|Severe coastal flooding today in Marshfield, Mass.|
Storm surge flooding and battering waves
are, as expected, turning out to be the
most destructive part of the Blizzard of 2015.
There's mishmash of factoids, arguments, facts, photos and videos that are coming across that are all pretty interesting, so I'll share them with you.
First of all, click on this colored link for a wind field illustration of the storm center off the coast of New England. Do it now, because the storm is still near its peak and will be the most dramatic.
Eric Holthaus at Slate and others have a pretty good argument as to how this storm could be related to global warming. I don't like to pin individual weather systems on climate change, but it does influence things.
|From @Phillip586 on Twitter. Snow inundates a Hyde Park,|
Massachusetts street today.
Here's what Holthaus has to say:
"Ocean water temperatures off the East Coast are much above normal right now, as they have been all year. That's helping to boost the amount of moisture the setorm is able to convert into snow via enhanced evaporation.
But there's an even easier link to climate change: Sea levels in the Northeast have risen by about a foot over the last 100 years or so, about half of which is directly attributable to warming seas and melting glaciers worldwide.
There's 100 percent certainty, in my view, that sea level rise is making the impact of extreme coastal storms like this one worse."
You wouldn't think so, but since quite a bit of real estate near coastal areas is barely above normal sea levels, increasing the sea level by just a few inches, then pushing the water inland via a storm, can indeed make things a lot worse.
By the way, Massachusetts isn't out of the woods with this. There was a lot of coastal flooding and some structural damage with this morning's high tide.
Some of this morning's reports include 3.5 feet of storm surge water in downtown Nantucket, four to five feet of water on a street in Hull, and ankle deep water in the rear of the Sandwich, Mass police department building.
|Storm surge flooding in Scituate, Mass. this morning.|
Another round of flooding is due with this afternoon's high tide. As I expected, this will be the most destructive aspect of this blizzard. Lots of damage is being done in coastal New England.
The earlier flooding and 24 hours of battering waves have eroded beaches and buffers against storm tides.
Even though this afternoon's storm surge might be just a smidge smaller than this morning's the lack of defenses could make the flooding worse.
No surprise that coastal flood warnings are still in effect for most of the Massachusetts coast.
Here's what the latest National Weather Service/Boston statement on the coastal flooding, issued around 11:45 a.m. today:
TIMING...WITHIN SEVERAL HOURS OF THE LATE AFTERNOON HIGH TIDE. A FEW AREAS WERE UNABLE TO DRAIN FROM THE EARLY MORNING HIGH TIDE. RENEWED COASTAL FLOODING FROM THE NEXT HIGH TIDE COULD OCCUR AS EARLY AS 2 TO 3 PM. * IMPACTS...FLOODING OF VULNERABLE SHORE ROADS AND BASEMENTS WILL OCCUR AGAIN DURING THE LATE AFTERNOON HIGH TIDE. THERE REMAINS A RISK OF ISOLATED STRUCTURAL DAMAGE IN THE MOST VULNERABLE LOCATIONS. SEVERE BEACH EROSION IS EXPECTED...ESPECIALLY IN SUCH LOCATIONS AS PLUM ISLAND...PLYMOUTH...NORTH SIDE OF CAPE COD FROM SANDWICH TO EASTHAM...CHATHAM AREA...AND PORTIONS OF THE NANTUCKET SHORELINE INCLUDING THE SIASCONSET AREA. TOTAL WATER LEVELS SHOULD BE A LITTLE LESS FOR THE LATE AFTERNOON HIGH TIDE...BUT WAVES WILL LIKELY BE A FEW FEET HIGHER. WE ARE ANTICIPATING IMPACTS FROM THE LATE AFTERNOON HIGH TIDE TO BE COMPARABLE TO OR A LITTLE LESS THAN THE MORNING HIGH TIDE IN MOST AREAS. HOWEVER...THE IMPACTS ALONG THE CAPE COD NORTH SHORE INCLUDING THE SANDWICH...BARNSTABLE...DENNIS AND EASTHAM SHORELINE WILL LIKELY BE SOMEWHAT GREATER THAN THE EARLY MORNING HIGH TIDE. COASTAL FLOODING AND EROSION IN THE CHATHAM AND NANTUCKET AREAS WILL LIKELY BE AT LEAST AS SIGNIFICANT AS WHAT OCCURRED DURING THE PRIOR TIDE. AND ALONG THE ENTIRE EAST COAST OF MASSACHUSETTS...THE LATE AFTERNOON HIGH TIDE COULD COMPOUND ANY DAMAGE EXPERIENCED DURING THE PRIOR HIGH TIDE.
The snow, of course, is still pouring down. The deepest official snow report so far is 30 inches in Framingham, Mass, with many reports of more than 20 inches from Massachusetts, Long Island, eastern Connecticut, Rhode Island and coastal New Hampshire and Maine.
With heavy snow continuing and with Boston already up to 18 inches at last check, the city could break its all time record single storm snowfall of 27.6 inches. And a report of a four foot snow depth from eastern New England is not out of the question by the time this is done.
There continues to be a hue and cry in the media over the fact that New York City did not nearly get as much snow as forecast.
Yes, forecasters should not have so easily dismissed the American computer models in favor of the snowier European computer forecasting models, which up until now have had a better reputation for accuracy (Earned or unearned)
And yes, the media hyped the storm, based on the forecast for New York. But as the Washington Post notes, people are all pissy about this in New York.
Here's one typical comment on Twitter:
"After NY-based media inundates rest of U.S with blizzard-mania & blizzard becomes bust, no wonder media not trusted and unwanted."
Since so much of major media is headquartered in New York, the general feeling you get is that since the blizzard didn't happen in New York City, it didn't happen at all.
Tell that to people in Boston, Framingham, Marshfield and Hull, Massachusetts and out in Islip, Long Island.
As to be expected, the least helpful comment about the blizzard and the botched forecast came from Donald Trump, who tweeted: "President Obama, our great leader, wants to declare martial law in New York City as a means of helping out with the 'massive' storm."
Um, is Trump the only person on the planet who thinks Obama wanted to declare marshall law because of the blizzard? Oh I get it. Everything that goes wrong is Obama's fault. And the gays. Always the gays.
Comedian Louis CK chimed in on the storm as well, and he made a good point: Why was the storm called "historic" yesterday when it hadn't even happened yet? The point being, aren't historic events by definition be things that happened in the past?
I'm a little gun shy at this point of forecasting other storms coming along when this one isn't done yet. As last night's missed New York forecast snows, you shouldn't insist that other big storms are coming
But, lighter snows are likely with a weaker storm due to cross the Northeast Friday, at least as it stands now.
Plus, there's the possibility, JUST the possibility of another nor'easter that could dump many more inches of snow on New England next Monday. That storm certainly won't be as bad as this one, and there's still a very decent chance the Monday storm won't happen at all.
I just want to throw it out there, just so you know in case it does happen.
But we'll have to get through this storm first. Easy for me to say, since so far at my perch at St. Albans, in far northwestern Vermont, I'd gotten no snow until about noon today.
Now, there's a little light snow falling, and there was a report of heavy snow in Montpelier and Morrisville, in central Vermont.
It's gotten windy, too, with gusts to 30 mph and temperatures, not including the wind chill, hovering around 10 degrees. It's a raw, raw, raw day out there.
But at least I won't have to spend the entire day in that weather shoveling three feet of snow. Three inches later today, at most, so that's not bad.
Next some good videos:
Here's what things looked like in Plymouth, Mass this morning:
From Storm Chasing Video, here's Boston early this morning: