Tuesday Reads: Blizzard of 2015 and Other News

A pedestrian crosses Beacon Street in Boston as a large snowstorm approaches New England on Monday, January 26, 2015. Staff photo by Christopher Evans

A pedestrian crosses Beacon Street in Boston as a large snowstorm approaches New England on Monday, January 26, 2015. Staff photo by Christopher Evans

Good Morning!!

As of late last night we didn’t have much snow where I live, but this morning there’s at least a foot out there if not more. The town hasn’t even plowed my street yet, so it looks like a sea of white and you can’t tell there’s a road there at all. The snow is piled up against the storm door, so I’ll either have to dig out gradually while pushing the door outward or try to get out through the garage. We are still expecting at least another foot today before the storm passes.

I can’t really complain so far. I’m warm and dry and I have electricity. I feel for the people along the coast and on the islands. Here in Massachusetts, Nantucket and parts of Cape Cod have lost power.  Nantucket had 78 mph winds last night. In Scituate, which is on the South Shore, “officials cut power to homes along ocean,” 

SCITUATE, Mass. (WHDH) –Town officials in Scituate cut power to several coastal roads because they fear, if an electrical fire sparks inside a home it could easily spread to several homes and fire crews wouldn’t be able to access it during high tide.

It was a precaution based of a similar storm in 2010 that destroyed two houses.

“We’re doing it for this storm, because experience has told us, the power company  needs lots of advance notice to power down an area, we expect significant flooding in this area,” Scituate Town Administrator Patricia Vinchesi said.

“There are no mandatory evacuations permitted in MA, that’s why can only ask people to voluntarily leave,” Vinchesi said.

I feel for those people. The temperature where I live was in the single numbers last night and it’s only in the teens right now.

Orion (L) walks through Central Park after a snowstorm hit New York January 27, 2015 ©Stan Honda (AFP)

Orion (L) walks through Central Park after a snowstorm hit New York January 27, 2015 ©Stan Honda (AFP)

 

You can watch the storm track live at NBCNews.com. Here’s the latest on the storm, according to NBC.

Coastal New England was battered Tuesday by a blizzard of blinding snow, ferocious waves and winds that topped hurricane speed, and city streets in Boston were empty of all but snowplows.

New York City, New Jersey and parts of Connecticut lifted travel bans, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo said subways and buses in the nation’s largest city would roll again later in the morning. But major airports in the Northeast were still deserted after more than 7,700 flights were canceled.

In Massachusetts, the blizzard was living up to its historic billing. The city of Worcester, about 60 miles west of Boston, had 25 inches of snow on the ground and was closing in on its record of 32.1 as a band of extremely heavy snow settled in for the morning.

In Boston proper:

Mayor Marty Walsh of Boston said it could still be Tuesday night or Wednesday before mass transit starts rolling again there. In the meantime, police were ferrying doctors and nurses to their hospital shifts.

“We’ve had a pretty good night, but the main bulk of the storm is hitting us right now,” Walsh of Boston said on NBC’s TODAY. “We’re asking people just to stay in their homes today and just ride this one out.”

Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island were all under states of emergency as of early this morning. Apparently the storm was somewhat of a bust in NYC, with only about 6 inches in Central Park and not much more predicted.

From USA Today: Mighty storm hammers Northeast; NYC ‘dodges bullet.’

A mighty storm marched resolutely across the deserted streets of the Northeast early Tuesday, showing mercy on New York City and Philadelphia but relentlessly pounding Boston and many coastal areas with heavy snow, high winds and flooding.

More than 50 million people were hunkered down in the angry storm’s path. More than 7,000 flights were canceled, road travel was banned in several states and schools were closed for millions of kids.

The storm was forecast to continue roaring through much of the region into Wednesday, although forecasters were downgrading the potential impact in some areas. The National Weather Service said the storm tracked 50 to 75 miles further east than expected.

“It’s a case of haves and have nots,” AccuWeather meteorologist Tyler Roys told USA TODAY on Tuesday. “The worst of it is in the coastal areas. Other places have been relatively spared.”

Philadelphia, which on Monday morning appeared to be vulnerable to huge snow totals, had about an inch downtown early Tuesday. A blizzard warning was canceled for New York City and New Jersey.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio opened city streets to traffic Tuesday morning, and the subway system was being brought up to speed. The city had feared a blast of 20 inches of snow or more; Central Park had almost 8 inches Tuesday morning.

“This is a better-safe-than-sorry scenario,” de Blasio said on CNN Tuesday morning. “It is still very bad on the streets … but we dodged a bullet.”

Here’s another NBC News page with live updates on transportation delays and road closings.

For the real weather geeks, here’s an article from The Boston Globe on How and Why Nor’easters Form.

One question you might ask during this major storm is how and why did this form? If you saw a forecast as recently as Friday, meteorologists thought this storm would stay mostly out to sea, obviously that isn’t the case. Let me explain why the storm formed and then why it’s hitting and moving so slowly.

It’s important to keep this in mind when thinking about a storm. It’s all about nature’s attempt to bring balance to the atmosphere. Storms try to blend cold and warm air together to make them even. Once this happens, a storm will weaken and die. As the storm is forming the contrast in air masses is at it’s most intense. We are seeing nature’s attempt to bring warm air north and cold air south, the result is an intense coastal storm, we call a nor’easter.

Noreaster

You have likely heard of the jet stream. This is the band of winds at 30,000 feet that moves storms and air masses across the middle latitudes of the planet where we live. This jet stream doesn’t blow in a straight line. Instead it has curves and loops and these change the way the air flows within this stream of air. Basic meteorology tells us that if the air up at 30,000 feet is spreading out and speeding up it in turn aids in pulling the air upward off the surface of the planet. We call these concepts diffluence and divergence and they are two major components to why winter storms form. That upward motion or lift brings the air from the ground higher and higher until it cools and forms clouds and eventually precipitation. The more lift you have, the bigger the storm.

upperlevel12814

When storms are formed and becoming more intense all the levels of the atmosphere work in tandem to help build the storm.

Read much more wonky stuff about weather at the link.

So that’s the winter weather situation as of this morning. If you are in one of the affected states, please let us know how you’re doing.

In other news,

I’m going stick with headlines this morning, because I’m still fighting a cold and I didn’t sleep that well last night. Here’s what’s happening:

Washington Post, Koch-backed network aims to spend nearly $1 billion on 2016 elections.

Politico, The Kochs put a price on 2016: $889 million.

Via Cannonfire, an interview  with Max Blumenthal at The Read News about the lies in the movie American Sniper, American Sniper: Honoring a Fallen Hero or Whitewashing a Murderous Occupation?

AL.com, Alabama’s first openly gay lawmaker threatens to ‘out’ officials having extramarital affairs.

The Hill, Pelosi: With Hillary Clinton, Democrats can win the House.

Something very creepy out of Indiana, Gov. Mike Pence’s state-run news outlet will compete with media. “Gov. Mike Pence is starting a state-run taxpayer-funded news outlet that will make pre-written news stories available to Indiana media, as well as sometimes break news about his administration, according to documents obtained by The Indianapolis Star.” Yikes!

Interesting developments in Greece.

The Guardian, Greece’s new anti-austerity government set on collision course with Brussels.

The New Yorker, Greece’s Warning to the Rest of Europe.

NPR, Greece’s Left-Wing Prime Minister Takes Charge.

Fox News, Bergdahl to be charged with desertion, ex-military intel officer says.

Washington Post, Former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling convicted in leak case.

Talking Points Memo, Jon Stewart Has Field Day With Incomprehensible Palin Speech (VIDEO).

What else is happening? Please share your links in the comment thread and enjoy your Tuesday!