Significant Nor’easter To Impact East Coast

The Clipper That Impacted South Dakota Becomes Nor'easter

The Clipper system that brought us rain and snow last night is on track to produce a foot of snow or more to parts of New England, as well as wind gusts up to 70-80mph. But what exactly is a Nor’easter?

A Nor’easter is a low pressure system that travels north along the east coast bringing strong winds, out of the northeast, plenty of snow or rain and can cause coastal erosion. Those strong northeast winds are how these low pressure systems, like this one, got the name Nor’easter.

Clipper moving through South Dakota, Saturday

Following the jet stream, the Clipper system moved in and out of South Dakota last night and into the Midwest today. Still in a cooler air mass, it doesn’t have a lot of moisture associated with it and is still a relatively weak low pressure system. However, continuing to ride along the jet, the Clipper will soon be entering into warmer air which will allow it to deepen or gain strength. The red L represents where the low pressure system will be at the surface.

Clipper location Sunday afternoon

Nor’easter early Tuesday morning

Hugging the coast and following the warmer air, the deepening low, now a Nor’easter, will pull a lot of moisture from the Atlantic Ocean and drop it onto coastal cities along the New England coast. Because colder air will be following behind the Nor’easter, that moisture off the ocean will turn to snow and fall starting Monday morning through Wednesday night.
The strong winds and amble amount of moisture has already prompted winter storm and blizzard warnings stretching from New Jersey north through Maine.

Winter Storm (pink)/Blizzard Warning (orange), NWS Boston

Text product regarding Winter Storm/Blizzard Warning

The east coast has seen plenty of Nor’easters however, there are few that are most notable. The Great Blizzard of 1888, which dropped 40-50″ of snow and killed 400 people, the 1991 Perfect Storm, a Nor’easter combined with a hurricane and caused 13 deaths and the remnants of Hurricane or Superstorm Sandy took on traits of a Nor’easter producing 2-3 feet of snow in parts of West Virginia. 

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