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Blockbuster East Coast Storm of December 19-20, 2009-12-20

By Joe D'Aleo
Monday, December 28, 2009


The storm approached New England on the cusp of the winter solstice, having already caused flooding in South Florida and knocked out electricity for more than 85,000 customers in the Carolinas on Friday. On Saturday, it dropped 16 inches of snow on Reagan National Airport outside Washington - the most ever recorded there for a single December day since snowfall records began in 1884. The storm total snowfall of 16.4 inches of snowfall on Decmber 18-19, 2009 marks the 6th highest two-day snowfall record for Washington, DC, putting it just below the president/s day storm in 2003 and ahead of the January 1996 storm. For the month so far...a total of 16.6 inches of snow has been recorded at DCA. This makes it the snowiest December on record for Washington DC (previous record was 16.2 in 1962).

Not far away in Baltimore, the 20.5 inches of snow measured yesterday will go down as the fifth highest daily snowfall on any calendar day at Baltimore since snowfall records began in 1893. The storm total snowfall of 21.0 inches of snowfall on December 18-19, 2009 marks the 6th highest two-day snowfall record for Baltimore. For the month so far...a total of 22.2 inches of snow has been recorded at BWI. This makes it the snowiest December on record for Baltimore (previous record was 20.4 inches in 1966).



It was the second heaviest snowfall ever for Philadelphia. The 23.2 inches of snow that fell during the nor'easter in Philadelphia is the second highest snowfall for any single event ever. The record still is 30.7 inches set during the January Blizzard in 1996.

The mayors of Washington and Philadelphia and the governors of Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, Maryland and Delaware all declared states of emergency.



See satellite image of snow in Mid-Atlantic Sunday, December 20, 2009


In New York City, Central Park reported 10.9 inches of snow and NY JFK airport 14.2 inches. It was much heavier on Long Island where many locations received over 20 inches.

On Long Island, a record maximum single storm snowfall set at Brookhaven National Laboratory...The final snowfall total for the blizzard at Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton NY was 26.3 inches. This sets a new record maximum single storm snowfall for the lab. The old record was 23.0 inches...set during the blizzard of February 1978. Records have been kept at the lab since 1949.



Snow in eastern Long Island. Photo of Joseph Amabile, age 2.


The storm was in part due to the active southern storm track typical of El Nino and a very anomalous arctic oscillation related to that polar mid-tropospheric to stratospheric warming we wrote about a few weeks back. Here is an updated view of that cross section.


Note the warming in red corresponds to the dip to off the chart in the AO graph just under the cross section.



On a daily basis this month, you can see that AO dropped to 5 standard deviations negative as of December 20th.



A strongly negative AO is what caused the cold to dump into the US, Europe, Siberia and China.

Here is what the radar looked like early on Saturday (blues are snow).




Here is a list of locations in the east with over 10 inches of snow from this storm:


...DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA..
THE MALL 16
Reagan Airport 16.4
Dulles Airport 16.6

MARYLAND 
...ALLEGANY COUNTY...
CUMBERLAND 1 SSE 14.5
FROSTBURG 13
...ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY...
ANNAPOLIS 20.8
OWINGS 1 NNE 20
GLEN BURNIE 19.5
MILLERSVILLE 18
GAMBRILLS 1 NW 18
PAROLE 1 NNW 17
BALT-WASH INTL ARPT 16
RIVA 2 NW 15
...BALTIMORE COUNTY...
CATONSVILLE 20.5
GUNPOWDER 1 WSW 20.5
PARKTON 20
DUNDALK 1 SSW 19.5
MONKTON 19
GARRISON 1 SE 18.4
HAMPTON 1 W 18
HUNT VALLEY 17.5
JACKSONVILLE 17
RANDALLSTOWN 1 NW 16.5
PARKVILLE 1 ENE 12
...CALVERT COUNTY...
DARES BEACH 3 NW 19
HUNTINGTOWN 3 S 17
...CARROLL COUNTY...
LINEBORO 3 WSW 20
WESTMINSTER 1 N 18.8
LINEBORO 2 E 18.5
...CHARLES COUNTY...
BRYANS ROAD 2 ESE 19.2
WALDORF 4 SE 13.5
...FREDERICK COUNTY...
LIBERTYTOWN 2 N 22.5
NEW MARKET 2 NW 22
JEFFERSON 2 NE 20.2
NEW MARKET 20
WALKERSVILLE 19
...HARFORD COUNTY...
EDGEWOOD 19
FALLSTON 1 N 18
BEL AIR 1 NE 16.5
BEL AIR 16
...HOWARD COUNTY...
COLUMBIA 2 N 21.2
SIMPSONVILLE 1 SSE 21.1
ELKRIDGE 2 W 20
HANOVER 19
ELLICOTT CITY 1 ESE 16.8
SAVAGE 1 N 16
DANIELS 1 W 12
...MONTGOMERY COUNTY...
BETHESDA 23
DERWOOD 23
OLNEY 1 S 22.5
OLNEY 22
GAITHERSBURG 1 NW 22
GERMANTOWN 22
ROCKVILLE 2 NW 21
GLENMONT 21
COLESVILLE 21
DAMASCUS 20.3
FAIRLAND 1 ESE 20
ROCKVILLE 1 SSW 20
BETHESDA 2 NNW 20
DARNESTOWN 1 SW 19
GAITHERSBURG 19
NORBECK 1 SE 18.9
GERMANTOWN 3 E 16.5
...PRINCE GEORGES COUNTY. ..
BOWIE 2 NNW 19
BOWIE 18.8
BOWIE 3 NNW 18.5
BOWIE 1 SSE 18.5
HYATTSVILLE 18
FOREST HEIGHTS 1 SSE 17
ADELPHI 1 ENE 12.5
...ST. MARYS COUNTY...
HOLLYWOOD 14.5
HOLLYWOOD 1 NNE 13.8
...WASHINGTON COUNTY...
SMITHSBURG 21
HANCOCK 16


 

VIRGINIA 
...ALBEMARLE COUNTY...
CROZET 22
...ARLINGTON COUNTY...
ARLINGTON 20.5
BALLSTON 1 SW 18.5
REAGAN NATIONAL AIRP 16.3
...AUGUSTA COUNTY...
STUARTS DRAFT 28.8
FISHERSVILLE 26
...CITY OF ALEXANDRIA...
ALEXANDRIA 19
ALEXANDRIA 1 SE 15
...CITY OF CHARLOTTESVILL E...
CHARLOTTESVILLE 21
...CITY OF WAYNESBORO...
WAYNESBORO 28
...CLARKE COUNTY...
BERRYVILLE 1 NW 22
BERRYVILLE 22
BERRYVILLE 2 NE 21
...FAIRFAX COUNTY...
CENTREVILLE 1 SE 23
GREAT FALLS 21.7
VIENNA 20.5
RESTON 20
CHANTILLY 3 SE 20
RESTON 2 N 20
CHANTILLY 1 N 19.5
BURKE 1 NNW 19.5
RAVENSWORTH 17.5
...FAUQUIER COUNTY...
OPAL 21.5
MARSHALL 19
BEALETON 1 ESE 18
...FREDERICK COUNTY...
WHITACRE 1 ESE 19
STEPHENS CITY 2 E 18.5
WINCHESTER 5 NE 17.8
...GREENE COUNTY...
RUCKERSVILLE 1 W 19.5
MCMULLEN 16.5
...LOUDOUN COUNTY...
BLUEMONT 21
ASHBURN 19
LOVETTSVILLE 19
ARCOLA 1 SSW 18.5
...NELSON COUNTY...
WINTERGREEN 30
...PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY. ..
WOOLSEY 3 NNW 19.3
MANASSAS 1 ESE 15
...ROCKINGHAM COUNTY...
MASSANUTTEN 1 SE 20.5
...SHENANDOAH COUNTY...
TOMS BROOK 3 SSE 17.5
...SPOTSYLVANIA COUNTY...
BELMONT 4 SE 19
CHANCELLORSVILLE 4 S 18.5
...WARREN COUNTY...
LINDEN 2 N 26.8
FRONT ROYAL 1 ENE 21

WEST VIRGINIA 
...BERKELEY COUNTY...
VANVILLE 1 SSW 21
MARTINSBURG 20
GERRARDSTOWN 19.5
FALLING WATERS 2 N 19.5
BUNKER HILL 1 WNW 19
GERRARDSTOWN 1 ESE 14.5
...HAMPSHIRE COUNTY...
SPRINGFIELD 22
LEHEW 2 WNW 20
CAPON BRIDGE 6 SW 19
...JEFFERSON COUNTY...
SHENANDOAH JUNCTION 20
...MINERAL COUNTY...
KEYSER 21

DELAWARE 
...KENT COUNTY...
DOVER 18
FELTON 13
...NEW CASTLE COUNTY...
BEAR 17
WILMINGTON 17
CLAYMONT 16.3
NEWARK 16.1
WILMINGTON 15
NEWPORT 13

MARYLAND 
...CAROLINE COUNTY...
GREENSBORO 17.5
...CECIL COUNTY...
COLORA 17.5
...KENT COUNTY...
MILLINGTON 22
...QUEEN ANNE`S COUNTY...
CENTREVILLE 13
...TALBOT COUNTY...
EASTON 12
SAINT MICHAELS 10.5

NEW JERSEY
...ATLANTIC COUNTY...
FOLSOM 25.7
HAMMONTON 22
GALLOWAY 18
ATLANTIC CITY 12.1
PLEASANTVILLE 12.1
ESTELL MANOR 12
...BURLINGTON COUNTY...
TABERNACLE 24.8
MEDFORD 24
SOUTHAMPTON 21.4
MEDFORD LAKES 21
WILLINGBORO 19.6
CINNAMINSON 19.2
MOORESTOWN 19
WESTAMPTON 17.7
BURLINGTON 17.5
BORDENTOWN 17
PEMBERTON 17
MOUNT HOLLY NWS 16.6
WRIGHTSTOWN 16
DELRAN 15
...CAMDEN COUNTY...
ATCO 24
BERLIN PARK 22.5
ATCO 22
BLACKWOOD 22
MERCHANTVILLE 22
SICKLERVILLE 22
LINDENWOLD 21.5
MERCHANTVILLE 20
STRATFORD 20
CHERRY HILL 19.5
SOMERDALE 18.5
PENNSAUKEN 18.1
ERIAL 17.5
WINSLOW 14
...CAPE MAY COUNTY...
ELDORA 18.3
SEAVILLE 11.5
DENNISVILLE 10
...CUMBERLAND COUNTY...
NEWPORT 24
VINELAND 23.6
SHILOH 20
CEDARVILLE 19
BRIDGETON 16
...GLOUCESTER COUNTY...
SWEDESBORO 25
NATIONAL PARK 23.2
SEWELL 22.5
FRANKLINVILLE 22
MALAGA 22
MONROEVILLE 22
TURNERSVILLE 20.5
CROSS KEYS 19
TURNERSVILLE 19
FRANKLINVILLE 17
GIBBSTOWN 17
...HUNTERDON COUNTY...
FLEMINGTON 10.3
...MERCER COUNTY...
HAMILTON PARK 15.7
HAMILTON SQUARE 14
HIGHTSTOWN 12
LAWRENCEVILLE 12
PRINCETON 12
HOPEWELL 12
ROBBINSVILLE 10.5
EWING 10
...MIDDLESEX COUNTY...
EAST BRUNSWICK 12.5
CRANBURY 12
METUCHEN 10
NORTH BRUNSWICK 10
...MONMOUTH COUNTY...
COLTS NECK 22.5
WAYSIDE 19
RED BANK 17.5
MORGANVILLE 17
NEPTUNE CITY 17
CREAM RIDGE 15.8
FAIR HAVEN 14
HOLMDEL 14
MANALAPAN 14
LONG BRANCH 11
...MORRIS COUNTY...
WHIPPANY 10
...OCEAN COUNTY...
JACKSON#OCEAN 23.5
BRICKTOWN 22
SHIP BOTTOM 21
TOMS RIVER 21
POINT PLEASANT BEACH 20.5
HOLIDAY CITY 20
SURF CITY 20
BEACHWOOD 18.5
BAYVILLE 17.5
BROOKVILLE 16
WHITING 16
MANAHAWKIN 14.5
FORKED RIVER 14
POINT PLEASANT 14
LANOKA HARBOR 13
...SALEM COUNTY...
PITTSGROVE 23.5
...SOMERSET COUNTY...
BRANCHBURG 12
BRIDGEWATER 10

PENNSYLVANIA 
...BERKS COUNTY...
MAPLE GROVE 10
...BUCKS COUNTY...
FEASTERVILLE 13.8
BENSALEM 12.5
RICHBORO 11.5
NEWTOWN 11.4
FURLONG 11.2
BENSALEM 11
WARRINGTON 11
MORRISVILLE 10.2
...CHESTER COUNTY...
WEST CALN 19.3
EXTON 16.3
WEST CHESTER 15.4
EAST NANTMEAL 15
DOWNINGTOWN 14
EXTON 11
HONEY BROOK 10
...DELAWARE COUNTY...
SHARON HILL 23
FOLCROFT 19
UPPER CHICHESTER 18
CLIFTON HEIGHTS 16.7
DREXEL HILL 16
SWARTHMORE 14.8
...MONTGOMERY COUNTY...
ROCKLEDGE 16.5
WYNNEWOOD 16.5
KING OF PRUSSIA 14.2
ROYERSFORD 14.2
WILLOW GROVE 13.3
ABINGTON 13.2
TRAPPE 12.6
ELKINS PARK 11.3
ELKINS PARK 11.3
MONTGOMERYVILLE 11
EAGLEVILLE 10
KULPSVILLE 10
...PHILADELPHIA COUNTY...
PHILADELPHIA 23.2
PHILADELPHIA 18.3
SOMERTON 10.5

CONNECTICUT 
...FAIRFIELD COUNTY...
DARIEN 10.5
NEW CANAAN 10
...MIDDLESEX COUNTY...
CLINTON 20
HADDAM 14
MIDDLETOWN 12
OLD SAYBROOK 12
...NEW HAVEN COUNTY...
NORTH BRANFORD 12
NEW HAVEN 10.5
MILFORD 10
...NEW LONDON COUNTY.. .
OLD LYME 20
MONTVILLE 19
NORWICH 17
GROTON 16
NORTH FRANKLIN 15
COLCHESTER 14
GROTON LONG POINT 13
NEW LONDON 12
LISBON 11

NEW JERSEY
...ESSEX COUNTY...
NEWARK 11.2
...HUDSON COUNTY...
JERSEY CITY 10
...PASSAIC COUNTY...
CLIFTON 11
RINGWOOD 10
...UNION COUNTY...
ELIZABETH 11
CLARK 10
WESTFIELD 10

NEW YORK 
...KINGS COUNTY...
SHEEPSHEAD BAY 13.2
BROOKLYN 11.8
...NASSAU COUNTY...
PLAINVIEW 15.2
BETHPAGE 14.4
SEAFORD 14
FLORAL PARK 13.5
LIDO BEACH 13.5
MINEOLA 13.4
LONG BEACH 12.5
...NEW YORK COUNTY...
NYC/CENTRAL PARK 10.9
...QUEENS COUNTY...
NYC/JFK ARPT 14.2
...SUFFOLK COUNTY...
HOLTSVILLE 25
UPTON 24.9
BRIDGEHAMPTON 24
MOUNT SINAI 24
SOUTHAMPTON 23
RIVERHEAD 21
RONKONKOMA 20.5
ISLIP 20.3
SAG HARBOR 20
SAYVILLE 19.8
LINDENHURST 19.5
PATCHOGUE 19
HOLBROOK 18.5
COMMACK 18.2
MEDFORD 18
PORT JEFFERSON 18
...WESTCHESTER COUNTY...
PORT CHESTER 11.5
LARCHMONT 10
HASTINGS-ON-HUDSON 9
YONKERS 8.5

RHODE ISLAND 
...BRISTOL COUNTY...
BARRINGTON 16
...KENT COUNTY...
WEST GREENWICH 22
COVENTRY 17
WEST WARWICK 17
WARWICK 10.5
...NEWPORT COUNTY...
NEWPORT 19.5
PORTSMOUTH 18
MIDDLETOWN 16
LITTLE COMPTON 14
...PROVIDENCE COUNTY...
NORTH FOSTER 17.1
HOPE 17
CRANSTON 16
NORTH SCITUATE 16
CUMBERLAND 15.9
RIVERSIDE 15
SMITHFIELD 13
...WASHINGTON COUNTY...
BLOCK ISLAND 18
SOUTH KINGSTOWN 18
WESTERLY 18
CHARLESTOWN 17.5

CONNECTICUT
...TOLLAND COUNTY...
STORRS 15
MANSFIELD 14.5
TOLLAND 10
...WINDHAM COUNTY...
PUTNAM 18
DANIELSON 13.5
WOODSTOCK 13
HAMPTON 12
POMFRET 10.3

MASSACHUSETTS 
...BARNSTABLE COUNTY.. .
SANDWICH 16
WEST FALMOUTH 15
BREWSTER 14
EAST FALMOUTH 14
YARMOUTH 14
BOURNE 13.5
WEST HARWICH 12.5
HARWICH 11
...BRISTOL COUNTY...
MANSFIELD 19
WEST ISLAND 15.5
ATTLEBOROUGH CITY 15
ACUSHNET 14.8
DIGHTON 14
NORTH ATTLEBOROUGH 14
SOMERSET 13
SOUTH DARTMOUTH 13
NORTON 12.5
TAUNTON 11.9
REHOBOTH 10.3
...ESSEX COUNTY...
BEVERLY 12
MARBLEHEAD 12
PEABODY 10.5
...MIDDLESEX COUNTY...
WAYLAND 11.5
CAMBRIDGE 11
FRAMINGHAM 11
MALDEN 11
NORTH READING 10
WOBURN 10
...NORFOLK COUNTY...
FRANKLIN 14
FOXBOROUGH 13.2
MILTON 11
WALPOLE 10.5
MILLIS 10
NORWOOD 10
...PLYMOUTH COUNTY...
WEST WAREHAM 16
HALIFAX 15
LAKEVILLE 15
MIDDLEBOROUGH 15
WAREHAM 15
WHITE HORSE BEACH 12
HANSON 11.4
HINGHAM 11
PLYMPTON 10.5
...SUFFOLK COUNTY...
JAMAICA PLAIN 14
...WORCESTER COUNTY...
MENDON 17
CLINTON 14.9
MILFORD 12
UXBRIDGE 12
WEBSTER 12
GRAFTON 11
NORTH GRAFTON 10


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