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Severe Weather Shifts to the East; Record Warm Temperatures in the South

Scattered severe storms may produce damaging winds, hail, a few tornadoes, and isolated flash flooding from central New York/western New England southward into the Carolinas on Monday. An expansive early season heat wave will persist through the week bringing record-breaking temperatures across the Southwest through the Southern Plains through the week. Read More >

WINTER STORM SUMMARY FOR
DECEMBER 26, 2010 TO DECEMBER 27, 2010 EVENT

Synopsis

A strong Nor'easter system impacted the Middle Atlantic region starting early Sunday morning December 26th and ending on Monday December 27th. At 7AM on the 26th, the center of the low pressure was sitting just offshore of Cape Hatteras and the northern most extent of its snow bands had started to fall across the Delmarva Peninsula and the southern most counties in New Jersey. By noon on Sunday the 26th, snow had begun to fall in the Philadelphia Metro region and continued to overspread towards the north during the remainder of the day. Heavy snow bands formed offshore during the afternoon and evening hours on the 26th as the low continued to strengthen. The heavy bands pushed into the coastal counties in New Jersey with continued 2 to 3 inch an hour snowfall rates during the evening and overnight hours on the 26th. As the low pressure system moved along the Eastern United States coast it rapidly intensified dropping 24 millibars in 24 hours to a minimum pressure of 976 millibars by 7AM Monday the 27th. At this time the low was centered over Cape Cod Massachusetts and the snow was beginning to end from South to North through our region. By mid-day on the 27th the snow had come to end across our region.

Watches/Warnings/Advisories

A Winter Storm Watch was issued at 416am on Saturday December 25th for the following areas: New Castle, Kent, and Sussex in Delaware; Cecil, Kent, Queen Annes, Talbot, and Caroline in Maryland; Sussex, Warren, Morris, Hunterdon, Somerset, Middlesex, Monmouth, Mercer, Salem, Gloucester, Camden, Burlington, Ocean, Cumberland, Atlantic, and Cape May in New Jersey; Chester, Montgomery, Bucks, Delaware, and Philadelphia in Pennsylvania. At 1148am on December 25th a Winter Storm Watch was issued for Carbon, Monroe, Berks, Lehigh, and Northampton in Pennsylvania. At 324pm on December 25th, the Winter Storm Watch was upgraded to a Winter Storm Warning for the following areas: New Castle, Kent, and Sussex in Delaware; Cecil, Kent, Queen Annes, Talbot, and Caroline in Maryland; Sussex, Warren, Morris, Hunterdon, Somerset, Middlesex, Monmouth, Mercer, Salem, Gloucester, Camden, Burlington, Ocean, Cumberland, Atlantic, and Cape May in New Jersey; Carbon, Monroe, Berks, Lehigh, Northampton, Chester, Montgomery, Bucks, Delaware,and Philadelphia in Pennsylvania. At 352am on December 26th the Winter Storm Warning was replaced with a Blizzard Warning for the following areas: Morris, Somerset, Middlesex, Monmouth, and Ocean in New Jersey. At 310pm on December 26th the Winter Storm Warning was replaced with a Blizzard Warning for the following areas: Sussex in Delaware; Atlantic, Cape May, and Southeastern Burlington in New Jersey. At 350am on December 27th the Blizzard Warning was canceled for Sussex in Delaware and the Winter Storm Warning was canceled for Talbot and Caroline in Maryland; Carbon in Pennsylvania. At 414am on December 27th a Wind Advisory was issued for the following areas: New Castle, Kent, and Sussex in Delaware; Cecil, Kent, Queen Annes, Talbot, and Caroline in Maryland; Sussex, Warren, Morris, Hunterdon, Somerset, Middlesex, Monmouth, Mercer, Salem, Gloucester, Camden, Burlington, Ocean, Cumberland, Atlantic, and Cape May in New Jersey; Carbon, Monroe, Berks, Lehigh, Northampton, Chester, Montgomery, Bucks, Delaware,and Philadelphia in Pennsylvania. At 526am on December 27th the Winter Storm Warning was canceled for the following areas: New Castle, Kent, and Sussex in Delaware; Cecil, Kent, Queen Annes, Talbot, and Caroline in Maryland; Sussex, Warren, Hunterdon, Mercer, Salem, Gloucester, Camden, Northwest Burlington, and Cumberland in New Jersey; Monroe, Berks, Lehigh, Northampton, Chester, Montgomery, Bucks, Delaware, and Philadelphia in Pennsylvania. At 651am on December 27th the Blizzard Warning was cancelled in the following areas: Morris, Somerset, Middlesex, Monmouth, Ocean, and Southeastern Burlington in New Jersey. At 753am on December 27th the Blizzard Warning was canceled for the following areas: Atlantic, and Cape May in New Jersey.

Precipitation/Temperatures/Winds

Significant accumulations were received across the Philadelphia Metro region and Eastern New Jersey. Atlantic City New Jersey (measured at the airport in Pomona) set an ALLtime record for a single snowfall total of 20.1 inches. Numerous locations along the New Jersey coast received 20 inch or higher amounts, with the greatest snowfall measurement of 30 inches taken in Brick Township in New Jersey. Due to the offshore track of the nor'easter, the western counties in our forecast area did not receive as much snow as the eastern counties. Berks, Lehigh, Northampton, Carbon, and Monroe counties in Pennsylvania; Cecil, Talbot, Kent, and Queen Annes counties in Maryland, received only 1 to 3 inches during the storm. Traveling further east, towards the coast, Cape May, Atlantic, Ocean, Monmouth, and Middlesex counties in New Jersey totaled 18 to 24 inches of snow, with more localized pockets of 24 inches or more along the immediate coast.

Gusty northwest winds were also a factor with this coastal storm. Some of the highest wind gusts recorded include 62 mph measured at Wilmington, DE; 61 mph measured in Long Beach, New Jersey; 56 mph measured in Sandy Hook, New Jersey; and 62 mph measured in Mount Pocono, Pennsylvania. Wind gusts in excess of 50 mph were measured across much of the forecast area. Strong winds along with the falling snow created reduced visibilities and blizzard or near-blizzard conditions at times, especially along the New Jersey coastline.

Significant Impacts/Aspects

Multiple heavy snow bands traversed the region producing 2 to 3 inch an hour snowfall rates during the evening hours across Eastern New Jersey. A few of these bands were able to make it into the Philadelphia metro region later Sunday night producing 1 to 2 inch an hour snowfall rates. At the peak of the storm, strong winds greatly reduced visibilities and created impassable roadways throughout the region. Numerous traffic backups and accidents occurred across New Jersey and Pennsylvania roadways on Sunday and Monday. Portions of the Garden State Parkway were shutdown with hundreds of cars left stranded. Snow drifts reached 8 to 9 feet in some locations and turned a once clear, plowed road, into an impassable piece of asphalt. At approximately 8pm on Sunday December 26th, during the peak of the storm, a state of emergency was declared for New Jersey by the acting Governor. The Philadelphia Eagles were scheduled to play football at 8pm Sunday night in Philadelphia, but the National Football League, fearing for fans safety during the worst of the storm, decided to postpone the game until the following Tuesday night.

Notes

Information contained in this summary is preliminary. More complete and/or detailed information may be contained in subsequent monthly NOAA storm data publications.