GOES-16 satellite view of storm Sunday evening. (CIRA-Colorado State/NOAA)

One of the strongest October storms in recent memory exploded off the Mid-Atlantic coast Sunday night before tearing through the Northeastern United States. The storm unleashed damaging winds and pockets of flooding rain.

Tropical storm-force wind gusts rattled the Mid-Atlantic while some hurricane-force gusts battered coastal New England, the hardest-hit area. One location in eastern Massachusetts clocked a gust at 93 mph.

More than 1.3 million customers lost power, mostly in New England, the most since Hurricane Sandy five years ago. There were 300,000 customers in the dark in Massachusetts and 400,000 in Maine.

The 400,000 power failures in Maine, where winds gusted to 70 mph in spots, represents almost one-third of its population and surpasses the number during its great ice storm in 1998.

Rainfall amounts generally ranged from one to five inches, with the heaviest totals from northeast West Virginia to western New York.


Rainfall totals from coastal storm Oct 29 and 30. (National Weather Service)

A remarkable amount of territory received at least an inch of rain, including the entirety of Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts and New Hampshire, and almost all of Pennsylvania, New York and Vermont.

The storm drew a tremendous stream of moisture into the region, sourced from the Caribbean, and including the remnants of Tropical Storm Philippe.

Wind and rain around Washington, D.C., and Baltimore

Peak winds reached 40 to 50 mph around Washington and Baltimore on Sunday night. The top gust at Reagan National Airport and Baltimore’s Inner Harbor was 47 mph.

Some downed trees and widely scattered power failures were reported.

Rainfall totals in the region were mostly between one and two inches, with the highest totals in the mountainous areas to the northwest — where about two- to five-inch amounts were posted. Here are some select reports:

  • Reagan National Airport: 1.08 inches
  • Washington Post (downtown Washington): 0.95 inches
  • White House: 1.06 inches
  • Dulles Airport: 1.13 inches
  • Baltimore-Washington International Airport: 1.44 inches

Rainfall totals in the D.C. metro area, Oct. 29 and 30. (National Weather Service)

The rain was beneficial, as most locations had received very little this autumn.

Wind and rain in the Northeast


Peak wind gusts in southern New England. (National Weather Service)

Wind gusts in New England were on par with a high-end tropical storm with gusts at the coast reaching 60 to 80 mph and 40 to 60 mph in inland locations.

The winds and resulting power failures closed schools in Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont.

List of peak gusts in: New York-Connecticut-New Jersey | Massachusetts-Rhode Island | Maine-New Hampshire

Wind, by far, caused the most problems, but heavy rain did result in areas of flooding. High water closed roads in the Boston area and made travel difficult around New York City, as well.

Here are some select rainfall totals from around the Northeast:

  • State College, Pa.: 3.45 inches (wettest two-day period in October since 1893)
  • New York (Central Park): 3.16 inches
  • Danbury, Conn.: 4.33 inches
  • North Providence, R.I.: 3.07 inches
  • Lexington, Mass.: 3.18 inches
  • Worcester, Mass.: 3.30 inches
  • Manchester, N.H.: 2.25 inches
  • Portland, Me.: 1.75 inches

Because tides were low because of the moon phase, coastal flooding was not a serious issue, although a storm surge of nearly five feet came into New York City. The city averted flooding issues only because this surge coincided with low tide.