For those of you not from this area, a Nor'easter, (short for Northeaster) is a storm that barrels up the east coast of the United States, containing lots of moisture, lots of snow and lots of wind. It is called a Nor'easter because unlike our usual weather pattern of clouds moving from west to east, this storm actually comes in from the northeast, backing into the state with clouds moving from east to west. The storm hits with tropical force. It is not unusual for hurricane force winds and whiteout conditions.
|The purple clouds move in a circular direction toward the west|
The clouds rotate in a circular motion with high winds coming from the northeast as the storm slams into New England communities. There are often "bands" of heavy snow that can come down at the rate of 2-4 inches per hour. These snow bands are much like the bands of heavy rains that occur during a tropical storm.
Coastal communities experience extreme high tides with flooding and beach erosion possible.
Sometimes the intensity of the energy of these types of storms is so strong, it actually produces thunder and lightening. This phenomena is called thunder snow.
A "whiteout" is snow coming down so heavy and hard that it is actually difficult to see anything directly in front of you. Of course driving is impossible in these types of conditions. We all just "hunker down" and wait it out, praying we don't lose our lights and heat.
|A whiteout makes it difficult to see the oncoming snow plow|
Heavy snow builds up fast on trees and power lines, causing widespread power outages and downed trees. As I mentioned, winds can reach hurricane force strength. With high sustained winds there is "drifting" of snow, where snow is blown by the wind into high mounds. These drifts can easily mount to many feet of snow.
Massachusetts is currently under a blizzard warning with predictions of 18 to 24 inches of snow for our area with winds up to 60 mph. Timing of the storm is expected throughout tonight and into Monday. If local meteorologists are correct, this could be one of the top ten snow storms for total snow accumulation for this area.
I will keep you all posted, provided of course that we don't lose power!