Saturday, February 9, 2013

Recap of the Blizzard of 2013 Snow Totals -OR- Review of Little Nemo's Snowy Adventures

Updated 330PM 2/10/2013: See below

A man (identified as John Silver) attempts to shovel out cars along the snow-blitzed streets of South Boston following the Blizzard of 2013, February 9, 2013. This snowstorm image and most of those below (except where noted) are from the Boston area , and they are taken from the Boston Globe's online photo gallery of blizzard pictures.


This is a screenshot of the interactive weather page on the NWS Eastern Region website's weather display page centered on Boston and the "last 48 hours" snowfall. I suspect this link will change over time.


The Blizzard of 2013 -- "(Little?) Nemo" -- is over and it dropped a massive amount of snow across central and southern New England (20" to an isolated amount of 40") and in parts of the extended New York City Metropolitan area, especially on Long Island in Suffolk County, while the city itself and portions of northeastern New Jersey has a significant but not blockbuster totals (6 to 12" with some higher amounts). More on the totals below -- including that 40" one in Connecticut.

Boston Globe online webpage / screen shot at 7:03PM EST February 9, 2013.


There were approximately 400,000 customers without power in the Boston area and at least 2 deaths were reported there (due to carbon monoxide poisoning).

Preliminarily-officially, Boston Logan had a storm total of 24.9" -- which ranks this as the 5th biggest snowfall of all time. The Blizzard of '78 comes in second at 27.1" and the "President's Day II" storm (or whatever it's called) in Feb. 2003 is the biggest / first at 27.5" -- except the Blizzard of '78 was far more destructive and disruptive.

Massive snow drifts on a house roof in Wellesley, Mass., February 9, 2013 following the blizzard.


Owing to the coastal flooding with powerful waves and the extensive reach of it is probably more damaging and disruptive then the '03 one for the Boston area but not as bad as the '78 storm.

Large and battering waves overtop a small seawall or breakwater along Massachusetts Bay and flood the roadways and front yards of the houses in Scituate, Mass., during the Blizzard of 2013, February 9, 2013.


Here is an article on the top 10 biggest snowstorms in Boston since 1935 (I think that must have been when official record keeping began at Logan):  

1. 27.5 inches: Feb. 17-18, 20-3 (Presidents’ Day Weekend storm)

2. 27.1 inches: Feb. 6-7, 1978 (THE Blizzard of '78)

3. 26.3 inches: Feb. 24-27, 1969: (94 deaths / snowed for record 101 hours in Boston)

4. 25.4 inches: March 31-April 1, 1997 (April Fool's Day blizzard)

5. 24.9 inches: Feb. 8-9, 2013: (Blizzard of 2013)

This picture was taken by my friend Nick's sister in her home in Brockton, Mass., Feb. 9, 2013.

6. 22.5 inches: Jan. 22-23, 2005: (Blizzard of 2005)

7. 21.4 inches: Jan. 20-21, 1978: (The "Other Blizzard of '78" 2 weeks before the Blizzard of '78 (contributing to extreme difficulty of digging out)

8. 19.8 inches: March 3-5, 1960: (No particular name; Nantucket had 31.3 inches)

9. 19.4 inches: Feb. 16-17, 1958: (43 deaths)

10. 18.7 inches: Feb. 8-10, 1994


Updated 330PM 2/10/2013: Photo replacement below.

People dig out cars on Shawmut Avenue in Boston's South End following the Blizzard of 2013. (Note: This is a replacement image since I inadvertently posted the Winthrop, Mass., picture twice (see below). I'm unsure if this picture was taken on Feb. 9th or 10th.)


While Boston Logan had 24.9", other areas in Massachusetts had amounts ranging between 6.0" in Centerville (Barnstable County on Cape Cod) and 31.0" in Spencer (Worcester County in central Massachusetts) with the most common amounts in the 18 to 24 inch range. Connecticut had the highest amounts with amounts of 12.0" in both Ridgefield (Fairfield County) and Middletown (Middlesex County) and 40.0" in Hamden (New Haven County) with numerous reports in the 30 to 38" range.

This picture was taken by my friend / co-worker Chris's mom in Mount Sinai, N.Y., Feb. 9, 2013. About 25" of snow fell there.

Long Island beyond Queens also had tremendous snowfall totals, especially in Suffolk County including 33.5" in Medford, 30.9" in Upton (at the OKX NWS office itself!), and 30.7" in Central Islip. Nassau County had totals ranging up to 18.0" in places such as Massapequa Park and Plainview.

NOTE: These other totals are mostly spotter / public ("unofficial") reports and are taken from public information statement storm reports on both the BOX and OKX NWS webpages. (Those reports will disappear eventually from these sites. However, I saved the files as Word docs.) I note this because I'm a bit skeptical of the 40.0" total. What tends to happen in these situations is that the public gets over-enthusiastic and will put a yardstick in a snowdrift sideways ... That doesn't count.

Blizzard aftermath in Needham, Mass., Feb. 9, 2013.


Of course, the opposite extreme is the Mark Richards Snow Total Adjustment Factor at the Reagan Washington National Airport climate station (KDCA) whereby even what by all rights is a 20+" snowfall (in 1996, 2003, 2009, and 2010) magically gets reduced to (well) under 18" -- and with a bad attitude. But I guess when you've overseen the reporting there since the 1940s 1979, you have a special bond with the old records.

The highest amount in New Jersey I could find was 13.5" in West Caldwell in Essex County with just over 12" in parts of Bergen and Passaic Counties including 12.6" in Tenafly (I love that name) and Little Falls. It looks as though Monmouth County -- including around Long Branch where I'm originally from -- had in the 3 to 6 inch range though I couldn't readily find anything on the PHI NWS page.

Floodwaters from Boston Harbor sluice down a street past houses and yards buried in snow during the blizzard in Winthrop, Mass., Feb. 9, 2013.


As for the official NYC climate stations, there was 12.1" at LaGuardia Airport (KLGA); 11.4" at Central Park (KNYC); 10.0" at Newark Int'l Airport (KEWR), and 6.4" at JFK AIrport (KJFK). (I verified these by adding up the two day daily climo totals, except for KLGA where I only used the climo totals since it wasn't listed on the public information statement storm totals.)

Oh, yeah, here in D.C., as I mentioned in an earlier entry, we had ZERO -- not even a flake of snow -- and about 0.2" of rainfall. And all the usual suspects -- if you read my blog at all, you know who they are -- were all "happy" that we were "spared" the storm. As if it doesn't always and forever happen.

Looking ahead, there are two possible weather events -- one in the midweek range and another next weekend -- for the D.C. area but it's far too soon to say anything about precipitation types or amounts (although sleet to light rain is always a good bet for here). As it is, we are quickly running out of available winter.

Tonight I'm not sure what I'm doing ... I have a few different options of meeting up with people. Yes, you read that correctly. As for my N.J. trip themed entries, alas, they may have to wait a bit longer (into next week ...).


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