Peak travel hit by peak weather pain as holidays arrive » Yale Climate Connections

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The final phase of the 2022 U.S. Holiday pre-holiday storm began on Friday, December 23, one of the busiest travel days of the year. Frigid air blanketed most of the northern, central and eastern United States, enveloping a winter storm that intensified in southeastern Canada.

The storm created one of the largest flooding events in Lake Erie history, paralyzing the Buffalo, New York area and closing the international bridge between the United States and Canada.

Winds atop Mount Washington, New Hampshire, reached 147 mph at 8:10 a.m. Friday. Severe winds swept across the Arctic front, causing power outages across much of the mid-Atlantic and northeastern Atlantic, and massive coastal flooding in New England.

As of Friday afternoon, reported an outage affecting more than 1.5 million customers in the US and nearly 400,000 in Canada.

Parts of the Pacific Northwest were grappling with sheets of ice left by Friday’s freezing rains as Pacific moisture continued to flow over the cold surface air.

Even where snowfall stopped in the Midwest, high winds continued to cause blizzards and near-blizzard conditions in many areas.

The primetime sportscaster from Iowa, who filled in coverage of the pre-dawn Blizzard, went viral on Thursday with his understandable but dry comical wail.

Buffalo besieged: bitter cold, heavy snow, 70 mph gusts, zero visibility, flooding of Lake Erie

Severe winds from blizzards generated huge waves over 20 feet across all Great Lakes, flooding shorelines and creating dangerous conditions for ships.

The worst floods occurred on the east shore of Lake Erie in Buffalo, New York. The blizzard’s powerful winds blew from the southwest at 35 to 55 mph along the length of Lake Erie for much of Friday, with lake waves peaking in excess of 20 feet on Friday. The same high winds brought the lowest water levels on record towards the western edge of the lake.

Beginning at 8:06 a.m. ET on Friday, wind speeds at Buffalo Airport exceeded 30 mph. They remained in the 33-46 mph range until the afternoon, with gusts reaching 70 mph.79.4 mph wind gusts Recorded Friday morning on the shores of Lake Buffalo.

Strong winds brought temperatures to a frigid 10 degrees Fahrenheit on Friday afternoon and heavy snowfall reduced visibility to zero for several hours.

These winds have not only brought a lake-like heavy snowfall, expected to reach four to five feet by Saturday afternoon, but have also piled up Lake Erie waters along its eastern shore and caused moderate flooding in Buffalo. caused it. According to NOAA, the lake rose more than 8 feet on Friday, reaching its eighth-highest level on record, 1.67 feet below the record set on Dec. 2, 1985, according to NOAA.

Heavy snow also fell on the Ohio coast along Lake Erie. Whiteout conditions led to a pile-up of his 50 vehicles on the Ohio Turnpike on Friday afternoon, killing one person and closing the road in both directions.

Coastal Floods and Large Waves Hit Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern US

Strong winds as high as 75 mph impacted coastal waters in the mid-Atlantic and northeastern United States, bringing waves over 22 feet off the coast of Maine and storm surges up to 3 feet on the coast.

In Portland, Maine, water levels reached their fourth-highest on record Friday morning, just below the record set during the 1978 blizzard.

In western Maine and New Hampshire, flash floods and light to moderate river flooding spurred worsening weather, with torrential rains of one foot to three inches dropping up to a foot of snow and melting snow.

During Friday morning’s high tide cycle, damaging coastal flooding was observed along hundreds of miles of coastline in the mid-Atlantic and northeastern United States, from the Chesapeake Bay to western Maine. Storm surge barriers protecting Providence, Rhode Island and New Bedford, Massachusetts were activated to prevent storm surge damage in those cities.

Many stations recorded high water levels within the top 10 on record (using a list recently updated in 2018). Some notable flood trails:

Portland, Maine: Moderate flood, fourth highest on record (until 1912).
Boston, Massachusetts: minor flood, 9th Highest on record (recorded until 1921).
Woods Hole, Massachusetts: minor flood, 7th Highest on record (recorded until 1932).
Newport, Rhode Island: minor flood, 7th Highest on record (recorded until 1930).
New London, Connecticut: moderate flooding, 8th Highest on record (recorded until 1938).
Bridgeport, Connecticut: moderate flooding, 6th Highest on record (recorded until 1964).
Montauk, New York: moderate flooding, 6th Highest on record (recorded until 1947).
Sandy Hook, New Jersey: Deluge, 10th Highest on record (recorded until 1932).
Boston, Massachusetts: moderate flooding, 8th Highest on record (recorded until 1921).
Atlantic City, New Jersey: Moderate flooding, not top 10 water levels.
Cape May, New Jersey: Moderate flooding, not top 10 water levels.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Moderate flooding, not top 10 water levels.When
Chesapeake Bay, Maryland (Bishop’s Head): Deluge, 10th Highest on record (record until 2005).

Top 10 coastal floods are becoming more common as sea levels rise due to man-made global warming. See graphic embedded in tweet below. It is based on storm surge data (a storm surge at the peak of an astronomical tide) from Fort Point Sound near downtown Boston Harbor. The highest peak shown occurred on January 4, 2018.

A21st– Fewer than 20 Arctic epidemics this centuryth– Landmark of the century

Many observatories in the central and northern Great Plains failed to exceed 0 degrees Fahrenheit on Thursday, and overnight lows were much cooler on Thursday and Friday. The dramatic temperature drop observed shifted south and east on Thursday and Friday.

In Nashville, Tennessee, temperatures dropped from 45 degrees Fahrenheit at 8 p.m. Thursday to 1 degree Fahrenheit by 7 a.m. Friday. It was the coldest temperature in the city since February 5, 1996.

Yet even Nashville’s -1°F couldn’t come close to the -8°F daily record set on December 23, 1989. 20 colder climatesth Century (including the pre-holiday extreme cold spells of 1983, 1989, and 1990).

Research continues into the extent to which the amplified warming observed in the Arctic may be contributing to the prevalence of occasional jet stream distortions that lead to extreme cold in the United States and elsewhere. I’m here. On the other hand, the north and mid-latitudes appear to be headed for milder winters, which of course does not rule out the possibility of continued destructive cold snaps, whatever the cause.

The Twitter thread below contains observations and links from scientists on both sides of this ongoing debate. (See also this week’s Yale Climate Connections post and New York Times topic overview.)

Mild weather could persist for some time beyond Arctic outbreak

Cold air intensified and the eastern third of the country was expected to cool well after Christmas, but long-range forecast models show most regions will experience significant warming by the end of the year weekend. was suggested.

Northerly currents at the surface and upper levels that pushed Arctic air into the US will be largely displaced in a few days by moderate westerly currents from the Pacific Ocean.

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