Winter Storm 'Nemo': A Historical Perspective

By: Christopher C. Burt , 9:07 AM GMT on February 10, 2013

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Winter Storm ‘Nemo’: A Historical Perspective

Winter storm ‘Nemo’ (as The Weather Channel’ has designated it), winded up this Saturday night although sea-effect snow showers continue to brush Cape Cod and Nantucket Island in Massachusetts. The storm was certainly among the top five to affect Southern New England and Maine and for some localities, the worst winter storm on record (going back 300 years since European inhabitants began keeping track of such things).



A satellite image of Nemo Saturday morning around 7 a.m. EST. The amazing structure of the storm resembles a hurricane with an eye structure. This feature was also seen with Sandy last October and the ‘Perfect Storm’ of October 28, 1991. However, in Nemo’s case this was a pure winter storm, not a hybrid tropical cum extra-tropical storm like Sandy and the 1991 event although there have been other winter storms in the past that also displayed a similar ‘eye’ structure. Photo from NASA.

Comparison to the Blizzard of March 11-14, 1888

There were many ways this storm was similar to the great Blizzard of March 1888. Both storms formed from similar synoptic situations; low pressure system/trough arriving from the west combined with low pressure center developing of the mid-Atlantic coast and then ‘bombing’ explosively south of Long Island and slowly tracking off to the northeast. The big difference between the blizzard of 1888 and Nemo was the location of where the ‘bombogenesis’ took place. In 1888 the storm center ‘bombed’ about 100 miles further to the southeast than where Nemo did such. Also, the 1888 storm actually made a small loop south of Long Island, unlike Nemo. This resulted in a mostly rain event for eastern Massachusetts (Boston just had 7” of slushy snow) and Maine in 1888 with the core of the heaviest snow falling from New York City north to Albany and east though western Massachusetts, Vermont, and Connecticut. So, amazing as Nemo was for the residents of Connecticut, the Blizzard of 1888 was more severe in terms of snowfall accumulations and blizzard conditions. For a detailed analysis of the Blizzard of 1888 see my blog on the subject posted last year.

It seems the highest snowfall report in Connecticut from Nemo has been 40” at Hamden. In 1888 the peak total was 50” at Middleton. Hartford received 36” during the Blizzard of 1888 (although the ‘official’ total was much lower since the observation site at that time was on a hill and the snow was mostly blown clear from the location). New Haven picked up 44.7” in 1888 versus 34” from Nemo. An interesting aside, is the intensity of the snowfall rates reached during Nemo’s peak. A public report mentions an astonishing 12” of snow fell in one 90-minute period at Coventry, Connecticut Friday night.



This is what 38” of snow looks like as photographed on Saturday morning, February 9th in Milford, Connecticut. There is a car buried in that driveway! Milford was in the epicenter of Nemo’s heaviest snow accumulation. Photo courtesy of Tom Crispino.

Long Island, New York has reported a peak snow accumulation of 33.5” at Medford from Nemo versus 36” at Babylon during the 1888 blizzard.

Some snowfall statistics comparing the Blizzard of 1888 to Nemo on Long Island and Connecticut (this table represents sites that we have records for from both storms):



It would therefore appear that the Blizzard of 1888 remains the worst blizzard in Connecticut and Long Island history with Nemo probably taking 2nd place.

Comparison to the great February Blizzard of 1978

Again the blizzard of February 7-8, 1978 followed a similar synoptic pattern as both the 1888 blizzard and the 2013 blizzard (a trough from west merging with a mid-Atlantic low and bombing out south of Long Island). However, in the 1978 case (and with Nemo) Massachusetts, Maine, and Rhode Island received much greater snowfall totals than occurred in the blizzard of 1888.



Surface synoptic chart at the peak intensity of the Blizzard of 1978. Nemo deepened to 973 mb but did not have the intense high pressure (1048 mb) to its north and west like in 1978 (sorry, I can’t locate a similar synoptic map for Nemo), so the blizzard conditions (and wind speeds or cold) were not quite equal to the 1978 storm. Chart from Paul Kocin and Louis Uccellini’s groundbreaking book ‘Northeast Snowstorms’ published by the American Meteorological Society in 2004. You may be aware that Dr. Uccellini has just recently been appointed as the new director of the NWS (NOAA’s National Weather Service).

For the residents of Massachusetts and Rhode Island, the Blizzard of February 1978 has been the benchmark winter storm of record. Although Boston has seen heavier snowfalls than what occurred in 1978 (the city’s all-time single deepest snow event remains the 27.5” that fell February 17-18, 2003) the winds and coastal flooding in 1978 were the worst Massachusetts have ever experienced from a blizzard in modern history. See Jeff Masters blog on the details of how the storm has affected the Boston area.



Boston’s top 10 greatest single snowstorms since records for such have been kept beginning in 1872. It is curious that most of these storms have occurred in relatively recent years.

It seems that Boston Logan Airport (official weather site for the city) received a total of 24.9” from Nemo. The storm surge at Boston from Nemo was just shy of that in 1978 (4.21’ versus 4.34’). Peak wind gusts appear to be comparable to the 1978 event although there were problems with some of the ASOS anemometer readings at the peak of Nemo’s fury. In any case, so far it seems Boston’s peak wind gust was 76 mph during Nemo versus 79 mph in 1978. Chatham, Massachusetts (Cape Cod reported a 93 mph gust in 1978 whereas the peak Nemo gust on the Cape or Islands from Nemo seems to have been 83 mph near Cutyhunk. The maximum snow accumulation in Massachusetts seems to be 31” at Spencer.

Rhode Island has so far reported a peak snowfall total of 27.6” at West Glocester from Nemo versus an official maximum of 38.0” at Woonsocket during the 1978 storm (with unofficial totals as high as 55” in Lincoln in 1978 (where drifts 27’ deep were reported!). For an in depth analysis of the February 1978 see this report prepared by NOAA.

So, in conclusion, I think it safe to say that the storm of February 7-8, 1978 remains the strongest blizzard on record for eastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island. However, Nemo would appear to be a close 2nd.





Maps comparing the storm total snowfalls for the blizzard of February 5-7, 1978 and that of the Blizzard of February 8-9, 2013. 1978 map from Kocin and Uccellini book ‘Northeast Snowstorms”. Bottom map courtesy of NWS-Taunton, Massachusetts.

Was Nemo the worst blizzard on record for coastal Maine?

The airport near Portland, Maine has received an all-time record single-snowstorm record accumulation of 31.9”. This has swept aside the previous official record of 27.1” set on January 17-18, 1979. However, the NWS office in downtown Portland has reported a total of only 26.4”. The peak snow total for any Maine site appears to be 35.5” at Gorham.

The great ‘Down East’ blizzard of December 29-30, 1962 brought a maximum snowfall of 46” at Ripogenus Dam and 40” in Orono (located about 10 miles northeast of Bangor—where 16-20” has been reported from Nemo so far). The 1962 blizzard is considered the worst on record for the central and eastern coastal portions of Maine. Portland received much lesser amounts but the storm was noted for the bitter cold and high winds that accompanied it. The temperature ranged between 0°F and -15°F during the storm with sustained winds of 20-40 mph.

So, it would appear that Nemo is the greatest snowstorm to affect the Portland area and southeastern portions of Maine but not record-setting in other portions of the state.

Honorable Mentions

FEBRUARY 24-28, 1969

There are two other snow events of as great historical significance as Nemo so far as southern New England is concerned. These would be the 100-hour snow’ of February 24-28, 1969 and the ‘Great Snow of 1717’. In February 1969 a low pressure system stalled off the coast of Massachusetts and pounded the region with an almost continuous 100 hours of snowfall. Boston picked up 26.3” during the storm, Portland, Maine 26.9”, and Concord, New Hampshire 28.0”. Rockport, Massachusetts (on Cape Ann) received 39”. Inland, an astonishing 77” of snow accumulated at Pinkham Notch, New Hampshire between February 25-28 and Mt. Washington caught a 97.8” total from February 24-28, its greatest snowstorm on record. The storm, however, was not a true blizzard and was only noteworthy for its longevity and hence deep snow accumulations.

FEBRUARY 27-MARCH 7, 1717

As weather historian David M. Ludlum wrote in his book ‘New England Weather Book’:

”No natural event in colonial New England has achieved such reverential status as the Great Snow of 1717. Accounts appear in many local and regional histories and hardly a diarist fails to mention it.”

This storm, or rather series of 4 storms (two major and two minor), pounded southern New England over a 10-day period February 27-March 7 and deposited a level four feet of accumulation in Boston and environs. The Rev. Cotton Mather wrote, “As mighty a snow, as perhaps known in the memory of man, is at this time lying on the ground”. Specific details are lacking but this event remained the benchmark for the following 160 years (until the Blizzard of 1888) so far as contemporary snowfall events.

Conclusion

It can probably be said that winter storm Nemo was the 2nd most intense winter storm event for Long Island, Connecticut, eastern Massachusetts, and perhaps Rhode Island. For Long Island, and Connecticut the Blizzard of 1888 remains unparalleled whereas for Rhode Island and eastern Massachusetts the Blizzard of 1978 remains the top event. For southeastern Maine it would appear that Nemo has been the most extreme snowstorm on record. Of course, this is a broad statement and for some localities in Connecticut and Massachusetts Nemo may have been even worse than the storms of 1888 and 1978 and for other localities in the region other major snowstorms may have been worse than any one of the three.

I might add that it is a bit unsettling that two of the most significant storms in the past 300 years to strike the northeastern quadrant of the U.S. have occurred within just four months from one another.

Christopher C. Burt
Weather Historian

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41. WunderAlertBot (Admin)
10:31 PM GMT on February 13, 2013
weatherhistorian has created a new entry.
40. Christopher C. Burt , Weather Historian
5:19 AM GMT on February 12, 2013
Quoting MaineDan:
Great article, and really interesting to compare to the biggest historic blizzards. As for this being the biggest snowstorm in history in the Portland area, I'm not so sure. It was around 15 degrees for most of the storm here, so the snow:water ratio was at least 20:1. With a very high fluff factor, the snow continuously compressed during the storm. The NWS measures every few hours and then adds those measurements together. However, by the time the storm ended, there wasn't 32" on the ground- it seemed more like around 24". In fact the NWS snow depth at the Portland Jetport on the 9th is shown as 25", and it is shown as down to 16" by the 10th. A friend here in Cape Elizabeth who had a yard largely protected from the wind measured 20" at the end of the storm. The NWS reports 1.26" of melted precipitation on the 8th and the exact same 1.26" on the 9th, which is obviously an error. I wonder if the total precipitation was 1.26"? It may make sense to measure these big storms at least in part based on the melted precipitation in order to get a true sense of their impact. In any case, it was a very big storm, with huge drifts and lots of snow, but in impact it may have been more like top 10 vs #1.



Good point. Remember the 'almost world record 24-hour' snowfall in Montaque Township, NY back On January 11-12, 1997? They (the local COOP observer) used snow boards for the 77" 24-hour measurement but it was discarded by NCDC because there were 5 instead of 4 measurements made in the 24-hour POR. Officially, only one measurement every 6 hours is considered official. I wonder how the airport in Portland came up with their total.
Member Since: February 15, 2006 Posts: 327 Comments: 315
39. MaineDan
3:01 AM GMT on February 12, 2013
Great article, and really interesting to compare to the biggest historic blizzards. As for this being the biggest snowstorm in history in the Portland area, I'm not so sure. It was around 15 degrees for most of the storm here, so the snow:water ratio was at least 20:1. With a very high fluff factor, the snow continuously compressed during the storm. The NWS measures every few hours and then adds those measurements together. However, by the time the storm ended, there wasn't 32" on the ground- it seemed more like around 24". In fact the NWS snow depth at the Portland Jetport on the 9th is shown as 25", and it is shown as down to 16" by the 10th. A friend here in Cape Elizabeth who had a yard largely protected from the wind measured 20" at the end of the storm. The NWS reports 1.26" of melted precipitation on the 8th and the exact same 1.26" on the 9th, which is obviously an error. I wonder if the total precipitation was 1.26"? It may make sense to measure these big storms at least in part based on the melted precipitation in order to get a true sense of their impact. In any case, it was a very big storm, with huge drifts and lots of snow, but in impact it may have been more like top 10 vs #1.
Member Since: February 12, 2013 Posts: 0 Comments: 0
38. wxgeek723
2:45 AM GMT on February 12, 2013
Quoting shovelready:
Great reading.

Our meteorological recorded history is short, especially in the new world. Storms have been pummeling the planet for millions of years. We don't know on a local level what happened thousands of years in the past.

I read somewhere that there is no record of a hurricane directly hitting Savannah, GA, whether in written history or native American lore. The coastline is concave there, so naturally a little protected. But does that mean Savannah has never been hit, or never will be hit?

Our knowledge of weather history is limited. It is hard for us to know what to make of current climate cycles.


1893 Sea Islands Hurricane

1898 Georgia hurricane

Hurricane David
Member Since: August 28, 2008 Posts: 79 Comments: 3993
37. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
2:34 AM GMT on February 12, 2013
or would it be better if i put a bag over my head therefore i wont see what i have not been seeing
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 192 Comments: 59074
36. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
2:32 AM GMT on February 12, 2013
Quoting shovelready:
Great reading.

Our meteorological recorded history is short, especially in the new world. Storms have been pummeling the planet for millions of years. We don't know on a local level what happened thousands of years in the past.

I read somewhere that there is no record of a hurricane directly hitting Savannah, GA, whether in written history or native American lore. The coastline is concave there, so naturally a little protected. But does that mean Savannah has never been hit, or never will be hit?

Our knowledge of weather history is limited. It is hard for us to know what to make of current climate cycles.
yep everything is fine we have nothing to worry about right
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 192 Comments: 59074
35. shovelready
2:27 AM GMT on February 12, 2013
Great reading.

Our meteorological recorded history is short, especially in the new world. Storms have been pummeling the planet for millions of years. We don't know on a local level what happened thousands of years in the past.

I read somewhere that there is no record of a hurricane directly hitting Savannah, GA, whether in written history or native American lore. The coastline is concave there, so naturally a little protected. But does that mean Savannah has never been hit, or never will be hit?

Our knowledge of weather history is limited. It is hard for us to know what to make of current climate cycles.
Member Since: February 12, 2013 Posts: 0 Comments: 0
34. SunriseSteeda
1:07 AM GMT on February 12, 2013
Quoting wxgeek723:


Fine the names can stay. But they need to be ridiculous to keep a distinction from hurricane names. This Greek theme isn't good enough, I mean absolutely ridiculous. Something like the themes NWS Buffalo uses for their lake storms. Like cars. Winter Storm Civic or something.


That actually sounds fun. Or maybe name 'em after Santa's reindeer (especially winter storms).

Then when you refer in conversation to "Storm So-And-So", even if the other party doesn't recall that particular storm, they know from the name that it was a hurricane or a blizzard.

But I for one am not outraged nor critical of TWC's naming of winter storms, whatever their motives are.

As another person said, it does make it convenient to be able to refer to a historic weather event and not have to remember the exact details (year, etc) in order to pinpoint it.

There was record snow and cold in middle Georgia (Macon area) around 72 and again maybe in 78? I don't remember exactly but it sure would be nice if there had been name monikers given to the storms, so you'd know which ones I meant!

...or that insane heat wave of '79 or '80. Perhaps name heat events with another class of monikers. Palm tree varieties?


Wow, this post was the first in over 2 hours? For shame! And I had popped in to see if there were any snow totals for western MA where my family leaves.
Member Since: July 16, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 485
33. weatherdogg
10:59 PM GMT on February 11, 2013
IIRC, the amazing thing about 1978 was that the storm was followed just a couple of weeks after another epic storm. That winter was something else. We were visiting some friends in Brookfield Center CT around New Years, and I can remember then there was a pretty big snow storm too. We had stopped to visit friends in OK, TN and PA on the way to CT over the prior two weeks (mid to late Dec. 1977) and even there it was ridiculously cold.
Member Since: September 5, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 96
32. JMonaco
9:15 PM GMT on February 11, 2013
You make a good case, but all weather is local. Here on the East End of Long Island I measured 17 inches. The storm didn't even match December 2010 (21 inches) much less December 1947 (3 feet). There was little wind so I don't think it deserves the moniker "blizzard."

But thanks for all the analysis: without it, I never would have known what I thought of as a nice winter snowstorm was so historically significant.
Member Since: February 17, 2003 Posts: 0 Comments: 0
31. Gerrob
9:14 PM GMT on February 11, 2013
I will forever call this storm the Blizzard of '13. Nemo is an inappropriate name for what just happened. He's a pathetic little fish in a Disney Movie. Maybe if they named the storm Mothra or Godzilla, I might get on board with this storm naming thing.
Member Since: February 11, 2013 Posts: 0 Comments: 0
30. wxgeek723
9:14 PM GMT on February 11, 2013
Quoting Neapolitan:
Chris, thanks for taking the time to research and write this very detailed, very educational comparative analysis of winter storms affecting the Northeastern US.

I'm sorry so many come here and feel the need to be personally insulting about TWC's naming of winter storms. I mean, expressing an opinion is one thing, and encouraged. But some of the more vitriolic comment, especially those directed toward you, seem way out of line.

The thing is, even some of the people who were most against the naming scheme when it was first announced by TWC back in the fall are now coming around to support it. And for good reason: it works. The name "Nemo" was picked up and used by major media outlets across the U.S. and around the globe, and for a period of time the name was trending on Twitter--meaning that the idea has crossed a threshold into wider acceptance, and thus will simply not go away anytime soon. Yes, it would have been better had the NWS adopted the practice first, but that's water under the bridge; TWC beat the NWS to it, the idea is now out in the wild, and it's reached a level of virality that tells me it'll be commonplace in just another year or two--and eventually (and quite thankfully!)--the complaints will stop.

Again, thanks for the great post.


Fine the names can stay. But they need to be ridiculous to keep a distinction from hurricane names. This Greek theme isn't good enough, I mean absolutely ridiculous. Something like the themes NWS Buffalo uses for their lake storms. Like cars. Winter Storm Civic or something.
Member Since: August 28, 2008 Posts: 79 Comments: 3993
29. Neapolitan
8:55 PM GMT on February 11, 2013
Chris, thanks for taking the time to research and write this very detailed, very educational comparative analysis of winter storms affecting the Northeastern US.

I'm sorry so many come here and feel the need to be personally insulting about TWC's naming of winter storms. I mean, expressing an opinion is one thing, and encouraged. But some of the more vitriolic comment, especially those directed toward you, seem way out of line.

The thing is, even some of the people who were most against the naming scheme when it was first announced by TWC back in the fall are now coming around to support it. And for good reason: it works. The name "Nemo" was picked up and used by major media outlets across the U.S. and around the globe, and for a period of time the name was trending on Twitter--meaning that the idea has crossed a threshold into wider acceptance, and thus will simply not go away anytime soon. Yes, it would have been better had the NWS adopted the practice first, but that's water under the bridge; TWC beat the NWS to it, the idea is now out in the wild, and it's reached a level of virality that tells me it'll be commonplace in just another year or two--and eventually (and quite thankfully!)--the complaints will stop.

Again, thanks for the great post.
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 14447
28. SherwoodSpirit
5:17 PM GMT on February 11, 2013
"bombogenesis" I love that. :)

C'mon people give the angst about naming storms a rest. It's easier to refer to a winter storm by a single, distinct name than to refer back in a few month or years to "that-big-storm-that-hit-the-northeast-in-February -of-2013-that-dumped-a-ton-of-snow-and-formed-an-e ye, blah de blah blah blah..."

Are you upset about naming that storm a movie was made about "The Perfect Storm"? Most people who weren't directly affected by it wouldn't know which storm you were referring to if you described it with the year and location, but you mention "The Perfect Storm" and everyone knows what you're talking about. You say "Sandy" from now on, everyone will know what you're talking about. Just because Nemo didn't start as a hurricane doesn't make it any less worthy of having a distinct designation. It affected a lot of people. The event is deserving of its own unique name.

Europe accepted the practice long before we got around to it and the world hasn't ended because of it.

I wasn't thrilled about naming storms at first either, mostly because it was TWC doing it, but I can see the advantages. I wasn't thrilled about having to figure out computers back in the '90s either.

We change. We grow. Life goes on.

Ok, I'm climbing down from my soapbox now and heading off to sit in front of a computer for 8 hours so I can pay my bills. :)
Member Since: July 18, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 411
27. FakedMail3
4:27 PM GMT on February 11, 2013
Interesting comments noted about significant storms seem to be occuring as of recently (or two major events in 4 months).

Is that your underhanded way to scare us with the "Global Warming" or "Climate Change" schtick??

Come back to me with weather data for a million years and you will see that there is a "cycle" - Climate change...whatever!
Member Since: December 25, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 0
26. Jlterminiello
4:25 PM GMT on February 11, 2013
Fantastic job Chris! Thx for sharing your 'wealth of knowledge' with us!
What a great spot for the most collective, informative & accurate storm news. My kids were fascinated with all the info and facts! :)

BTW - what am I missing on the issue with naming the storms???!! Sure, seems silly, but what is the big deal (and offense that seems to have SO many riled up??). I can only assume my own ignorance on this one as I am OBVIOUSLY uniformed on the brevity of issue??
Member Since: February 11, 2013 Posts: 0 Comments: 0
25. terstorm
2:08 PM GMT on February 11, 2013
Quoting weatherhistorian:


Hi all, thanks for your feedback about the 'Nemo' business. I appreciate all these messages. I need to take a breath and get back to you on this 'naming' of winter storms. Sorry if I offended you by using this TWC nomenclature in my recent blog.

However, may I remind you that Europe has been 'naming' its winter extra-tropical storms for years now so I don't think this is just a "stunt" as one commentator mentioned.

Best regards,

Chris


Thanks for saying this.

The names really aren't that bad. Now TWC's criteria are arbitrary, yes, but I really see no harm in naming the winter storms.

Now if everyone could come up with criteria that makes sense, then perhaps we could get somewhere. As for marketing, their naming system hasn't convinced me to start watching The Weather Channel again, and really, the concept has a half-century precedent overseas.

I wonder if debates for naming hurricanes went like this in the early '50s.
Member Since: October 11, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 29
24. penguins4peaace
1:52 PM GMT on February 11, 2013
Why stop at naming big storms? If "Nemo" catches on, why not go whole hog and start naming everyday weather events? After all, most days TWC has nothing to hype but routine weather. So come on, folks, let's hear it for Cloud Cover Cornelius, Breeze Brunhilde, Sunny Day Suzie, Rainshower Ronnie.

If WU is going to turn itself into nothing more than another iteration of TWC, then I see no need to waste further time here.
Member Since: September 27, 2003 Posts: 0 Comments: 0
23. pikkulintu
1:42 PM GMT on February 11, 2013
I find it interesting and a little comforting that even bigger storms hit the US coast long before the current climate warming news. It makes me think. Maybe nature has more of a hand in the cycles including storms and warming/cooling than we think possible?
Member Since: May 26, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 0
22. Curiositykt
11:16 AM GMT on February 11, 2013
As much fun as shoveling 28 inches of snow for 4 hours was, I'm a little disappointed that we just barely missed surpassing 1978, if only to shut up the old people and their "well this isn't bad, you should have seen 78!"
Member Since: July 27, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 0
20. MichaelCompton
6:08 AM GMT on February 11, 2013
Others have already mentioned the use of a for-profit company's insulting/dangerous naming of winter storms, and I (finally) signed up to the site in order voice my agreement.

This is dangerous and irresponsible on the part of TWC and anyone who parrots their schtick (and that's exactly what it is).

I visit this site because I expect better. WU has always been the underdog of the weather sites (imo), but I have visited it for years because I've always felt there was a bit of independence (as well as forecast accuracy).

Very (very) disappointing to see it's use here. I hope Weather Underground refrains from bucking the National Weather Service and puts the safety of their readers ahead of the Weather Channel's profits in the future.

The National Weather Service is filled with dedicated people working in the public interest. They do so on our behalf, for significantly less money than a private alternative would cost in their absence - not in service to the bottom line of a handful of shareholders.

If this invaluable national resource is to be protected for future generations, an effort must be made on each individual's part to understand the reasons and motivations for TWC's actions

Weather Underground is better than this... I know it is. The non sequitur about Europe's naming of storms aside (the example totally misses the point/context), I appreciated Mr. Burt's comment addressing the use of TWC silly, irresponsible 'terminology', and enjoyed the article apart from the inclusion of that bogus name.

Thanks for taking the time to read this comment, and please keep up the great work in every other regard.
Member Since: February 11, 2013 Posts: 0 Comments: 0
19. daley049
3:51 AM GMT on February 11, 2013
Man, everyone needs to chill out! Even though, yes, the naming of winter storms is probably just a scheme to evoke drama, you have to remember that it has quickly caught on with much of the media. We can't ignore that fact. And also, it's just a name! What's the big deal?
Member Since: May 17, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 0
18. glfinman
3:44 AM GMT on February 11, 2013
I agree naming winter storms is stupid. What's next naming tornadoes, earthquakes, or flatulance.
Member Since: February 7, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 4
17. Christopher C. Burt , Weather Historian
3:31 AM GMT on February 11, 2013
Quoting skytrucker:
Chris, I'm trying to get oriented to sat pic..is that body of water lake Ontario? looks too big as it is so far from coast. Also I'm agreeing we shouldn't be perpetuating Weather Channel nonsense about naming snowstorms..even big ones. And it seems as though every new law that comes out has to be named for someone...stop the madness.



Hi all, thanks for your feedback about the 'Nemo' business. I appreciate all these messages. I need to take a breath and get back to you on this 'naming' of winter storms. Sorry if I offended you by using this TWC nomenclature in my recent blog.

However, may I remind you that Europe has been 'naming' its winter extra-tropical storms for years now so I don't think this is just a "stunt" as one commentator mentioned.

Best regards,

Chris
Member Since: February 15, 2006 Posts: 327 Comments: 315
16. skytrucker
3:06 AM GMT on February 11, 2013
Chris, I'm trying to get oriented to sat pic..is that body of water lake Ontario? looks too big as it is so far from coast. Also I'm agreeing we shouldn't be perpetuating Weather Channel nonsense about naming snowstorms..even big ones. And it seems as though every new law that comes out has to be named for someone...stop the madness.

Member Since: April 21, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 0
15. Wyote
2:28 AM GMT on February 11, 2013
Great historical round-up, Chris.

As for, "I might add that is a bit unsettling that two of the most significant storms in the past 300 years to strike the northeastern quadrant of the U.S. have occurred within just four months from one another." I'm with you on that. I suspect 2013 will be just as wild and unpredictable as 2012. The thawing of the arctic presages the dawn of a new climatic age for the Northern Hemisphere. Hold on to your hats!
Member Since: November 12, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 69
14. Jimv
1:32 AM GMT on February 11, 2013
The naming of winter storms is a stunt perpetrated by NBC/Comcast's "The Weather Channel". Both Accu-Weather and, most importantly, the National Weather Service rightly recognize the practice as irresponsible, misleading, and even indifferent to public safety, since winter storms are very different from hurricanes.

I hope the blogger who authored this will reconsider using their fraudulent references in the future.
Member Since: June 27, 2002 Posts: 0 Comments: 0
13. orchids
1:26 AM GMT on February 11, 2013
Nemo? I hope you will stop acting like sheep and stick to weather . We don't need foolish names to storms like this
Member Since: October 14, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 2
12. luckyy
1:10 AM GMT on February 11, 2013
Quoting s15191:
Why has Weather Underground fallen under the spell of The Weather Channel by using their made-up name for a winter storm. If I wanted The Weather Channel I'd go to The Weather Channel. But, I want a more professional service, that's why I've been a member here for eleven years. Come on guys, this is just amateur copy-cat. Get back to being the weather experts...The Weather Underground.


Agreed, just because TWC owns you, does this mean you will be required to start using these ludicrous names? If so, then I will not be renewing my membership this year. I was already questioning if I would continue to use your service after the purchase, and now you are proving me right.
Member Since: August 18, 2003 Posts: 0 Comments: 0
11. arubaduba
1:01 AM GMT on February 11, 2013

Member Since: February 11, 2013 Posts: 0 Comments: 1
10. arubaduba
12:55 AM GMT on February 11, 2013
when is the weather channel going to stop naming these storms? it's annoying
Member Since: February 11, 2013 Posts: 0 Comments: 1
9. dwhoward
12:39 AM GMT on February 11, 2013
Winter storm ‘Nemo’ (as The Weather Channel’ has designated it)
Nice try! You are just as guilty of perpetrating the ignorance of naming these storms. Good article but you really subtracted from the quality since I could not take you serious after the first line.
Member Since: December 1, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 0
8. skubaaruba
12:09 AM GMT on February 11, 2013
Nemo has the classic signature of a Hurricane! I took the satellite picture to show to my wife who knows little about meteorology and she and she said that it was a hurricane because it had an eye. On Friday night here in West Haven, CT it was snowing and hailing at equal rates. It was not sleet it was pea sized hail. I did not observe any lightning or thunder, but a friend in North Haven,CT did. If it had remained all snow then we could have challenged the 1888 record. We had 3 feet here.
Member Since: November 13, 2003 Posts: 3 Comments: 36
7. s15191
9:46 PM GMT on February 10, 2013
Why has Weather Underground fallen under the spell of The Weather Channel by using their made-up name for a winter storm. If I wanted The Weather Channel I'd go to The Weather Channel. But, I want a more professional service, that's why I've been a member here for eleven years. Come on guys, this is just amateur copy-cat. Get back to being the weather experts...The Weather Underground.
Member Since: February 20, 2002 Posts: 0 Comments: 0
6. Nortonphoto
9:27 PM GMT on February 10, 2013
Link

Found this via google.
Member Since: February 18, 2003 Posts: 0 Comments: 2
5. IndianaJohn
9:24 PM GMT on February 10, 2013
Naming a snowstorm. What have we become? Have we crossed a no-return border. If we have, then shall we name a thunderstorm, a sunshower?
These times are too "new" for my liking.
Member Since: June 26, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 11
4. Howe2
5:11 PM GMT on February 10, 2013
Seems there was a photo printed years ago in either Reader's Digest or the Old Farmer's Almanac of the storm of 1888 in NYC where snow was up to the 2nd floor windows of brownstones and the note with it said residents on the first floor had to climb up to the 2nd floor to go out. Obviously impressed me enough to stick in my memory after all these years.
Member Since: July 10, 2001 Posts: 0 Comments: 0
3. AllanWxman
3:21 PM GMT on February 10, 2013
Here is the 00Z Analysis Feb 9- analyzed ironically by Kocin with 979 mb low Link

The susequent 12z HPC analysis- also by Kocin shows a 970 low Link

Member Since: February 10, 2013 Posts: 0 Comments: 0
2. robsobs
3:15 PM GMT on February 10, 2013
Great write up Chris.. Always interesting putting these storms into historical perspective. It was certainly quite the storm.. especially with some of the snowfall rates reported in that so called "deathband" over south central CT Friday evening. What I find fascinating is that we can now envision what a 1888 storm may have looked like on radar based on this event.
Member Since: December 20, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 14
1. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
9:20 AM GMT on February 10, 2013
there is a lot more yet to come

this is only the beginning of the storms
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 192 Comments: 59074

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About weatherhistorian

Christopher C. Burt is the author of 'Extreme Weather; A Guide and Record Book'. He studied meteorology at the Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison.