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Wild Winter Storm Riley hits NE USA, nine deaths, nearly 2 million without power

At least nine dead in the North East of the US after a savage storm dubbed “Riley”. Nearly 2 million people are without power. Airlines canceled more than 3,000 flights.

Massachusetts Storm, March 2018, Riley. Waves.

Waves hitting the shore in Scituate, Massachusetts.   Photo from @BrynnCNN

Friday afternoon’s high tide in Boston was the third-highest observed tide on record, according to the National Weather Service.

March Brings the Most Variety of Extreme Weather in the U.S.

Jon Erdman argues that March in the US is notorious for storms due to jet streams and a mix of warmer humid air paired with cold winter air. His impressive list of previous March extreme weather is a good antidote to  the “Climate Change” claims coming in 3, 2, 1 ….

The deadliest March snowstorm was the infamous Blizzard of 1888, which dumped 40 to 60 inches of snow in New York, Connecticut and New Jersey, wind-whipped into drifts which topped some homes. Four hundred were killed in the storm and its cold aftermath.

Here are a sampling of other notable March snowstorms:

  • Late March 1987: Three-day blizzard produced gusts to 78 mph at Dodge City, Kansas and Altus, Oklahoma. Pampa, Texas, picked up 20 inches of snow. Forty-six Kansas counties declared disaster areas.
  • Early March 1966: Blizzard across North Dakota, Minnesota produced wind gusts to 100 mph, whipping snow into drifts 30 to 40 feet high, paralyzing travel for three days.
  • Early March 1717: Four separate snowstorms hit the East in nine days, with up to 4 feet of snow in Boston and drifts to 25 feet in Dorchester, Massachusetts.

Here are some other notable severe weather and tornado events in March:

  • March 28, 2000: Back-to-back tornadoes struck Ft. Worth, then Arlington, Texas, shattering windows, killing three.
  • March 25, 1992: Hail up to 4 inches in diameter pelted the Orlando metro area, virtually shutting down the area’s nursery industry due to broken glass.
  • March 28, 1984: At least 22 tornadoes tore through the Carolinas, including a 2.5-mile wide F4 near Tatum, South Carolina
  • March 25, 1952: Deadliest outbreak in Arkansas history, with 111 dead. In all, tornadoes claimed 343 lives in the South. One F4 tornado leveled the town of Judsonia, Arkansas.
  • March 20-22, 1932: One of the worst outbreaks in U.S. history from Mississippi to South Carolina to Indiana. Ten F4 tornadoes tore through Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee on March 21 alone.

Best wishes for those in the path of weather like this in the North Eastern US and in Europe too.

PS: I’m looking for jet-stream predictions from the IPCC and climate models — especially old forgotten ones.

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62 comments to Wild Winter Storm Riley hits NE USA, nine deaths, nearly 2 million without power

  • #

    Wow! Strong winds there: Wind Map


  • #

    Climate Change – all of the above.


    • #

      Climate Change? Not really and only if you don’t take into consideration the UN Klimate Definitions.

      They make two, which, if we were wanting to be accurate and not give the Klimate Disasterologosts any wriggle room at all, we could and perhaps should use. These are: Climate Variation and Climate Change. Of course the first one is all about natural variation and the second one is about allegedly human induced variation. So far, as far as evidence is concerned, there is a surfeit on the side of the natural and a vacuum on the side human induced.

      I freely admit to using to using Climate Change to describe what I should really use Climate Variation for, if I were playing the UN’s mind games. But I prefer Climate Change for that: it’s short, succinct and meaningful, even if I am using it inaccurately as far as the Disasterologists are concerned. I think I will probably keep using it that way, too.

      It would seem the cousin/fraternal relative of the Beast From The East has arrived in north-eastern US. My sympathies and best wishes to those it is affecting.

      Spring and especially the winter/spring boundary has traditionally been a time for rough weather. In Auckland, [latitude c. 37°S] I have noticed stormy weather, although nowhere nearly as strong or rough as that being dished up in the North—fortunately!—in the three weeks immediately preceding the equinox, calm weather around the equinox and several weeks, typically about three, of very windy weather after the equinox. For the three weeks around the equinox, it has been relatively calm. Note that these are just observations and there is nothing rigorous about them, just what I have noticed and retained as impressions.

      Here, in the Southern Hemisphere. the Vernal Equinox is set as the 21st of September. The equinox of the 31st March is the Northern Hemisphere’s Vernal Equinox, (and the the Southern Hemisphere’s Autumnal Equinox). It’s going to be very interesting to watch the weather of both hemispheres and indulge ourselves in comparisons.

      Storms are heat engines. They feed on the heat of evaporation retained in the water vapour in the air. If the temperature differential in the air is sufficiently great, the more heat can be extracted and the more violent the storm. In warming times, the temperature gradient is not quite as strong and could be said to be “longer” and the more mild the weather. The sharper or stronger the gradient, ie, the colder the cold air mass pushing over the lower warm air, and the warmer the warm air (the greater the water vapour it contains) and the lower its altitude, the more violent the storm because the greater the condensation of water and the more heat drawn from it. Violent storms are more prevalent in colder times.

      Some of us are expecting the growth of cooling, so increasingly stronger weather will come as now surprise. But the The Disasterologists will cling to their warming myth and try claiming this stronger weather as evidence of warming creating more extreme weather. Be warned.


      • #

        My intent was to illustrate that anything and everything is blamed on climate change by the climate worriers.


      • #
        Roy Hogue

        Wouldn’t it be more accurate and certainly more useful to say weather variation rather than climate variation? After all, that’s what it really is. The climate isn’t changing. Many parts of the world are subject to very large weather differences in March from one year to the next. And it’s the same for any other month from year to year.

        Climate change is nowhere in evidence and neither is climate variation.

        We’ve let them get away with confusing the issue long enough. However bad it is, the NE U.S. is not having any variation of climate but they are being beaten up by unexpectedly severe weather. It should take many years, decades of the same consistent thing to convince anyone that the climate has changed. We’re too easily spooked into fearing something that as of right now, has no evidence to support it.


      • #
        Environment Skeptic

        I long for the good old days when ‘Thor’, the male god of thunder was in charge of the climate department. He looks anthropogenic too. Personally i think he should come back and take some responsibility.


  • #

    Hi Jo

    I see our ABC’s 4 corners program will be doing the climate change thing, again. From the promo I saw it looks like they are going to string together a bunch of weather events and claim it’s climate change, it’s happening NOW and we really, really need to do something. No other opinion will be tolerated as usual. Interestingly they now seem willing to openly state that weather is in fact climate, so much for science, I don’t think even the most ardent believers in academia are claiming that, yet….

    What we need is for someone to watch this stuff and go through it point by point and counter the hysterical claims that will be made. Someone with a long running sceptical blog, who is across all the arguments both past and present, with a wonderful sense of humor and the ability the hit the key factual errors made by the scaremongers. Who could I be thinking of? I wish I could do it but I don’t think my TV would survive the first 5 minutes intact:)

    Seriously though this 4 corners program is watched by our political class who for some reason believe everything on it. In the past 2 years we had the right of centre Premier of NSW try to ban greyhound racing and then get ridiculed so badly he had to resign. Then we also had our right of centre prime minister call a fully blown Royal Commission the very day after a 4 corners program. They watch, and the danger is real that this program will give them an excuse to do something stupid, or is that something more stupid? 6 billion spent on Friday for a crackpot scheme to pump water up a mountain before the feasibility study or geological survey have even been completed. Have we reached peak stupid yet?

    Interesting timing for this program too. Just before the South Australian state election in which the current Labour Premier has a policy to go to 75% renewable energy if re-elected. Some in the ABC must be worried about the result, Trump, Brexit etc., and feel it is time to scare the waverers back onto the right (or is it left) path.


    • #
      Peter C

      right of centre prime minister

      Your kidding, right?

      Seriously though I do think that some/most/all of our polis believe what they see on 4 corners.


    • #
      john karajas

      You see, Don, the current warm spell in the Arctic (Gosh, it almost has reached 0 degrees Celsius up there!) has huffed and puffed and blown all the cold Siberian air all over Europe. It truly is causing irredeemable Climate Change and we are now entering a new geological epoch called the Anthropocene. Stop all coal mining now or the ABC will get very cross!


      • #
        John of Cloverdale, WA, Australia

        Looks like that warm burst only lasted a couple of days. It is back down to nearly -23 deg Celsius now. That should melt the rest of the ice.


        • #

          It was a not uncommon “intrusion” of warm air into a cold zone and it lasted about 10 days. It was a very narrow “spike” and not a widespread warm air mass so no ice was melted.

          They’re the winter equivalent of summer snow, as seen in Tasmania and the South Island of NZ over the last couple of summers. These events are the opposite: an “intrusion” of frigid air into a warm zone which also only lasts a few days.

          The big differences between them is that the cold intrusions in summer are never remarked on by the MSM. On the other hand, the warm bursts in winter have to be dissected ad infinitum and in great detail by The Twits.

          They really are a case of So what?


    • #

      Uphill Snowy, Upholstery in Space…and a climate where everything is unprecedented if it’s bad. Except for the five disasters mentioned above by Jo in March alone.

      Hey, wasn’t the 1962 Ash Wednesday storm, the east coast low that wouldn’t go, yet another March disaster? Maybe it only felt unprecedented at the time. You had to be there. For three days.


  • #

    Pedantic I know – but please don’t say “back to back” we have perfectly good words already available to say the same thing and those in sports couldn’t spell or say “consecutive” or “successive” and had to steal a three word phrase to replace perfectly appropriately available single words that say the same thing.


    • #

      “Back to back” is fine. “Perfectly appropriately” is a bit of a worry. Not that I’d worry.


    • #
      John F. Hultquist

      And they singing
      Back to back, belly to belly
      I don’t give a damn, I done dead already
      Oho back to back, belly to belly
      At the Zombie Jamboree


    • #

      Liberator, I also dislike some of this modern jargon and ‘back to back’ does not mean consecutive although people use it for that. I remain mystified by the Aussie use of the clumsy, four-syllable ‘word’ ‘eventuate’ when there were perfectly adequate two-syllable words or expressions for that meaning; ‘happen’ or ‘take place’.


      • #

        Obsfucation makes me look smarterer and cleverer than you so your just a dumb denier. The thesauarus search I does on Googol inherently invalidates contraindicating colloquies.


      • #

        Doesn’t eventuate mean to eventually happen?
        Some dictionary meanings: To result ultimately. To come about as a result. To come out finally.


    • #

      Sorry, I don’t get all this correction. Jo’s meaning was clear. As for the critic…

      Liberator strings two long adverbs together (right before two adjectives) in a pretty grotesque sentence where two of three main clauses begin with the same conjunction. (There are actually five main clauses if you don’t charitably insert the full stop and capital, which liberator left out, after “back to back”.)

      I would never point out this sort of howler as a rule but liberator is writing to correct Jo’s “back-to-back”, at some length. When you write things like “perfectly appropriately available single” it’s hardly worth worrying about a corrupted term which has at least been made clear by usage.

      While “back-to-back” is inexact, “consecutive” and “successive” do not carry the sense of a similar or like event immediately coming after another. “Eventuate” is a bit florid but, as greggg mentions, it does mean more than “happen”.

      I promise to stop all this policing now. Hope others will do likewise. No need to go back-to-back. Just follow on.


  • #
  • #

    She means that they were moving in opposite directions.


  • #
    Greg in NZ

    Meanwhile, at the other end of the world: “Too much ice prevented the research vessel from reaching the calving site”.

    Remember that iceberg a few years back that was going to drift away and melt and drown the world – maybe even the whole known universe? Oh the horror! It’s still stuck in the Weddell Sea, hasn’t moved an inch (nor a centimetre) as it’s frozen in place by the frozen sea ice, going nowhere.

    “It was nature [that] defeated us,” said principal investigator and marine biologist Katrin Linse of the British Antarctic Survey in Cambridge.


  • #
    Mark M

    Congratulations Perth, from all wine drinkers everywhere …

    Perth cool summer creates one of the best Swan Valley wine seasons in living memory

    Mr Berns said conditions in 2018 were a return to what growers used to expect from the region more than 20 years ago.

    “We haven’t had those kind of years for a long time in the Swan, but they were the normal years,” he said.


  • #

    This storm was just the first of a series. Two, weaker systems follow during the coming week and should drop good snow in the upper Midwest, great lakes region, and New England. But following that it looks like the pattern is setting up for another blockbuster Nor Easter to hit the eastern seaboard in about 9 days. March is going to stay wild this year on both sides of the Atlantic in the NH with the closest analogs to the current weather pattern being 1962 and 1956 according to Joe.

    BTW out west the southern portion of the rocky mountains got good snows also and all indications are there is more coming so all the worry about drought returning to S. California appears to be for naught.

    This Hoosier (A term for people that live in the state of Indiana) is quite happy that it looks like the worst of all of this will stay to the north or south of where I live and it appears all we have to deal with during the next 10 days is some heavy rains and some pretty good winds. But that doesn’t mean this truck driver is out of the winter woods yet. Some people that claim they’re truck drivers call off of loads they’ve committed to when it looks like heavy winter weather is coming in along where they’re going. When they do I, or one of the other 5 on call drivers at our terminal get the call to go cover their loads. That is why my truck is always stocked with a minimum of 5 days of food and drink and I tend to keep the fuel level at 1/2 or above during the winter months. Using the idle management feature on the truck and the Webasto type bunk heater I can remain quite comfortable and warm even if stranded for several days as long as it doesn’t get so cold that the diesel fuel gels. For entertainment I have my Kindle which is like carrying a small library and of course my cell with access to the internet (I quit putting a TV in my truck years ago). And since I get paid a salary that is the equivalent to the top rate per mile at 3,000 miles per week instead of by the mile, it all pays the same for me. Great driving job if one can handle being called to run at any hour of the day and going to places at times where others refuse to go and has the experience to do what is necessary to keep the equipment functioning in cold winter weather.


    • #

      Mentioning weather staying wild in March reminded me of ‘Cargoes’ by John Masefield:
      ‘Dirty British coaster with a salt-caked smoke stack,
      Butting through the Channel in the mad March gales’ ( or winds?…can’t remember now…whoops).

      or something of the sort…March obviously had a reputation for wildness before this ‘manmade global warming’ lark got going.


      • #

        It’s the blocking pattern that is making this March one that will be exceptionally stormy. Nothing that hasn’t happened before of course but still one which makes it stormier and colder than the usual for many of us in the temperate regions of the NH. The power of the Nor Easters is also enhanced by the fact that the SSTs along the eastern seaboard of the US are much warmer than average. So the higher than usual contrasts in temperatures and pressures are stirring the pot.


      • #


        “In like a lion , out like a lamb
        In like a lamb, out like a lion”

        Or so our parents told us.


      • #
        Peter C

        Quinquireme of Nineveh from distant Ophir,
        Rowing home to haven in sunny Palestine,
        With a cargo of ivory,
        And apes and peacocks,
        Sandalwood, cedarwood, and sweet white wine.

        Stately Spanish galleon coming from the Isthmus,
        Dipping through the Tropics by the palm-green shores,
        With a cargo of diamonds,
        Emeralds, amethysts,
        Topazes, and cinnamon, and gold moidores.

        Dirty British coaster with a salt-caked smoke stack,
        Butting through the Channel in the mad March days,
        With a cargo of Tyne coal,
        Road-rails, pig-lead,
        Firewood, iron-ware, and cheap tin trays.

        John Masefield

        We learnt it at school but I had forgotten about the poem.
        Clear reference to bad weather in March as Annie said.

        The last verse seems to reek with distain for the modern sea cargo and ships when compared with the exotic and beautiful goods and ships from the previous empires.

        But look at it the other way around and it can be an endorsement of modern technology, particularly coal or oil power, which not only makes it possible to the steamer to deliver cargoes in spite of bad weather but also cheap enough to carry humble cargoes which are important for ordinary people.


  • #

    “Wild Winter Storm Riley hits NE USA, nine deaths, nearly 2 million without power, 10.0 out of 10 based on 12 ratings.”

    I know Jo used the name for communications purposes but man I disagree with the naming of these storms. In the US the pro “climate change” Weather Channel started this stuff about naming non tropical storms as a way to hype their product. And when we skeptics follow their lead it just seems like we’re allowing them to control the premise and language. Naming storms now that were never named before just seems to reinforce false claims that the latest storm is “unprecedented” in some ways. What’s next? Naming EF-5 tornadoes or tornado outbreaks?


    • #

      “What’s next? Naming EF-5 tornadoes or tornado outbreaks?”

      I’ve just started watching re-runs of the old “Storm Chasers” series from the Discovery Channel about a group of people who follow storms in the central US to try to gather Meteorological data on how tornados form and what sustains them. They often name the tornados that form but the names are usually bleeped-out by the program so I am unsure what names they are given though I can make a pretty good guess given the context of their comments.


    • #

      I agree with your sentiment, however, if we are to name weather events, how about naming spring showers and sunny days? I think we should name sunny days after Jo :]


  • #

    3 Mar: InTheSnow: Huge Snowfalls in California
    by Patrick Thorne
    Resorts is the state have been reporting up to 90cm (three feet) of snow in 24 hour periods since Thursday and 72 hour totals of up to 1.8 metres (six feet). 7 day totals are as much as 2.4m (8 feet)…
    Ski areas in California had had little fresh snowfall since November meaning in some cases they had only been able to open limited terrain until recently. Now however they are looking at a strong spring ski season with base depths rocketing up to up to 3.6m (12 feet)…

    The snowfall, at times accompanied by very strong winds, is causing operational problems and dangers. A snowboarder died after apparently becoming lost in a blizzard at Squaw Valley on Thursday, and five people were injured in an avalanche at the same resort on Friday afternoon. It shut early for the day shortly afterwards.

    3 Mar: Weather Channel: Winter Storm Quinn Continues to Create Havoc in US West
    Snow is falling from parts of eastern Montana southwestward to southern Idaho, northern Utah, western Wyoming, Nevada, Oregon and the mountains of California, as of Saturday morning.
    Parts of Idaho, California and Nevada have all received more than three feet of snow so far, with more on the way in California and Nevada.
    Friday night into early Saturday, snow was falling in low elevations of northern California, leading to widespread road impacts. Roadway concerns will persist through Saturday…

    An additional 5-10 inches of snow will accumulate on top of what has already fallen in the Sierra, leading to some totals as high as 7 feet.
    Snow could fall at elevations as low as 1,000-2,000 feet at times in the Sierra through Saturday…


    • #

      This summer for my sons wedding over the July 4th holiday we went out west to the Grand Targhee Ski resort in SE Idaho a few miles west over the pass through the Teton range from Jackson Hole, WY.
      The cornices at the top of the ski mountain were still there and Grand Teton Mountain (13,775 feet) still had snow on it’s peak. I just checked snow conditions there. 110″ based with 340″ for the year. The northern rockies have had great snow this year just as they did last year. Of course this after several years of certain climate “scientists” claiming that the ski industry in the western US would be severely damaged by lack of snow in the coming years.

      Had a great time. Spent two days at Yellowstone. What a magnificent place. I have been to most of the National Parks in my country at one time or another but that was my first visit to Yellowstone and we’ll be going back again.


    • #

      BTW those revelations are quite inconvenient for the authors of this just released study.

      The reports of the death of snow have been greatly exaggerated everywhere by the alarmists it seems.
      Snowed TWICE in the Sahara this winter and once Morocco was shut down.
      SMB of the Greenland ice sheet continues to grow.
      UK slammed by something that was supposed to be practically nonexistent by now in the south.
      Great snow in the Alps.

      You know it really is bad for the alarmists these days and indications are it’s going to get worse though I think we’re in for a hotter summer here in the states than we’ve had in awhile.


  • #

    JoNova, I would also look into the weather that follows strong El Ninos and La Ninas. The strong El Nino pumped a huge amount of heat and H2O into the atmosphere, and that has nothing to do with CO2.


  • #


    In your such for IPCC document on the jet stream you may wish to start here. Called ’3.5.2 Geopotential Height, Winds and the Jet Stream’
    Can’t find much old stuff from IPCC on the subject or any predictions.


  • #

    BBC and Met Office: an enduring partnership
    Posted on 6 February, 2018 by Met Office Press Office

    Today the BBC has stopped taking most of its weather information from the Met Office, here Phil Evans, our Chief Operating Officer gives his perspective


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