What is a nor’easter?

Posted at 11:51 AM, Oct 16, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-16 13:26:11-04

NEW YORK — Another nor’easter is expected to make its way into the tri-state area roughly seven days after the first one brushed the coast last week.

Watches, warnings and advisories have already been issued ahead of the Wednesday storm that is expected to bring heavy downpours that could total in excess of 2 inches to as much as 3 inches and strong winds nearing 50 mph.

What is a nor’easter?

A nor’easter is a storm that travels along the East Coast of North America. The winds generally travel northeastward and attain maximum intensity near the New England and Canadian regions, according to the National Weather Service.

Nor’easters tend to develop between Georgia and New Jersey. 

The heavily populated region between Washington D.C., Philadelphia, New York and Boston, the “I-95 Corridor,” is especially impacted by nor’easters.

What makes a storm a nor’easter?

Many associate nor’easters as a winter event, but they can occur at any time of the year. The most frequent and most violent nor’easters typically occur between September and April.

Nor’easters almost always bring precipitation in the form of heavy rain or snow, according to NWS. The storms can cause severe coastal flooding, blizzard-like conditions, coastal erosion and hurricane-force winds.

During the winter season, low pressure systems that move up the East Coast intensify due to cold arctic air and collides with warmer waters of the Gulf Stream.

Past nor’easters have been responsible for billions of dollars worth of damage. One of the most memorable include the Great Blizzard of 1888. The storm is noted to be one of the most severe recorded blizzards in American history. The March storm dropped over 40 inches of snow and killed over 400 people, with about 200 in New York City alone.