Archive for December 29, 2010


Well, I’m back in Virginia Beach but I wanted to post my first hand experience of the incredible blizzard that hit the New York City area. I realize that this was a very significant snowstorm for Hampton Roads. However, the severity of this storm up north was much worse and its impacts are long lasting. The snow started falling mid-day on Sunday and slowly but surely increased in its intensity throughout the afternoon reaching near blizzard conditions by evening. The snow was falling at a rate of 3 inches per hour during the height of the storm reducing visibilities drastically. Winds increased causing blowing and drifting of the snow. Thunder and lightning were also reported in some areas. The snow ended early Monday morning. The heaviest snow fell in a band that extended from the Hudson Valley of NY state down to the Jersey shore.

I was in the city of Bayonne, NJ. Bayonne is located just west of NYC along the Upper-New York Bay. This area was basically ground zero for the heaviest accumulation of snow. Approximately 30 inches fell in Bayonne with much higher amounts found in the snow drifts which buried cars making them disappear into the snowy abyss. Note that Central Park in NYC reported less snow, so you can’t go by that when measuring the magnitude of this storm in Northern NJ. Manhattan was on the eastern edge of the heavy band that set up during the storm. We had trouble opening the front door of my in-laws home due to a snow drift. It took my wife and I many hours to dig out our car. Two way streets that were normally two lanes were reduced to one lane making driving very challenging. Also, there was no place to put the snow as Bayonne is a very densely populated city. My in-laws don’t have a driveway so we had to park on the street. What is frustrating about that is the fact that once you dig out your car and pull out, someone else can park there in your spot. Then, when you return, you may not be able to find a parking spot anywhere. We didn’t have that problem since after we pulled out, we were going to Philadelphia.

On Tuesday, just over 24 hours after the last flakes fell, the NJ Turnpike was very clear considering the severity of this storm. Philly only received around a foot of snow so conditions weren’t that bad there. In my opinion, this storm rivaled the 1996 blizzard which was the worst storm in my 40 years living in NJ. The low pressure system that caused the blizzard was a very intense system. The pressure was similar to pressures found in major hurricanes. Coastal flooding was an issue in parts of New England. Everything had to come together just right to create this monster storm. Warm most air coming up from the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic, an upper-level disturbance diving southeast in a fast moving jet stream and a low pressure along a frontal boundary are three of the major ingredients that caused this storm to be so severe. I returned home to Va Beach today (Wednesday) and I was relieved that we were able to get back unlike so many air travelers that are still stuck up there. Well, that’s it for now. I’ll have a post on the weather to come on Thursday morning. Be careful driving on the secondary roads especially at night and in the morning. Thanks for reading.

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