How Much Do You Know About Nor’easters?

You've probably heard of the term, but how much do you know about these storms?

You’ve probably heard of the term, especially if you live in an area where Nor’easters are predicted, but how much do you know about these storms?

1. Nor’easters get their names because of the strong northeast winds that blow during these storms.

True. According to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) web site, “A nor’easter is a cyclonic storm that moves along the east coast of North America. It’s called “nor’easter” because the winds over coastal areas blow from a northeasterly direction.”

2. A Nor’easter only occurs during the winter.

False. Nor’easters can occur any time throughout the year but are most frequent between September and April.

3. Nor’easters can cause high winds and flooding along the coast and heavy snow/blizzard conditions inland.

True. In addition to heavy snow and rain, nor’easters can bring gale force winds greater than 58 miles per hour. These storms can produce rough seas, coastal flooding and beach erosion.

4. Nor’easters usually develop between Georgia and New Jersey coastlines and generally move north or northeastward.

True. According to NOAA, “The east coast of North America provides an ideal breeding ground for nor’easters.  During winter, the polar jet stream transports cold Arctic air southward across the plains of Canada and the U.S., and eastward toward the Atlantic Ocean, as warm air from the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic tries to move northward. The warm waters of the Gulf Stream help keep the coastal waters relatively mild during the winter, which in turn helps warm the cold winter air over the water. This difference in temperature between the warm air over the water and cold Arctic air over the land is the area where nor’easters are born.”

Photo of Saco, Maine home damaged by the Patriot’s Day Nor’easter, April 2007, courtesy of
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