3.25.14 Massive Storm Brushes New England

Published 03/26 2014 08:36PM

Updated 03/26 2014 08:49PM

Courtesy: NOAA
Courtesy: NOAA
A massive Nor'Easter rapidly strengthened off the New England coast Wednesday. For days we've been watching the storm, that this afternoon reached a pressure as low as 960 mb and produced waves 20-30 feet offshore.

The storm just grazed New England in many ways, as the center passed hundreds of miles offshore. Even still, hurricane-force wind gusts to 83 MPH still raked Nantucket. Nearby Cape Cod and Martha's Vineyard reported wind gusts around 70 MPH. Even parts of the South Shore reported wind gusts near 60 MPH, including the coastal towns of Hingham and Plymouth. Wind gusts over 40 MPH worked as far inland as Vermont and New Hampshire.

The strong winds on Cape Cod and the Islands, combined with blowing snow, resulted in near white-out conditions for several hours. That meant the storm quickly met blizzard criteria in places like Falmouth, Hyannis, Chatham, Vineyard Haven, and Nantucket, which requires winds of 35 MPH for at least 3 hours combined with a quarter-mile or less visibility.

The wind knocked out power to thousands for part of the afternoon, and also sparked coastal flooding. Reports of flooding were most numerous on Nantucket, which was definitely hardest hit in Southern New England. Parts of Downeast Maine also reported powerful winds and heavy snow. The worst of the storm will impact the Canadian Maritimes Wednesday night.

While in many ways the storm was as powerful as a hurricane, the structure of the storm is much different. Hurricanes are "warm core" storms, meaning the temperature increases as one moves towards the cyclone's center. Nor'Easters are "cold core"

Had this storm tracked closer to the coast, it would have been a devastating tempest for much of New England and not just parts of the coast.

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