coastal flooding caused by a nor'easter - NOAA

What is a noreaster?

A "nor'easter" is an intense low pressure area that forms in the winter along the east coast of the Unites States, producing strong northeasterly winds, along with heavy snowfall and rainfall.

The east coast of the U.S. is a favored region for winter storm formation because it is where cold Canadian air masses meet the relatively warmer air over the North Atlantic Ocean. If an upper air disturbance approaches the area from the west during these conditions, this especially intense form of extratropical cyclone can develop.

These storms often travel up along the coast, eventually affecting the entire eastern seaboard. Persistent strong northeasterly winds north and northeast of the cyclone center can cause substantial beach erosion and damage to houses along the coast due to large waves and high water levels that result from the ocean water being piled up against the shoreline by the wind.

The nor'easter is typically followed by unusually cold weather as the cold Canadian high pressure area that helped create the strong winds moves into the region.
Interesting facts:
THE PERFECT STORM The 2000 movie "Perfect Storm", which starred George Clooney, was based upon the true story of a swordfishing boat, the Andrea Gail, that was caught in an intense nor'easter in October 1991.

[check out our latest SNOWSTORM! forecast and current snow depths].

(page last updated 12/5/2010)
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