Field of Science

Nor'easter brings snow & tree damage

Nor'easters are storms that track NE in the northeastern US, basically up the coast from New Jersey to Maine, and they can dump a lot of rain or snow depending on the season. This storm ran into some cold imported Canadian air and as a result some places got 10-15 inches (25-38 cm) of snow, and this early in the season means it was a heavy wet snow. That's all you need to know to predict what happened. A lot of trees, many still bearing their leaves, will break under the weight, which in turn brings down power lines and probably 500,000 residences will be without electricity. A few years ago, an early heavy snowstorm struck our area, and those trees that had stubbornly hung onto their leaves were toast. It basically was the end for Bradford pears in this area; a walking survey of the neighborhood found 9 out of every 10 broken into smithereens. The Phactor lost a very large old redbud split to the base and another 6 were badly damaged. Never much cared for Bradford pears, and we still had 12 or so redbuds undamaged, so no tragedies. At our residence in an urban heat island there has yet to be a frost so the fall colors and leaves are still hanging on. Such a snow here, now, would be a disaster too. Videos of cars sliding around will be standard fare as dopes behind the wheel make their annual discovery that snow is slippery and requires caution. Any live reports from the field?


Anonymous said...

I see this is the first comment from lovely Snowland. It's disgusting and yes, we worry about the effect on those trees still holding on to leaves. Many power outages over wide swaths of the northeast. This is about the only time we can feel really smug here, since we live offline and have for forty years. Of course the fun side of that is that we hand pump and hand carry the water. But living a mile off the road we plan ahead with a pantry, and keep the snowshoes by the door.

And as an aside, if you were to listen to the Mainer, he would actually be saying something like "Nawtheastah". I understand it was some weather-person who coined the Nor'easter pronunciation. No "r"'s please.


Diane said...

It was all rain here near the Narragansett Bay shore but a block away there was a bit of snow on the roofs. Most of our leaves, the ones that weren't shredded by the wind, are still green. The oaks of course but also a tulip poplar, a redbud and a sassafras. After escaping the brunt of Irene and this storm I am feeling a bit superstitious.

Carol Steel said...

In southeast New Brunswick, our heavy rain turned to heavy snow this afternoon. Harsh winds and freezing temperatures produce the same worries about leafy trees becoming overburdened with snow and then breaking or taking out power lines. It is early for snow here, but not totally unexpected given the cold that has descended over the past few days.