The Blizzard of 2015 took its toll on New England this week. While New Yorkers saw lighter snowfall than expected — the city was bracing for extreme conditions and even closed the subway for the first time ever — Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut were hit hard by extreme snow and wind. Boston and the surrounding metro area were hard hit. The entire vacation island of Nantucket was left in the dark after hurricane-force winds knocked out power.
Just take a look at these extreme snowfall totals:
- Towns in Middlesex County, Massachusetts were hammered: Hudson got 36 inches, while 34 inches fell in North Billerica, Acton and Littleton!
- In Worchester County, Massachusetts, got socked with a record-setting 36 inches!
- Hampton, Seabrook, and Salem, New Hampshire, measured 31 inches
- Thompson, Connecticut received 33.5 inches
- Suffolk County New York was hit with 30 inches in Orient and 29 inches in Southampton!
States of emergency were declared in New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island. During the blizzard, about 7,500 flights were canceled across the Northeast corridor and Amtrak’s Northeast Regional and Acela Express service between New York and Boston were suspended.
The storm destroyed sea walls in Scituate, Massachusetts, flooding areas nearby with five feet of water. The town cut power to prevent fires, and National Guard troops were sent in to help evacuate affected areas.
— 28storms.com (@28storms) January 28, 2015
Officially, the National Weather Service defines a blizzard as a storm with large amounts of snow or blowing snow with winds exceeding 35 mph and visibility less than 1/4 mile for at least 3 hours.
This type of storm system, called a nor’easter, typically occurs from November through March, bringing heavy rain, significant snowfall, and blustery winds across the Eastern seaboard, from the Carolinas to Maine. The storm undergoes rapid strengthening, an event known to meteorologists as “bombing,” drawing in even more moisture into the storm.
This dense moisture rotates around the low into the colder air northwest of the system, where clouds and precipitation develop. The origin of the name nor’easter comes from this wind direction. As the storm gathers strength along the East Coast, winds rotate in a counter-clockwise direction, generating a northeast wind around the north side of the storm.