The Washington Post

Wicked Winter Wonderland for Northeast and especially New England

UPDATE, 9:40 p.m.: Boston’s official storm total was 24.9 inches, enough to rank as the 5th biggest snowstorm on recod.

Nicole Lacoursiere of North Andover, Mass. falls back to make a snow angel on Feb. 9, 2013 in some 24 inches of snow that had fallen in her yard. (Elise Amendola/AP)

As two weather systems (one from the southern branch of the jet stream and one from the northern branch) phased together late last night along the New England coast, tremendous snowfall rates were reported, especially in central Connecticut, where high-end totals (which are still preliminary) are at amazing three-foot levels. The southern-branch component of this storm had a tremendous moisture supply, having already dropped very heavy rains along the coastal Mid-Atlantic Friday. Portland, Maine, set an all-time snow record of 29.3” (beating 1979’s 27.1”) earlier this morning, but that is probably not the final figure as it has continued to snow there.  The big winners in this snow pile-up contest so far appear to be (per the National Weather Service):

Milford, CT 38”

Oxford, CT 36”

New Haven, CT 34.3”

Upton, NY 30.9”

Bridgeport, CT 30”

Portland, ME 29.3+” (all-time record)

Boston:  21.8”

Bronx, NYC:  15.0”

Central Park, NYC:  11.4”

Boston’s earlier total this morning (an update is expected this afternoon) of 21.8” was its sixth-highest. The city’s biggest recorded snowfall — 27.5” in 2003 — is just barely behind Washington, D.C.’s all-time record fall of 28” set in 1922 during the infamous Knickerbocker storm.

(Matt Rogers, National Weather Service data )

A graphic from earlier this morning (also from the National Weather Service) shows the areas that picked up the highest amounts of snow (basically south central Connecticut down to central Long Island).

(National Weather Service )

The other big stories included flooding issues along the Northeast coast due to onshore flow and painfully strong winds. Those winds added a brutal chill (Boston saw wind chills below zero this morning as lows plummeted into the teens) and are still piling up the snow drifts.  The highest gust reported so far seems to have been southwest of Cuttyhunk, Mass., at 83 mph.  Here are some of the peak wind gusts from the past 24 hours per the National Weather Service and Google Maps:

(National Weather Service )

After a turbulent autumn that included Hurricane Sandy and then a follow-up coastal nor’easter, this winter has seen relatively few classic coastal storms. However, the pattern appears to be changing somewhat, allowing for the possibility of more of these types of East Coast winter weather-makers in the next one to two weeks. We will keep a close eye on the potential for more storms.

Matt Rogers is a meteorologist and a Petworth resident. He is president and co-founder of Commodity Weather Group in Bethesda, Md., which focuses on weather risks for the energy and agriculture sectors. Like most meteorologists, his passion for weather started extremely early in life and has never let go.
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