Nor’easter Has Arrived

Snow at Schloss Bodissey, February 2006

Somewhere there are people betting on the final accumulation from this storm now — at last — upon us. Or they’re making book on which area ends up with the most snow. Or, like the Baron, they’re outside putting up markers to indicate the final depth at their own house.

[A thing one might like to know about the Baron: he’s an excellent jury-rigger. In this case, he has taken my garden dolly (used to haul bags of soil amendments and such during the other three seasons of the year) and marked it with bright pink masking tape at various measured intervals. It has been placed so as to be visible from the kitchen window and securely weighted down with a heavy rock taken from the garden border. Now, instead of traipsing outside to a sheltered area to measure, he has only to look out the window to see at one glance the depth of our misery accumulation here at Schloss Bodissey.]

Weather definitions are a good use of Wikipedia. It’s difficult to politically polarize (no pun intended) set meteorological events — in this case, “nor’easter”. Which is why a wiki can be invaluable in this case, yet so utterly useless and out of its depth in other areas.

The most recent example came from someone in the comments who mentioned the citation of the Center for Security Policy as a source of information. Unaware of Wikipedia’s infamous reputation as a leftist mouthpiece, he cited its dismissive commentary on CSP.

According to the Wikipedia entry, CSP is not to be trusted. Why? Because it has fought (successfully) to establish the truth of CAIR as a Muslim taqiyya operation, and earned a special place of honor for being the first foundation courageous enough to call out Grover Norquist, an American soi-disant “conservative” who uses his connections with powerful people “inside the Beltway” (the inner ring of roadways nearest The Capitol) to funnel Muslim Brotherhood operatives into positions of influence within the permanent federal bureaucracy.

Thus, Wikipedia is worse than useless for those of us on the right side of the political spectrum. At the same time, it is invaluable for (non-politicized) scientific information. I wouldn’t trust its views on our polarized “climate change” but when it comes to describing the science behind a thousand other things, there is no better quick source. I bracket the politics of Wikipedia and use its definitions to inform/remind/clarify for myself on a myriad of subjects.

And so we come to the wiki about what is coming our way in the next forty-ish hours:


A nor’easter (also northeaster; see below) is a macro-scale storm along the upper East Coast of the United States and Atlantic Canada; it gets its name from the direction the wind is coming in from the storm. The wind on land, therefore, will generally blow from the northeast.

The usage of the term in North America comes from the wind associated with many different types of storms, some of which can form in the North Atlantic Ocean and some of which form as far south as the Gulf of Mexico. The term is most often used in the coastal areas of New England and the Mid-Atlantic states.[my emphasis — D]

A nor’easter is a low pressure area that often passes just off the New England and southeast Canada Atlantic coastline. Winds in the left-forward quadrant rotate onto land from the northeast. The precipitation pattern is similar to that of other extratropical storms. Nor’easters can cause severe coastal flooding, coastal erosion, hurricane-force winds or blizzard conditions; these conditions are usually accompanied with very heavy rain or snow, depending on when the storm occurs.

Nor’easters thrive on the converging air masses; that is, the polar cold air mass and the warmer oceanic air over the Gulf Stream.

In the present case, unlike the more typical nor’easters, this “Winter Storm ‘Jonas’” has been pulled up to the mid-Atlantic coast from the Gulf, but instead of moving along to New England where it belongs, the sturm-und-drang is going to settle its big fat behind right down in the mid-Atlantic states, with only the barest fingers reaching as far as New York. It could spread a bit into Pennsylvania but the usual victims — New York City and New England — will have the pleasure of being mere spectators. However the coastlines — e.g., Long Island and such — will experience tidal surges associated with the outlying winds.

The largest cities to be hit are as far north as Washington D.C. and Baltimore, Maryland. For certain they will both be paralyzed, messy, and frozen. There are sure to be a few idjits who insist on getting out in their four-wheel-drive vehicles to see how far they can get before turning around — or attempting to turn around — to head for home.

It is during these storms when I feel sorry for police and emergency crews: they have to tend to the consequences of the idjits, not to mention the babies who will insist on being born. There are not yet any fetal forecasts allowing them to make more informed decisions.

For Schloss Bodissey the big questions are (a) when will we lose power? and (b) how long will we be ‘out’? We don’t live in an area of “sure snow” but rather in the place where there can often be a divide marked “mixed precipitation”, i.e., rain, sleet, ice and snow: inches and feet of ‘snizzle’. Things are sure to be dicey: the National Weather Service has posted helpful directions on how to measure ice accumulation. However, it appears that for this storm the ice divide is further south — as in “fifty miles further south”. Ugh. That’s a bit close for comfort.

Those of our readers who have been around for a while know that a few years back we used the proceeds from one of our quarterly fund raisers to install a gas line and traded in our electric stove for a gas cooker. Now, when it’s blowy and snowy outside and electric lines running down the mountain are struck by trees or overloaded with ice, we still have warmth. (Yes, of course we’re careful about carbon monoxide build-up.) The only downside to the stove is the slight amount of heat the pilot lights give off in August. But that’s a small price to pay for heat in January!

It could be that no trees fall on the electric lines, nor any ice weigh them down. And it could be the snow is so dry that none of it melts into the terminals (or whatever they’re called) carrying our cyberspace connectivity via the phone lines. Given our experience, those are two rather large conditionals for this situation. Some estimates are for thirty+ inches of snow in the next forty-eight hours…

There is always the chance of learning something new, isn’t there? Until a few days ago I had no idea there were people who made their living as “agricultural forecasters”. Vineyards, farmers, landscapers, etc., need accuracy year round in order to protect their cattle, crops, and customers’ expensive shrubbery. It won’t surprise you to learn that these agricultural meteorologists have a much better track record than the governmental trackers. The latter get paid whether or not they’re accurate whereas the agricultural forecasters can only stay in business if they’ve accumulated a record of stellar accuracy. Thus, this time, while the national weather service was saying Richmond would have rain, or that Richmond would receive six inches of snow, the agricultural fellow was sneering at their folly, calling for two feet of snow in Richmond.

He uses a combination of the “European” model, GFS, and something from Canada called the RGEM, to concoct a brew which usually tracks reality — though with the usual provisos. And sure enough, as time went on the governmental weather guys began to hew closer to his ideas.

No, I have no idea what the various ‘models’ are but here is a good site for a variety of explanations of Atlantic phenomena. The science-minded among us — and there are lots of you — may enjoy reading the differences among and between those meteorological representations. Once beyond Global Forecast System (GFS), I’m lost. That’s when I look to the agricultural forecaster in central Virginia.

Time to start a pot of soup, eh?

34 thoughts on “Nor’easter Has Arrived

  1. Anyone who still thinks humans didn’t trigger these climate change is [someone with whom I completely disagree]. Let’s put that “assumption” aside for a minute and come from a different angle. How can anyone not expect climate change to happen given the amount of raw chemical change human behavior has factually brought to earth. Maybe its just me but it seems unfathomable that these change are not directly linked to observed temperature changes, acidification of the oceans and increased new storm and temperature records.

    This is denying the obvious and in fact, to me and a large majority of people, makes me call in to question just about everything on this site.

    • This is denying the obvious and in fact, to me and a large majority of people, makes me call in to question just about everything on this site.

      Call away, sire.

    • There are lots of scientists who don’t agree with you, Chuck. Many of them believe, based on their own research, that it is (at best) a kind of hubris to think man is as powerful as you appear to think we are:

      “1350+ Peer-Reviewed Papers Supporting Skeptic Arguments Against ACC/AGW Alarmism”

      My personal favorite for easy references, and updates, is Andrew Watt:

      Drilling down into one of his sections, there is this wonderful compendium:

      And an outstanding References page:


      If you base your the whole of your opinion regarding the Baron’s work on a passing reference I made to being an AGW skeptic, well…what can I say to such a True Believer? “Vaya con Dios” is probably the best option.

      EDIT: BTW, just *one* Krakatoa will undo any man-made puny attempts to change things, whether for good or ill. Perspective helps. A lot.

        • Strike two, Chuck. Please check the guidelines for commenting here. I’d have just trashed this comment but since it is only your second one, I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt.

          At the very least,your certainty is anti-scientific. Real science offers hypotheses and then tries to find the holes in them. P.C. Scientism offers Certainty and stifling “Consensus”. No dissent allowed.

          Remember the 1980s? Those experts were so sure that by the turn of the century there would be world-wide famines with huge die-off of humanity. By now, we should have run out of oil. We should be huddled in ice caves. Oh, wait. Now it’s too *warm* rather than too cold. Nevermind.

        • Looks like we have a neo-Lysinkoist.

          This kind of “science based on consensus” has already happened before… In the USSR. Things didn’t turn out so well and people starved to death.

    • You go Chuck! Hey, why don’t you sell your Cadillac and send the money to Africa; that would slow down that nasty climate change! You might even be able to buy some carbon credits, Al (the millionaire with seven houses) Gore and David (the millionaire with four houses) Suzuki would be proud of you!

      When it was pointed out to Gore that the last house he bought was just a few feet above high tide, he just laughed.

      Is it any use pointing out to you that our climate warmed at the end of the last ice-age and has remained warm ever since, with natural small cycles of cooling and heating, and tiny variations in sea level, which is exactly what is happening?

      A high school friend of mine was for years the leader of the NZ Antarctic Party, he told me they all laughed at the pathetic climate nutters who would arrive in late summer, film a gigantic ice-flow breaking off, and fly back to ‘climate HQ’ screaming: “Antarctica is all melting–swim for your lives!”

      Wake up Chuck, our planet is doing what it always has, and if you, [epithet], think you can do anything about it, you’re impossibly arrogant. Nor will throwing billions of dollars at Africa EVER accomplish ANYTHING!

    • Except that there are no “observed temperature changes.”
      Since 1880 world temperature has risen just 0.8 degrees C.
      “Hottest years ever” are measured in hundredths of a degree with NO acknowledgement of margin of error. This is just a winter storm. We have always had winter storms. Soon it will be spring again. You are being duped by scam. Global warming is simply being used by globalists as a mechanism to impose taxes and transfer wealth.

  2. In the meantime, I’d like to congratulate you on the word ‘snizzle’ — a totally new word to me and I love learning new words.

    As to weather I remember in the 1950’s there was an enormous snowfall and I walked to grade school between two walls of snow that I couldn’t see over — I was 9 at the time, so. . . everyone has opinions about the weather but nobody can change it.


    • Welll…(she said defensively) I do remember those New England winters in Wellesley. The ones where the tops of the snow banks were so high you couldn’t see the elementary school kids standing at the corners, waiting to get across the side streets on the way to school. And the children came home for lunch, too, so that doubled the risk.

      I remember the town dumping the snow onto the high school practice field because they ran out of other places to put it. And dumping and dumping and dumping. I think the very last of it melted in early May that year. I remember the futility of trying to explain to the boys what would likely happen to them if they played on the heights of that dangerous pile. And then the town posting a guard there…before they built a temporary fence since it turned out to be cheaper than using a town employee that way.

      Let’s see: I remember most of the parking lots having a quarter of their spaces taken up by snow. Another kid hazard.In a town where kids walked everywhere, they soon found the best spots.

      Down here, with one nor’easter every few years, no one has developed the long-earned snow skills that y’all have up there. And the county doesn’t have the money to spend on equipment that sits there…besides, it’s supposedly a state job. So lots of people have learned to scrape their areas if the state doesn’t get back to the secondary and tertiary roads.

      They’re building a monastery in the next county. I was thinking of those fellows today, figuring that since a lot of them come from either Minnesota or Switzerland, this will be a piece of cake for them…

      …meanwhile, a fair number of people scrape their own gravel roads when they (the roads, not the people) get washed out or just worn in the wrong places from water run-off vs. the lay of the land. Lumps and humps and holes are just part of maintenance. Snow, not so much.

  3. Dear Global alarmists and climate change adherents, since you come from a basis of scientific theory that is supported by data that is either verified or not to come up with the conclusion that the sky is falling and it’s all our fault. I would like to call to your attention that I too think that the weather is chasing us down but for different reasons. I believe that there is a God in heaven and He is very involved with His creation…


    • No. No religion, gender, Jews, Russians, or ethnic jokes. Just don’t. Those threads go sideways. In return, I promise not to show up at your doorstep with my theory of how the world works.

      There are times when moderating these threads have made me a believer in Purgatory because that’s how it feels when the heat goes up and the light disappears.

      • So your sideways religion of humanism is all that is tolerated?
        And you missed my point that the religion of science is just that a “religion” , Your censorship is very misguided and one sided.
        Obviously the first amendment means nothing here.

  4. We seem to have created a generation of children who are afraid of the [strong intensifier] weather for heaven’s sake. Gah.

    • Well, yeah. They’ve always been driven *everywhere* in Mom’s SUV. Sad to say, there are also adults behaving stupidly (and, alas, fatally):

      Just in the past seven days, during the El Niño storms, high surf (>40 foot waves), and winds, let me see how many uninformed young people have died at the shore….

      –On Monday, MLK Jr. Day, several U.C. Santa Cruz students decided to go out to the shore rocks and “watch” the waves. There are National Weather Service, county, and God only knows how many other warnings NOT TO DO THIS! But shows the two who died. This link does *not* mention that the group were members of the UCSC Muslim Students’ Association. What? The water isn’t dangerous elsewhere in the world?!

      –Surfer dudes: Note: Mr. Dafoe’s body washed up on shore yesterday (Friday, 22 January). Quite sad, but he went out in storm circumstances. A 40-year-old man!

      –Snow folk: 23-year-old ski instructor lost during storm and possibly avalanche conditions last Sunday: His cell phone “pinged” from outside the skiing perimeter of the area–a known Bad Place to Be.

      Too many have grown up thinking Nature is just a bigger park, I think. She is massive, has the strength of the planet behind her, and is not to be tempted.

      Nature Bats Last. And: It’s Not Nice to Try and Fool Mother Nature.

      None of these individuals *deserved* to die they way they did, but something in the way they grew up left them thinking that maybe? the rules didn’t apply to them….

  5. I don’t totally dismiss the idea that we might be contributing to a small degree of climate change (like less than 1%), but if you look at global climate data for the last 2,000 years you will find that we are at the end of the Little Ice Age. If you can find it there was an excellent program on the History Channel titled “Little Ice Age, Big Chill”. From about 1390 to 1850 we lived through a disaster called (wait for it), The Little Ice Age. It details what humanity lived and suffered through, and how many of us starved, and how many succumbed to plague and nutritional deprivation resulting in higher infant mortality. If we are,indeed, suffering from Global Warming, then I say bring it on! (At least for the near future. If there is an epidemic of people bursting into flame, then I’ll reconsider.)

    • If the planet were really dangerously overheating, the only way to cool it down would be geoengineering. The fact that the only proposed solution to the supposed catastrophe is an unscientific quasi-religious financial scam instead of scientific geoengineering makes it pretty obvious that there is no real catastrophe. The only engineering going on is economic engineering.

      What is actually happening is an attempt to bribe third world governments into not developing their economies so they can’t pose too much of an economic threat. In other words, it’s a scam to give people fish so they never learn to fish.

  6. Once again I’m reminded of how wise I was to leave the DC area. When I remember all those years of waiting at bus stops in the cold/snow/sleet/rain then standing in crowded rush hour buses, I’m grateful to be living in sunny California. A little rain now and then, but over all a very agreeable climate.

    • And you’re that much further away from constant reminders of the federal behemoth…but parts of California are still seriously affected by water shortages that are features of a semi arid climate combined with too many people.

  7. All those records they always cite when calling this storm ‘historic’ or that snowfall ‘never before seen’ or yonder wave ‘the biggest Evrrrr’ have one tiny problem: They only go back to about the 1880’s or so, 130 years is the historical blink of an eye.
    Sure, they pull samples out of the ice and think they can determine how cold it was 10 million years ago.
    Wonder how many of them can remember what they had for breakfast.
    I remember that in the 1970’s, everyone was predicting a coming ice age.
    1 major volcanic eruption pumps more polluting particles and gases into the atmosphere than all of humanity put together.
    Then, there’s also our good friends the dinosaurs, during whose time it must have been quite considerably warmer on Earth than it is today.
    They ate plants with leaves the size of a school bus.
    The continents looked totally different, too.
    Sure, there’s way too much pollution (China, anyone?), way too much trash in the oceans, way too much wasting of everything, and way too much dependence upon oil (which is the no. 1 reason why Islam is a problem today), but humans actually *changing* the climate of a PLANET………
    Someone’s pretty full of themselves…..

    • Most consensus science is based on the theory of uniformity:

      This theory has little scientific basis but is foundational to other modern theories: evolution, climate, climate change, peak oil etc.

      It is the assumption that that the planetary conditions have remained contant over many millions of years, and thus we can compare data 10 million years old with modern data and draw meaningful conclusions.

      The theory has four facets:

      Uniformity of law – the laws of nature are constant across time and space.

      Uniformity of methodology – the appropriate hypotheses for explaining the geological past are those with analogy today.

      Uniformity of kind – past and present causes are all of the same kind, have the same energy, and produce the same effects.

      Uniformity of degree – geological circumstances have remained the same over time.

      “Uniformitarianism, expressed as the spatial and temporal invariance of natural laws and processes, is a priori knowledge insofar as it is knowledge that is presumed to be true before observation of the real world, rather than something that can be gleaned directly from observation of the real world.[4] It is a philosophical assumption within the domain of metaphysics[5] and an unprovable postulate that cannot be verified using scientific analysis.[6] ” ibid

      Thus we can safely posit that until the theory of uniformity is proven, climate change (as well as some other concensus sciences) remains a religious belief at best.

  8. In my neck of the woods, Long Island, we are expecting 12-18″
    A roadway near me, the Northern State Parkway for those of you that know the island, has a reader board overhead that usually tells the time to various key intersections or of an accident ahead, etc.
    Today the board said “Lizzard warning in effect 4am Saturday through Sunday.”
    I find this much more disturbing than a snow storm…

    • Very funny, Babs. I’ll bet someone on FB has a shot of that.

      Meanwhile, here in Virginia, the so-called blizzard that many in Richmond were hoping for (as in, “whether or not the weather is deemed ^good^ depends on where you live”) has settled out to about 10 inches at most, though it is still snowing. For people further north or further inland it’s hard to believe anyone would want a blizzard, but down here they know it won’t take weeks to melt off so the consequences are less bad.

      This has turned into a more typical nor’easter since it’s nailing New York. It had stopped here for a while in the very early hours but now has picked up again- and the sleet has returned to snow… but mild compared to what y’all are getting.

      The big deal for us was not losing electricity. Other electric co-ops further south had sent up crews in advance of the storm but they turned out not to have been needed…

  9. With slight heat from the gas stove in the summer, raise bread dough. It is the perfect temperature.

    • Its cold too here in southrrn Israel, the temperature has fallen below 10C (46F)! But the missiles are still falling on us……

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