March 25-26th Blizzard Facts

Posted: March 27, 2014, 12:11 pm by mmurphy

On March 25th and 26th a powerful storm system developed off the Southeast U.S. coast. The storm took a track from east of Cape Hatteras, NC to a point about 200 miles east of Nantucket Island, MA then north into Atlantic Canada. This was no ordinary storm system, many atmospheric conditions came together just right to cause explosive intensification of this storm off the east coast with a 45 mb pressure drop in just 24 hours recorded! The meteorological definition of a 'bomb' is a rapidly intensifying storm system, with at least a 24 mb pressure drop in 24 this storm almost doubled the criteria! The saving grace for many along the East Coast was the track, as it was far enough out to sea to leave most areas unaffected by heavy snowfall. The exceptions to this were parts of the Mid-Atlantic up into southern New Jersey where 2-7 inches of snow fell and of course along the outer Cape region of Massachusetts where a few locations received over 6" of snow. Overall, parts of Atlantic Canada saw the brunt of this storm, seeing the highest wind gusts and heaviest snowfall from the storm. If this nor'easter had taken a track closer to the coast, this very well could have been an historic blizzard up & down the I-95 corridor, with 1-2 feet of snow, huge drifts and excessively strong winds. Below we will take a closer look at this storm system 'by the numbers' and also compare it to other historical East Coast storms.

Lowest pressure...  955 mb or 28.20 inHg south of Nova Scotia. Compare with historical storms below:
                               940 mb or 27.76 inHg Superstorm Sandy (October 2012)
                               960 mb or 28.35 inHg The Blizzard of 1993
                               968 mb or 28.59 inHg February 2013 blizzard
                               968 mb or 28.59 inHg April 5 - 7, 1982 Nor'easter

Highest wind gusts...
82 mph on Nantucket, MA: Highest gust since official records began in 1998
                                 114 mph Wreckhouse, NL: beating the previous record set in 2007
                                 119 mph Buoy off the coast of Maine: This observation is under review
                                 129 mph on Seal Island in the Bay of Fundy

Power outages... By midday Wednesday, March 26th during the height of the storm approximately 7,800 outages were reported in Massachusetts (mainly on the Cape and Islands)

Snowfall (unofficial numbers)... 20.9" Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island
                                                  16.5" Greenwood, Nova Scotia
                                                  16.1" Yarmouth, Nova Scotia
                                                  16.1" Moncton, New Brunswick
                                                    9.5" Nantucket Island, MA
                                                    8.4" Halifax, Nova Scotia
                                                    6.5" Cape May, NJ
                                                    6.0" Harwhichport, MA
                                                    5.0" Georgetown, DE
                                                    3.8" Dulles Airport, VA

This was truly an incredibly powerful storm system, for a better idea of its strength take a look at this video of reporters being blown over in strong winds & heavy snow/blowing snow near Grand Etang, Nova Scotia


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