Massive Winter Storm Slams U.S. Northeast

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I'm still not sure why they keep saying this is such a historic storm (a couple feet of snow is not unheard of in the Northeast) but it still sounds like a real bad one, with destructive winds. I feel very, very bad about the Hurricane Sandy victims who are still living in primitive conditions. This is where government should step in -- and they've done a pretty crappy job.

Stay off the roads and stay safe, everyone! Dr. Jeff Masters at

Snow has begun falling from New York City to Massachusetts, where blizzard warnings are flying in anticipation of the arrival of one of the most severe and dangerous Nor'easters in U.S. history. The great storm, dubbed "Nemo", has just emerged into the waters off the coast of Virginia, and is predicted to "bomb" to a central pressure of 975 - 980 mb by Saturday afternoon.

Cold, Arctic air spilling southwards behind a strong 1038 mb high over Canada will collide with warm, moist air over the Atlantic, where ocean temperatures are unusually warm--about 5°F warmer than average over a large swath from New Jersey to Nantucket, Massachusetts. The contrast between the cold and warm air will help intensify the storm, and the unusually warm waters will pump large quantities of moisture into the air, which will be capable of feeding record-breaking snows over New England. The latest NWS forecast for Boston calls for 22 - 30" of snow by Saturday morning, with additional snows though Saturday afternoon. Since Boston's all-time heaviest snow storm is 27.5" (February 17-18, 2003), Winter Storm Nemo has a chance of exceeding that.


According to NWS, here are the top snowstorms since 1936 for Logan Airport:

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 22-24, 1945 22.8"
6. January 22-23, 2005 22.5"
7. January 20-21, 1978 21.4"
8. March 3-5, 1960 19.8"
9. February 16-17, 1958 19.4"
10. February 8-10, 1994 18.7"
11. January 7-8, 1996 18.2"
11. December 20-22, 1975 18.2"
11. December 26-27, 2010 18.2"

The weight of all that heavy snow on rooftops will create the danger of roof collapses. In addition to the heavy snow, the storm will bring coastal wind gusts over hurricane force, and moderate to major coastal flooding. During the peak of the storm, Friday night into Saturday morning, snowfall rates of 2 - 3" per hour can be expected. These intense bursts of snow may be accompanied by lightning and thunder.

The cities of Hartford, Providence, and Portland are all likely to get more than a foot of snow, and two feet of snow will probably fall along a swath from South Central Connecticut to Southwest Maine, with isolated amounts of 3'. Ferocious sustained winds near 50 mph will occur at the coast, with wind gusts in excess of hurricane force--74 mph. The combination of heavy snow and high winds will make travel extremely dangerous or impossible, with near-zero visibility in white-out conditions. The snow and high winds are likely to cause many power outages.


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