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Blizzard of 2013

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HQA's picture
Blizzard of 2013

While this was a significant snow for the Boston area, at dawn it looks like about a foot of snow fell overnight.  The weather service predicts another 4-6" before the storm ends this afternoon. More troublesome was the wind, which has caused some drifting of the snow.  Our parking lot was cleared this morning and I expect the plower to return at the end of the storm.  I'll get out about noon and shovel the sidewalks.

We never lost any power at HQ (I think last year's cutting down of the large trees across the road that were intertwined with the power lines was a good idea!).  It would not have affected our web site in any case, since we now run everything from the Cloud.

It was interesting yesterday afternoon, as Boston took the possible bad storm seriously and closed everything down.  Pictures on the evening news showed vacant freeways, something that NEVER happens in Boston!  That will help snow removal today, and I'll bet things will be pretty much back to normal tomorrow.

It is supposed to be clear tonight (but not good for observing, with probable blowing snow).  In Flagstaff, it was always clear after a big snowstorm, but the seeing was usually horrible as the winds came in from the north (low pressure to the east) and that caused severe atmospheric turbulence.  It usually took a day or so for the snow to slide off of the domes anyway.  One of the things I noticed when moving to Boston was how little snow this city got in comparison to Flagstaff.  However, what snow Boston gets is a real mess; usually wet and heavy and inside the city, very little free ground to pile the snow.

I hope others in the U.S. northeastern corridor fared well!


WGR's picture
Blizzard of 2013

Good Morning

Looks like we had 4 inches here on Nantucket  (My wife, daughters, and grand daughters are at Disney world--great timing).  Hope it clears tonight.  Still very windy.  The dome banged all nite.  Lots of rain yesterday.  Still raining at midnight.  If it was all snow, we would have 3 feet.

Gary W


weo's picture
more snow

Here in Arlington/Belmont (3 miles west of AAVSO HQ), we have 27" of snow on the ground from the current storm and it's still snowing hard as the last bands of intense snow come through. Good thing it's Saturday and HQ is closed...  


WGR's picture
Pics from Nantucket: Maria Mitchell Obs

Had a very important errand this morning:  Did a photo journal:


Pics 200, 201, & 202:  Inside Vestal Observatory--yes I have snow also.

Pic 203:  Classic Photo

Pic 204:  3/8 inch of ice and freezing rain, but I had an important errand to run.

Pic 205:  Loines Observatory is ok

Pic 206:  Vestal Observatory is ok,

Pic 207:  Yes, about that important errand.  Now I can start my day.



lmk's picture
Blizz of '78 still rules!

Sounds like the weather folks over-promised and under-delivered as usual... Seems nothing like the Feb '78 storm that crippled Boston for several days. I was a college student living on Memorial drive then, and could ski down the street on top of the abandoned cars for a few days :) Global warming, I guess.

Mike LMK

Aaron Price
Aaron Price's picture
blizzard of '78

Officially, Boston got 25 inches and it is listed as the 6th largest snow fall in its recorded history. However, Boston officially measures its climatic records at Logan airport - which is on an island in the middle of relatively warm harbor waters. So the official measurements are usually too warm and too light (in snow) compared to what most people who live there get.

My house was a scant 1.5 miles southwest of AAVSO HQ (and maybe 1 mile further from the shore) yet I remember numerous times when snow fall would turn to rain as I drove to work. There are serious microclimates in Boston - something we don't see here in Chicago.

I don't think this one was overhyped. It didn't qualify as a blizzard, technically, but the snowfall amounts matched expectations and lots of people were without power. The biggest difference in the last 35 years is in the rapid cleanup.

HQA's picture
HQ snow

final tally at HQ was about 19-20 inches (50cm), based on several measures.  Some of the difference between this and the airport (25 inches) is probably due to the warm conditions at the start of our snow, with the first few inches melting almost immediately.

As Aaron said, this was a major snowstorm for the Boston area, very similar to the 1978 storm (a couple of inches either way really doesn't mean much).  This storm, however, was predicted nearly a week in advance, giving local communities time to prepare, and the city shut down by Friday afternoon, giving cleanup crews easy access to the roads.  I just drove up to New Hampshire on I-93 and the roads were dry; on Friday evening, there was a plow going by headquarters nearly every minute.

Beautiful sunny day today!  Rain tomorrow!  Welcome to New England!


HTY's picture
'78 vs '13

Having been here for the blizzard of 1978, there were two other differences between the two storms.  First, in addition to the greater warning that was given for this one, it was here and gone relatively quickly in 24 hours or less.  In 1978, the storm stalled just south of Nantucket and lasted more than two days.

Second, this storm delivered the bulk of its snow on Friday night and Saturday morning here in Connecticut when roads were relatively empty thus there were few auto strandings.  The 1978 storm arrived mid-week and got intense quickly during the middle of the business day and the road were clogged with commuters trying to get home really hindereing the snow removal effort during the storm.

Here in Connecticut, the snowfall totals in the south central part of the state exceeded those of the 1978 storm.  However the combination of early warning, timing and proactive mitigation by the local governments lessened the impact.  That being said, my brother is still stuck in his apartment building because of waist deep snow in his parking lot because the contractors with light pickup trucks cannot handle this volume of snow and the nurses and aides at my mother's nursing home are going into their third day of duty because replacements are having a hard time getting out of their local streets to get to the facility.  The major roads are clear but many secondary local roads with 3 feet of snow haven't been plowed at all. 

...Tim (HTY)

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