The Atmosphere


What is a Nor’Easter?

A Nor’Easter is a storm along the eastern coast of North America that affects the region with northeasterly winds with speeds up to 75 miles (121 kilometers) per hour or more. Such storms evolve when low pressure systems accumulate humid air from the Atlantic Ocean, or from the Gulf of Mexico, and combine it with cold dry air coming down from Canada in conjunction with a strong jet stream. The system rotates counterclockwise, bringing strong rain storms in the south and, in winter, snow to the Northeast.

Nor’Easters have wreaked havoc on the United States a number of times. For example, a February 1969 Nor’Easter dumped 70 inches (178 centimeters) of snow on Rumford, Maine, and 164 inches (416.5 centimeters) on Pinkham Notch, New Hampshire. One of the worst Nor’easters resulted in a super storm in March 1993 that is still referred to as the “Storm of the Century.”


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