Historic Nor'easter pounds Mid-Atlantic coast

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:55 PM GMT op 12 november 2009

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A historic Nor'easter, energized by the remains of Hurricane Ida, is pounding the coast form North Carolina to New Jersey with heavy rain, tropical storm-force winds, and a destructive storm surge. Wind gusts of 64 mph were reported at the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel and at Cape Henry, VA this morning. The high winds, combined with the slow movement of the Nor'easter are acting to push near-record storm surges onto the coast in Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware. At Norfolk, Virginia, the storm surge from Ida-ex was 5.0 feet at 10 am EST, the third highest storm surge there since tide gauge records began in 1927. Only Hurricane Isabel in 2003 and the Chesapeake-Atlantic Hurricane of 1933 have brought higher storm surges to Norfolk. Serious coastal flooding is occurring from northern North Carolina to the Delaware/New Jersey border, and the storm surge at Lewes Point, Delaware at 10 am this morning was 4.0 feet, just below the record high of 4.17' set during the January 4, 1992 Nor'easter. Tide records go back to 1919 at Lewes Point.


Figure 1. The Ida-ex Nor'easter at 9:31 am EST 11/12/09. Image credit: NASA/GSFC.

The highest storm surges on record at the Sewell's Point tide gauge in Norfolk, Virginia are:

5.62' Sep 2003 Hurricane Isabel
5.61' Aug 1933 Chesapeake-Atlantic Hurricane
5.00' Nov 2009 Ida-ex
4.73' Sep 1933 Hurricane 13, Cat 1
4.66' Mar 1962 Ash Wednesday Nor'easter
4.05' Sep 1936 Hurricane 13, Cat 2

And the highest water levels, measured above Mean Lower Low Water (MLLW, the lowest tide measured in a full 19-year natural tidal cycle):

1933 hurricane (Aug 23rd 1933)..............8.9 feet MLLW
April 11th 1956 Nor'easter..................8.0 feet MLLW
Hurricane Isabel (Sep 18th 2003)............7.9 feet MLLW
Ash Wednesday storm (Mar 7th 1962)..........7.8 feet MLLW

The water level during high tide this morning at 5 am EST reached 6.7' MLLW in Norfolk at Sewell's Point, but the storm surge of Ida-ex has increased by a full foot since then. The next high tide at 5 pm may see water levels near 8.2 feet. The tremendous amount of rain Ida-ex is dumping over the coast is adding to the storm surge, since the drainage of the rivers into the coastal bays raises the water level above what the wind pushes in.


Figure 2. Predicted storm tide (height above Mean Lower Low Water (MLLW, the lowest tide measured in a full 19-year natural tidal cycle, black line) for Sewell's Point, Virgina in Norfolk, as predicted by the GFS model. A storm tide of 8.0 feet is forecast this afternoon during the 5 pm EST high tide. For a full description of this plot, see the NOAA Extratropical Surge web site.


Figure 3. Tide gauge trace from the Sewell's Point gauge in Norfolk, VA, shows a storm surge of 5 feet (green line) at 10 am EST, and a maximum tide of 6.7 feet above MLLW so far today. Image credit: NOAA Tides and Currents.


Figure 4. Radar-estimated rainfall from the Norfolk radar shows a large area of 4 - 5 inches of rainfall over coastal Virginia and North Carolina. The band of very high rainfall amounts of 5 - 8 inches shown in the northeast part of the radar display is not real; rainfall amounts in that region have been closer to 2 - 4 inches. The error results because at that distance from the radar, the beam is about 8,000 feet above the ground, and is hitting a "bright band" of highly reflective precipitation, where snow is melting and forming rain. The highly reflective rain/snow area reflects much more of the radar beam back, making the software algorithm used to estimate precipitation amounts fail.

You can follow the storm today with our Severe Weather Page.

Jeff Masters

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781. OuterBanker
11:29 PM GMT op 13 november 2009
Posted 10 pictures from Ida-ex.
Member Since: 8 augustus 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 39
780. STORMKILLER007
6:53 PM GMT op 13 november 2009

NE-wxguy --get up off the floor for a few seconds--also floodman hear ye hear ye hear ye yesterday at about 5-30 pm a hp was put over viginia city pressure was under 995. 6-7 hrs later, pressure was 999.9. also virginia bch reported--no rain--overcast---also goes east showed it clearing. this morning was even
better. i am confident that you are both
honorable men--so you , please check it out
and you tell me what happened. note--in the
8 yrs that i have been involved in weather
modification- (EXCEPT IN BERTHA WHEN THE WEATHER MAN SAID--I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO SAY ANYMORE--THIS STORM DEFIES REASON) I have never had a weatherman,who did not have a reason, why something that should have
happened, did not happen. remember that!
ps--when you are ready--and i can break free--
time wise--if you are interested--i will give
you the reason why bertha was the longest
lasting hurricane, on record for that time of
year---i have about 130+ pages of documentation, on bertha,that i did myself.
you will find it very interesting by for now
779. winter123
6:35 PM GMT op 13 november 2009
Quoting P451:


If it did this...would anyone be surprised given what we've witnessed the past 7 days? I sure wouldn't. I would practically expect it at this point. Ida is a fighter like none other.



ida is hurricane screw it lets just trash florida again! (Omg if i get banned for this I'll... I mean this is an image about hurricanes. I dunno where the mods draw their lines, and how they have no souls to understand non-weather images to make simple humor.)
Member Since: 29 juli 2006 Posts: 28 Comments: 1802
778. winter123
6:27 PM GMT op 13 november 2009
Quoting PcolaDan:


50 hmm it'll come to me ... 50, when was that


Non-weather related image. BAN! (I mean come on, my images are always at least relevant to the discussion and i've been banned twice, like a plate of crow at this storm's landfall, but he's permitted to post annoying animated smileys?)
Member Since: 29 juli 2006 Posts: 28 Comments: 1802
777. TampaSpin
5:37 PM GMT op 13 november 2009
What a perfect XtraTropical system x IDA is ...she is trying to wrap some around the center. Incredible storm.

OUTER BANKS BEATING Tropical Update
Member Since: 2 september 2007 Posts: 179 Comments: 20448
776. nrtiwlnvragn
4:27 PM GMT op 13 november 2009
New Blog
Member Since: 23 september 2005 Posts: 14 Comments: 11281
773. VAbeachhurricanes
4:25 PM GMT op 13 november 2009
Quoting P451:



http://weather.hawaii.edu/satellite/


You can get up to 48 hours. They're pretty systems intensive though.

Once you're on one of the 12hr loop pages, at the bottom are multiple pulldown menus to up it to 48.

Be prepared to wait..a couple of minutes for such to load and play.



thanks :)
Member Since: 6 september 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6672
769. VAbeachhurricanes
4:18 PM GMT op 13 november 2009
Quoting P451:
Virginia to New England: Look at the northern side of this storm. Convection deepening and rotating into the coast. If it holds together it could prove to be a very nasty day from SE Virginia to SE Mass.

12 HR IR LOOP



looks like a strengthening storm to me... and where do you get the 12hr loops from p?
Member Since: 6 september 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6672
765. VAbeachhurricanes
4:09 PM GMT op 13 november 2009
Quoting StormW:


That looks like SRM or Storm Relative Motion doppler channel. Also known as Storm Relative Velocity. One of the main tools we use to detect MESO's and TVS. Green shows winds blowing inbound to the radar site, reds and oranges show winds outbound from the radar site.

Generally, where deep or bright reds, and greens or blue are touching side by side, this indicates counterclockwise rotation in a relatively small area.

It would help out a little better to know if that is SRM or Radial Velocity channel.


and it is the base radial velocity channel
Member Since: 6 september 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6672
764. VAbeachhurricanes
4:07 PM GMT op 13 november 2009
Quoting StormW:


That's SRM or Storm Relative Motion doppler channel. Also known as Storm Relative Velocity. One of the main tools we use to detect MESO's and TVS. Green shows winds blowing inbound to the radar site, reds and oranges show winds outbound from the radar site.

Generally, where deep or bright reds, and greens or blue are touching side by side, this indicates counterclockwise rotation in a relatively small area.


thanks :), can it be used to tell how strong straight line winds are? like could this band knock down more trees?
Member Since: 6 september 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6672
762. VAbeachhurricanes
4:04 PM GMT op 13 november 2009
Quoting ElConando:


The mid Atlantic would be under water.



the erosion that this current storm did, if it cycled around the water could go miles inland...
Member Since: 6 september 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6672
761. ElConando
4:03 PM GMT op 13 november 2009
Quoting P451:


If it did this...would anyone be surprised given what we've witnessed the past 7 days? I sure wouldn't. I would practically expect it at this point. Ida is a fighter like none other.



The mid Atlantic would be under water.
Member Since: 6 september 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 3782
760. hurricanejunky
4:02 PM GMT op 13 november 2009
The hydromet is showing 65 mph winds and 995mb pressure. Sounds like it's strengthening and moving SE. Hmmm
Member Since: 28 augustus 2006 Posts: 6 Comments: 2899
759. VAbeachhurricanes
4:01 PM GMT op 13 november 2009


anyone know how to read this map... tell me how much wind is in this band?
Member Since: 6 september 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6672
758. hurricanejunky
4:01 PM GMT op 13 november 2009
That thing (ex-Ida) is CRAZY. Looks like it's starting to wrap convection back around the COC again. What is the model consensus right now? The Hydromet issued the last advisory. Why is that? Will it go back to NHC if it gets back down toward FL and could it revert back to warm core or is that even possible?
Member Since: 28 augustus 2006 Posts: 6 Comments: 2899
757. VAbeachhurricanes
3:58 PM GMT op 13 november 2009
Quoting outdrsmn:
Tides are still running 4 to 5 feet above normal. Even though they say the water is retreating I think it is just tidal. Except for a foot or so off of peak, I think the water will come back on the next high tide in about 7 hours. Glouster Poquoson and Fox Hill. The Norfolk, Va. Beach, Suffolk side of the bay will see much of the same.

With the storm center looking to drift SE the chances of a quick drawdown from NW winds isn't going to happen.

Up here on the Chickahominy river high tide is just peaking and the water is just as high as the last. Heard they evacuated portions of one neighborhood just down river last night. Diascund creek over flowed and closed Rt 60. That hasn't happened in about 15 years, even Isabel didn't do it.


isabel wasnt much of a rain maker though, but the tidal flooding can be compared, its incredible.
Member Since: 6 september 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6672
756. outdrsmn
3:55 PM GMT op 13 november 2009
Tides are still running 4 to 5 feet above normal. Even though they say the water is retreating I think it is just tidal. Except for a foot or so off of peak, I think the water will come back on the next high tide in about 7 hours. Glouster Poquoson and Fox Hill. The Norfolk, Va. Beach, Suffolk side of the bay will see much of the same.

With the storm center looking to drift SE the chances of a quick drawdown from NW winds isn't going to happen.

Up here on the Chickahominy river high tide is just peaking and the water is just as high as the last. Heard they evacuated portions of one neighborhood just down river last night. Diascund creek over flowed and closed Rt 60. That hasn't happened in about 15 years, even Isabel didn't do it.
755. 21N71W
3:49 PM GMT op 13 november 2009
Good Morning all,
I know this is not the current AOI but one of the Turks and Caicos PWS has a very low pressure reading..:
28.9 °C
Scattered Clouds
Humidity: 78%
Dew Point: 24 °C
Wind: 20.9 km/h / 5.8 m/s from the SSW
Wind Gust: 27.4 km/h
Pressure: 1006.7 hPa (Steady)
Heat Index: 34 °C
Member Since: 1 augustus 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 180
754. nrtiwlnvragn
3:41 PM GMT op 13 november 2009
Quoting lawntonlookers:
A question just came to me pertaining to the Chesapeake Bay and Delaware Bay with the high tides and winds. Would this have any affect on the saline content of the upper portion of the bays.


Some of these bouys have salinity, you can monitor them, such as this one.
Member Since: 23 september 2005 Posts: 14 Comments: 11281
753. VAbeachhurricanes
3:29 PM GMT op 13 november 2009
Quoting lawntonlookers:
A question just came to me pertaining to the Chesapeake Bay and Delaware Bay with the high tides and winds. Would this have any affect on the saline content of the upper portion of the bays.



yes, it would make the percentage higher, but you have to remember alot of fresh rain water is also running off into the bay therefore the change will be neglegable
Member Since: 6 september 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6672
752. VAbeachhurricanes
3:27 PM GMT op 13 november 2009
Quoting P451:


half of my neighborhood is out...
Member Since: 6 september 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6672
751. lawntonlookers
3:26 PM GMT op 13 november 2009
A question just came to me pertaining to the Chesapeake Bay and Delaware Bay with the high tides and winds. Would this have any affect on the saline content of the upper portion of the bays.
Member Since: 22 maart 2006 Posts: 9 Comments: 1570
750. VAbeachhurricanes
3:26 PM GMT op 13 november 2009
Quoting watchingnva:


hey vabeach, your from yorktown?...hows glouchester point fairing?...i heard they were having to evacuate some people from Gloucester county this am...reason i ask is i got a hard headed grandfather who lives on his 42' sailboat down at one of the small marinas in Gloucester county...and i haven't heard a word from him this week...i might be making a trip down there today if he doesn't get in touch with me before noon today...



there was pretty bad flooding up there at gloucester point, but the winds probably didn't get above 35-40 knots so if he was anchored down in the dock, he should be ok.
Member Since: 6 september 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6672
748. watchingnva
3:23 PM GMT op 13 november 2009
Quoting VAbeachhurricanes:
Just what we need... more rain...



hey vabeach, your from yorktown?...hows glouchester point fairing?...i heard they were having to evacuate some people from Gloucester county this am...reason i ask is i got a hard headed grandfather who lives on his 42' sailboat down at one of the small marinas in Gloucester county...and i haven't heard a word from him this week...i might be making a trip down there today if he doesn't get in touch with me before noon today...
Member Since: 7 september 2005 Posts: 7 Comments: 1517
747. presslord
3:18 PM GMT op 13 november 2009
I'm to be on a call with Glocester County and Poqouson Town officials shortly...just spoke with Poqouson Town manager briefly....much flooding...tho receding...and wide spread power outages...
Member Since: 13 augustus 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10492
746. TheCaneWhisperer
3:17 PM GMT op 13 november 2009
Quoting hurricanejunky:


WOW! That would be some kind of scenario, huh? Let's hope not for the sake of the currently afflicted areas. They don't need a repeat performance!



He He. IDA is poised to make as big of difference she can, somewhere somehow. Like you, it would not surprise me a bit.
745. largeeyes
3:10 PM GMT op 13 november 2009
If that happened, you could be looking at Floyd-Lite like flooding in eastern NC. Lets hope not.
Member Since: 22 augustus 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 1462
744. largeeyes
3:03 PM GMT op 13 november 2009
Oh hell no, that isn't going to happen. That shows really tight isobars over us in about 1 weeks time. That's when I fly out on my honeymoon daggumit!
Member Since: 22 augustus 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 1462
743. VAbeachhurricanes
2:59 PM GMT op 13 november 2009
Just what we need... more rain...

Member Since: 6 september 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6672
742. NEwxguy
2:51 PM GMT op 13 november 2009
P451,lets hope that scenario doesn't come to pass,last thing the people on the east coast need is an encore performance.
Member Since: 6 september 2007 Posts: 886 Comments: 15952
740. hurricanejunky
2:46 PM GMT op 13 november 2009
Quoting P451:


If it did this...would anyone be surprised given what we've witnessed the past 7 days? I sure wouldn't. I would practically expect it at this point. Ida is a fighter like none other.



WOW! That would be some kind of scenario, huh? Let's hope not for the sake of the currently afflicted areas. They don't need a repeat performance!
Member Since: 28 augustus 2006 Posts: 6 Comments: 2899
738. Patrap
2:40 PM GMT op 13 november 2009
Member Since: 3 juli 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 129093
735. KitchenGypsy
2:20 PM GMT op 13 november 2009
good mornin all! alright, I warned you last night that I'd be reposting this:
as far as getting in touch with me, WU-mail me saying you've got answers to my questions and leave your number, and I'll give you a call. this is the time for everyone to raid their phone book! even if you're not in the area, think of the people you may know that are, we'd love to come help them. any community organizations, or even your church. the first phase of disaster response is networking! lets get creative, so we can go help some people!
734. overthehillsurfer
2:20 PM GMT op 13 november 2009
Quoting P451:
So overall we had some damaged traffic lights, some large tree limbs down (weakened ones no doubt) and some moderate coastal flooding (some coastal routes were closed and most were overtopped with sand and surf.

I lived in Rumson and Sea Bright during the late 50s and early 60s and remember well the storms and hurricanes that hit the area. I had a huge tree in our backyard that was uprooted but my treehouse lived thru it! I started surfing the after-surf of these storms in the 60s so your updates really bring back the memories. Thanks again! And keep up the good work!
733. overthehillsurfer
2:16 PM GMT op 13 november 2009
Quoting P451:
Good Morning. Long Branch NJ 745am. 8-12 footers. I'm standing about 10' above the surf on a seawall so the camera is about 15' above the surf. It's a cheap camera so the perspective is off - the surf is bigger than it seems.

3 minute video



Judging by the cresting waves way offshore I BELIEVE YOUR ESTIMATION!! Nice shot and nice update.
732. BrowardJeff
2:12 PM GMT op 13 november 2009
On my way to work.
Dominion Electric is reporting 156,439 accounts still without power.
Last night, we were calculating at an average of 3 people per account, which would mean ~450,000 individuals.
Member Since: 30 augustus 2008 Posts: 5 Comments: 938
731. NEwxguy
2:03 PM GMT op 13 november 2009
Even though this thing is expected to move east out to sea,its going to set up a pretty good flow off the Atlantic for us here in southern New England to give us a good 1-3 inches of rain.Nothing like the mid-atlantic,but still a pretty miserable day tomorrow here in eastern Mass and the cape and islands.
Member Since: 6 september 2007 Posts: 886 Comments: 15952

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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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