Monday, October 31, 2011

Historic October Northeast storm: Epic. Incredible. Downright ridiculous.

By Andrew Freedman
Perhaps no combination of superlatives could do justice to the historic snowstorm that delivered a crippling wallop to parts of the mid-Atlantic and Northeast over the weekend. Widely referred to by its social media moniker, “Snowtober,” the storm smashed records that had stood since the beginning of the reliable instrument record in the late 1800s (and in some cases, even longer than that), and upended assumptions about what a fall nor’easter can do. The heavy, wet snow pasted onto trees still bearing foliage in many areas and weighed down power lines, knocking out power to at least three million people in the region.

The paralyzing storm overturned generations of commonly held wisdom that held that the first big snows don’t normally come before Thanksgiving for most areas, certainly not prior to Halloween. Late last week, as computer models began to lock onto a snowy forecast scenario, many meteorologists (including those of us at CWG) struggled with believing what the computers were projecting, given its unprecedented nature.

Coming in the midst of what is already one of the most extreme years in American weather history, the Snowtober event had a greater impact in some states than August’s much-hyped Tropical Storm Irene. It was the snowstorm, not Irene, which caused the largest power outage in Connecticut history, for example.

To put the storm into its proper meteorological context, consider these snowy facts. The storm brought thundersnow to New York City shortly past lunchtime on Saturday, October 29, before the city had even recorded its first freeze. Central Park received 2.9 inches of snow, with up to six inches falling in the Bronx. This was the only time in recorded history that an inch or more of snow has fallen in Central Park during the month of October. The combination of the heavy, wet snow and high winds damaged or destroyed hundreds of trees in the city. The New York Times reported that up to a thousand trees in Central Park could be lost due to storm-related damage. Read More

(Rolling Stone) Wingnut Watch: October Snow Ends Climate Change Debate It's snowing in October – so, sorry, that pretty much sews up the case against climate change. How could the planet be warming if it's getting colder? Thus, the logic of Fox News Eric Bolling, who tweeted ...