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WINTER STORM LEAVES LOTS OF SNOW IN ITS WAKE

NOAA Bob Chartuk dig out from winter storm that hit Northeast.March 6, 2001 — National Weather Service meteorologist Mike Wyllie saw the ominous signs six days before: A moisture-laden system tracking along the Gulf Coast could intensify into a major Nor'easter off the Eastern Seaboard. A day later, the computer models agreed–the northeast should prepare for the nastiest winter storm in years. (Click NOAA image for larger view of storm aftermath in Center Moriches, New York, Eastern Long Island, March 6, 2001. Click here to view more images.)

"We saw the potential for a massive weekend snow storm but kept the door open for rain in many areas because of the difficulty in pinpointing the rain-snow line," said Wyllie, who serves as the meteorologist-in-charge of the NWS Upton office on eastern Long Island.

Communities from Washington through New England prepared for the worst as food flew off the shelves over the weekend, with Monday seeing school closures, canceled flights, and highway crews loaded up with sand and salt. Media coverage of the potential blizzard was intense.

For New England, where Boston was hit with up to a foot of snow and some higher elevations saw two feet, the "March Lion" did not disappoint. However, in the Baltimore-Washington corridor, rain was the order of the day with only an inch or less of snow falling as the cold air from the north finally made its way south.

Jim Travers worked the forecast desk at the NWS Baltimore-Washington office: "The Nor'easter took its time as it intensified off the coast and spared the nation's capital. But as the moisture wrapped around from the east, the storm drove heavy snow across New England and down through New York City and New Jersey Monday night and into Tuesday," said Travers, who serves as meteorologist-in-charge of the facility at Sterling, Va.

"For areas to the south, it was business as usual, but Northern Massachusetts and southern Maine experienced winds up to 70 miles per hour creating blizzard conditions," Travers said.

Aside from rain, snow, and wind, coastal communities feared another of the Nor'easter's demons: High surf and coastal erosion. Gale warnings were up for much of the seaboard and tides were running a foot and more above normal. Coastal flood warnings were in affect.

According to Paul Vukits of NOAA's Marine Prediction Center, seas crested from 25-30 feet making the off shore waters extremely treacherous. "A Gulf of Maine buoy measured waves up to 27 feet high with near shore towers showing winds up to 70 miles per hour," Vukits said.

The storm had an interesting pedigree. According to meteorologist Wyllie, "The satellite showed moisture streaming in from as far as the Pacific Ocean off of Mexico. The system spawned severe thunderstorms and tornados throughout the Gulf Coast and had the potential to be one of the worst storms since the blizzard of 1978." However, various factors, including a dome of cold air over northern Maine and the storm's slow speed, kept snow to a minimum in some areas, while bombing others. "At one point, the coastal system actually looped back toward land before heading back out to sea," Wyllie said.

LATEST STORM TOTALS (As of March 6, 2001)

CITY & SNOWFALL AMOUNTS

NEW HAMPSHIRE

JAFFREY 23.00 Inches
RINDGE 20.80 Inches
NASHUA 20.50 Inches

MASSACHUSETTS

AGAWAM-FEEDING HILLS 24.00 Inches
EAST HAWLEY 24.00 Inches
HAVERHILL-BRADFORD 23.00 Inches
SAVOY 22.80 Inches
METHUEN 22.00 Inches
LOWELL 21.00 Inches
SUNDERLAND 21.00 Inches
SOUTH DEERFIELD 20.00 Inches

VERMONT

JAY PEAK 29.00 Inches
NEW HAVEN 25.50 Inches
CAVENDISH 24.10 Inches
EAST WALLINGFORD 24.00 Inches
SOUTH WOODSTOCK 23.00 Inches
TOWNSHEND LAKE 22.50 Inches
CORNWALL 22.00 Inches
CASTLETON 21.00 Inches
COLCHESTER 21.00 Inches
SPRINGFIELD 21.00 Inches
BURLINGTON 20.20 Inches

NEW YORK

ALBANY 15.05 Inches
BALLSTON SPA 28.00 Inches
BOLTON LANDING 28.00 Inches
WHITEHALL 26.80 Inches
PERU 26.30 Inches
SARATOGA SPRINGS 24.00 Inches
WILMINGTON 24.00 Inches
CORTLAND 23.80 Inches
PRATTSVILLE 23.50 Inches
BURNT HILLS 23.40 Inches
WARRENSBURG 23.40 Inches
CLIFTON PARK 23.00 Inches
DUANESBURG 23.00 Inches
SOUTH OWEGO 23.00 Inches
EAST GLENVILLE 21.80 Inches
TROY 20.50 Inches
SCHENECTADY 20.30 Inches

Relevant Web Sites
NOAA's National Weather Service

NOAA's Hydrometeorological Prediction Center

NOAA's Marine Prediction Center

NOAA's Storm Prediction Center

What is a Nor'easter or Northeast Winter Storm?


The following National Weather Service Web sites are available to provide up-to-the-minute winter weather information.

Current winter storm watches, warnings and temperatures across the United States

NOAA's Climate Prediction Center — Winter Outlook 2000-2001

National forecasts that extend from three to 14 days in advance

Winter weather safety and preparedness tips to handle snow, ice, wind and bitter cold temperatures

Map showing the latest conditions over the United States

NOAA's Weather Page — includes latest satellite images and weather maps

NOAA's National Weather Service Office of Climate, Water, and Weather Services

NOAA Weather Radio


Media Contacts:
John Leslie, NOAA's National Weather Service, (301) 713-0622 or Bob Chartuk, NOAA's National Weather Service Eastern Region, (631) 244-0166
(NOAA photos courtesy of Bob Chartuk, NOAA's National Weather Service Eastern Region.)