The first significant snowstorm of the season in New York remains on track for midweek, and now, preliminary snowfall projections have just been released based on the latest forecast models. The time frame for Westchester County for the storm is late Wednesday afternoon, Dec. 16 into early Thursday morning, Dec. 17. "There is increasing potential for a significant winter storm Wednesday afternoon into Thursday morning with heavy snow, strong winds, and coastal flooding," the National Weather Service said in a Hazardous Weather Outlook statement issued early Monday morning, Dec. 14.
What is a Nor'ester?
A Nor’easter is a storm along the East Coast of North America, so called because the winds over the coastal area are typically from the northeast. These storms may occur at any time of year but are most frequent and most violent between September and April. Some well known Nor’easters include the notorious Blizzard of 1888, the “Ash Wednesday” storm of March 1962, the New England Blizzard of February 1978, the March 1993 “Superstorm” and the recent Boston snowstorms of January and February 2015. Past Nor’easters have been responsible for billions of dollars in damage, severe economic, transportation and human disruption, and in some cases, disastrous coastal flooding. Damage from the worst storms can exceed a billion dollars.
Nor’easters usually develop in the latitudes between Georgia and New Jersey, within 100 miles east or west of the East Coast. These storms progress generally northeastward and typically attain maximum intensity near New England and the Maritime Provinces of Canada. They nearly always bring precipitation in the form of heavy rain or snow, as well as winds of gale force, rough seas, and, occasionally, coastal flooding to the affected regions. The heavily populated region between Washington D.C., Philadelphia, New York and Boston, the “I-95 Corridor,” is especially impacted by Nor’easters.
The U.S. East Coast 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 United States, then eastward toward the Atlantic Ocean where 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 fuel that feeds Nor’easters.
Weather forecasters at NWS local forecast offices around the country and at the National Centers for Environmental Prediction near Washington, D.C., monitor conditions conducive for Nor’easters, especially during the fall and winter. When they see conditions are favorable in the upcoming days, forecasters may issue winter storm, blizzard, high wind and coastal flood watches to alert the public that some of the worst effects of Nor’easters might be possible. If conditions are imminent, those watches are changed to warnings.
Steps you can take to mitigate damage:
1. Secure any outdoor items (tables, chairs, umbrella's)
2. Check gutters and roof drains to be clear of debris
3. Be sure overgrown trees and shrubbery are trimmed away from structures
4. Have snow shovel and de-icing agents handy
5. Check to be sure sump pump, generator and any other emergency equipment to help are in full operation and fueled up
6. Be sure to fill your automobile with gas prior to the storm
7. Be sure flashlights have batteries and a back up supply is available
8. Put together a disaster supply kit that includes water, food, first aid, a whistle and any necessary medicines
9. Be sure you also include supplies for your pets!
10. Charge electronics such as cell phones
11. Stay off the roads! Unless there is a medical emergency avoid unnecessary travel
12. When possible, put vehicles in a garage or park in an area that would reduce potential debris damage
13. Create a home inventory checklist. Simply take your cell phone and video the outside of your property, and inside of each room in the interior. This will help compile an electronic list of inventory of your belongings in the event of a loss
What to do in the event you have a loss?
If you are confronted with property damage during a storm, it is best to notify your agent or carrier as soon as possible. This will ensure you are responded to in a timely manor. It is always advisable in the event of a liability claim (slip and fall) to report to your carrier immediately.
1. Call any emergency services if needed (police, fire department, restoration company)
2. Take reasonable measures to prevent further damage
3. Take photos and preserve any damaged property
4. Make a list of damaged items
5. Call your carrier or agent
What is a Nor'easter? (weather.gov)
Preliminary Snowfall Projections Released For Potentially Major Midweek Nor'easter | Cortlandt Daily Voice