel

Injuries reported in Denham, MS from a tornado that struck at 7:18pm CST. #mswx
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1105. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 196 Comments: 64574
Quoting Bellringer10:


Overreacting...much?

I don't think I'm overreacting at all.
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1102. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
taz ya should know better than to say that at this time

pls leave taz alone iam sure it was a mistake not thinking straight thats all
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 196 Comments: 64574
SEVERE WEATHER STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE MOBILE AL
758 PM CST SUN FEB 10 2013

ALC023-025-129-110230-
/O.CON.KMOB.SV.W.0016.000000T0000Z-130211T0230Z/
CHOCTAW AL-WASHINGTON AL-CLARKE AL-
758 PM CST SUN FEB 10 2013

...A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 830 PM CST
FOR CENTRAL CLARKE...NORTHERN WASHINGTON AND EXTREME SOUTH CENTRAL
CHOCTAW COUNTIES...

AT 755 PM CST...A LINE OF SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS CAPABLE OF PRODUCING
QUARTER SIZE HAIL AND DAMAGING WINDS OVER 60 MPH WERE LOCATED ALONG A
LINE EXTENDING FROM 17 MILES NORTHEAST OF CHATOM TO 9 MILES NORTH OF
CHATOM TO 11 MILES SOUTHEAST OF WAYNESBORO...MOVING EAST AT 45 MPH.

LOCATIONS IMPACTED INCLUDE...
JACKSON... GROVE HILL... WAGARVILLE...
SAINT STEPHENS... MILLRY... LEROY...
CHATOM...

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

THESE ARE DANGEROUS STORMS. PREPARE FOR DESTRUCTIVE HAIL AND DAMAGING
WINDS. PEOPLE OUTSIDE SHOULD MOVE INSIDE A STRONG BUILDING BUT AWAY
FROM WINDOWS.
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Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting AussieStorm:

Sorry but that is just very wrong at this time. You should be ashamed of saying that.

I 100% agree
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Quoting AussieStorm:

Sorry but that is just very wrong at this time. You should be ashamed of saying that.

I agree. It's an absolutely idiotic thing to say! And how would they be able to name every single tornado!? So stupid...
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1096. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 196 Comments: 64574

Tornado Warning in Mobile - Pensacola

Active for next 12 minutesLocation: Choctaw; Clarke; Washington

Posted 16 minutes ago – National Weather Service

A Tornado Warning remains in effect until 8:00 pm CST for West Central Clarke, northern Washington and Southern Choctaw counties. At 7:28 pm CST, a severe thunderstorm with strong rotation and likely producing a tornado was located 14 miles east of Waynesboro, or 6 miles west of Millry, moving east at 40 mph.

Locations impacted include: Silas. Coffeeville. Millry.

Recommended actions


Take cover now. For Your Protection move to an interior room on the lowest floor of a sturdy building.

A Tornado Watch remains in effect until 11:00 pm CST Sunday evening for Southwestern Alabama and Southeast Mississippi.
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Quoting Tazmanian:
TWC says they may start naming tornado

Sorry but that is just very wrong at this time. You should be ashamed of saying that.
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@terra4thetide Terra
Red Cross in Hattiesburg


damage in Lakeshore Subdivision near Oak Grove Road in Hattiesburg
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1092. Thrawst
reedtimmerTVN Reed Timmer
Confirmed tornado heading for Millry, Coffeeville, Grove Hill, Fulton, Thomasville, AL! #alwx #tornado pic.twitter.com/2SMS4tgE
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New warning on the storm behind the Hattiesburg storm
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 92 Comments: 8847
TWC says they may start naming tornado
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BULLETIN - EAS ACTIVATION REQUESTED
TORNADO WARNING
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE MOBILE AL
745 PM CST SUN FEB 10 2013

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN MOBILE HAS ISSUED A

* TORNADO WARNING FOR...
SOUTH CENTRAL CHOCTAW COUNTY IN SOUTHWEST ALABAMA...
NORTHERN CLARKE COUNTY IN SOUTHWEST ALABAMA...
NORTH CENTRAL WASHINGTON COUNTY IN SOUTHWEST ALABAMA...

* UNTIL 830 PM CST

* AT 742 PM CST...A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WITH STRONG ROTATION AND
LIKELY PRODUCING A TORNADO WAS LOCATED 17 MILES NORTH OF CHATOM...
OR 5 MILES SOUTHEAST OF SILAS...MOVING EAST AT 40 MPH.

* LOCATIONS IMPACTED INCLUDE...
THOMASVILLE... FULTON... COFFEEVILLE...
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WFUS54 KMOB 110145
TORMOB
ALC023-025-129-110230-
/O.NEW.KMOB.TO.W.0015.130211T0145Z-130211T0230Z/

BULLETIN - EAS ACTIVATION REQUESTED
TORNADO WARNING
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE MOBILE AL
745 PM CST SUN FEB 10 2013

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN MOBILE HAS ISSUED A

* TORNADO WARNING FOR...
SOUTH CENTRAL CHOCTAW COUNTY IN SOUTHWEST ALABAMA...
NORTHERN CLARKE COUNTY IN SOUTHWEST ALABAMA...
NORTH CENTRAL WASHINGTON COUNTY IN SOUTHWEST ALABAMA...

* UNTIL 830 PM CST

* AT 742 PM CST...A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WITH STRONG ROTATION AND
LIKELY PRODUCING A TORNADO WAS LOCATED 17 MILES NORTH OF CHATOM...
OR 5 MILES SOUTHEAST OF SILAS...MOVING EAST AT 40 MPH.

* LOCATIONS IMPACTED INCLUDE...
THOMASVILLE... FULTON... COFFEEVILLE...

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

A TORNADO WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 1100 PM CST SUNDAY EVENING
FOR SOUTHWESTERN ALABAMA AND SOUTHEAST MISSISSIPPI.

&&

LAT...LON 3199 8771 3174 8762 3164 8826 3178 8832
TIME...MOT...LOC 0146Z 252DEG 37KT 3173 8821

$$
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Member Since: July 21, 2011 Posts: 83 Comments: 7167
New warning on the far eastern storm within the squall line:

BULLETIN - EAS ACTIVATION REQUESTED
TORNADO WARNING
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE TALLAHASSEE FL
743 PM CST SUN FEB 10 2013

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN TALLAHASSEE HAS ISSUED A

* TORNADO WARNING FOR...
EASTERN COFFEE COUNTY IN SOUTHEAST ALABAMA...
SOUTHWESTERN DALE COUNTY IN SOUTHEAST ALABAMA...

* UNTIL 815 PM CST

* AT 739 PM CST...A DEVELOPING TORNADO HAS BEEN DETECTED BY THE
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE 7 MILES NORTH OF NEW BROCKTON...OR NEAR
WOODLAND GROVE CHURCH...MOVING SOUTHEAST AT 40 MPH.

* OTHER LOCATIONS IN THE WARNING INCLUDE BUT ARE NOT LIMITED TO
ENTERPRISE...LEVEL PLAINS...FORT RUCKER...DALEVILLE AND NEWTON

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

TAKE COVER NOW! LEAVE MOBILE HOMES AND VEHICLES FOR SAFER STRUCTURES.
MOVE TO A HALLWAY OR CLOSET ON THE LOWEST FLOOR AWAY FROM WINDOWS AND
OUTSIDE WALLS.

&&

LAT...LON 3159 8597 3152 8580 3139 8555 3127 8562
3127 8566 3123 8569 3121 8569 3120 8571
3120 8581 3126 8588 3147 8607
TIME...MOT...LOC 0141Z 301DEG 35KT 3146 8593

$$

15-HARRIGAN
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 92 Comments: 8847
Amazing video of the Hattiesburg from the BaseHunters chase team.

Link
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1084. beell
Quoting hurricanehunter27:
Only time I saw tops of 45k were during times debris were in the air. They quickly went down to 30-35k. Plus April/March type storms are in the 45-55k range.


Ok, we have different definitions. Warm season will naturally have higher tops as a rule-a thicker troposphere. I'd put low-tops at around 5-6,000 meters or somewhere around the 500mb level.



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Quoting Ameister12:
It appears things are finally winding down. Hattiesburg supercell continues to weaken and the Clara supercell is also beginning to weaken.

Well, not totally done yet. There is a possible tornado about to go into the town of Cullomburg, but not as strong as the ones earlier.
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Just the two supercells left now.

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Dr. Masters co-founded wunderground in 1995. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters 1986-1990. Co-blogging with him: Bob Henson, @bhensonweather

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