User:Bobby122/December 1992 Nor'easter

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December 1992 Nor'easter
A satellite image of the eastern United States and western Caribbean Sea, depicting a Nor'ester partially over the northeastern states.
An Infrared (IR) image of the 1992 Nor'easter.
Type Nor'easter
Formed December 11, 1992
Dissipated December 14, 1992
Lowest pressure 992 Mbar[1]
Maximum snowfall or ice accretion 30–48 inches (76–122 cm) with drifts up to 12 feet (3.7 m)
Damage $1-2 billion USD ($1.7-3.4 billion 2010)[2]
Areas affected East Coast of the United States

The December 1992 Nor'easter was a strong storm which impacted the East Coast of the United States.[3] The storm developed off the Mid-Atlantic coast in the normal fashion, however a lingering area of high pressure over southeast Canada steered it into New England instead of northeast and out to see as is normal. Between the night of December 10 and the morning on December 11 the intense nor'easter began to move ashore and battered New England with heavy hurricane force winds, rains, snow and high tides.[3]

High tides of 8.8 ft (2.7 m), along with strong winds, snow and rain damaged or destroyed hundreds of dwellings along with destroying piers and board walks, pushed tributaries of the Delaware River close to the overflowing stage, caused the subway system to shut down for three hours and led to widespread power outages.[3] Sigificant coastal flooding and damage was reported as tides surged nearly 4–5 ft (1.2–1.5 m) above normal.[3] A new single storm record was set in Worcester, Massachusetts when 32 in (81 cm) was recorded. Nineteen people were killed and between 1-3 billion USD of damage was reported.[3][4]

Meteorological history[edit]

An IR satellite image of the Nor'easter on December 11, 1992 at 00:50z.

On December 9 a 300mb analysis indicated that a jetstreak[5] was positioned over the Pacific Northwest. Within a day it had progressed southeastward and was located over the southeastern United States.[1] The exit region of the jetstreak, which extended towards the equator, coincided with surface cyclogenesis over North Carolina. The next day a closed area of low pressure formed above the surface circulation.[1] While the jet was moving into position two short wave troughs had been moving towards the North Carolina area on December 8. By December 10 the shortwaves had merged and on December 11 the combined shortwaves developed into a mid level closed low at the 500 mb level.[1] Cyclonic vorticity advection was taking place in Maryland over the area which contained the surface nor'easter, this enhanced the upward motion over the area, contributing to the strengthening of the nor'easter.[1]

On December 11 the nor'easter had begun to pull north and stalled over Washington DC and at 18z that day, the nor'easter peaked at a strength of 992 mb.[1] By December 12 the low pressure area had begun to redevelop over the water and the circulation appeared to have been cutoff from the synoptic flow, which indicated that the storm was moving away from the coast.[1] The storm then meandered over the ocean until December 13 at 15z when the storm began to move out to sea. However, a stationary high pressure area over southeastern Canada induced a strong pressure gradient between it and the nor'easter which pushed the strongest winds, snow and rain toward the New England area.[1][6]



In Washington DC sleet made the morning rush hour a nightmare. Icy roads led to hundreds of accidents and in western sections of the district, emergency rescuers had to rescue persons trapped in vehicles after heavy snow transitioned into heavy rains.[7] The entire Mid-Atlantic region was blanketed with snow, with the Shenandoah Valley and the Blue Ridge Mountains receiving over 1 foot (0.30 m) of snow.[7] In Winchester, Virginia about 2 ft (0.61 m) was recorded, while 41 in (100 cm) was reported at the Pine Dam located in the mountains of Garrett County, Maryland. The Delmarva Peninsula was also hit hard by the Nor'easter with Dewey Beach in Delaware suffering severe erosion which caused most of the beach to wash away.[7] One death was reported in New Jersey as a result of the storm.[8]


East of the Blue Ridge Mountains, areas had to contend either with heavy rain, or an icy mix. It was also reported that strong gales uprooted trees and left persons without power. In the metro area of New York City winds gusted to hurricane force and tides rose between three and five feet above normal, which flooded low-lying areas. On December 11, power problems forced the New York Subway to shut down for five hours leaving many people without any means of transportation, conditions also left people stranded at local airports.[7] In New Jersey, high tides of 12–18 feet (3.7–5.5 m) pummeled the shore and either destroyed or severely damaged almost every boardwalk. Every structure exposed to the waves suffered some form of damage. A Red Cross estimate revealed that 3,200 houses were either severely damaged or destroyed in New Jersey.[7] Two deaths were reported in the Northeast, one in Connecticut and one in Rhode Island.[8]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Lowery, Evan M. "Case Study and Event Summary: December 11-13, 1992 Nor’easter". Retrieved 29 October 2010. 
  2. ^ Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis Community Development Project. "Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–". Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved January 2, 2017. 
  3. ^ a b c d e "December 11-14, 1992 Nor'easter". Hurricanes, blizzards and nor'easters. Retrieved 29 October 2010. 
  4. ^ Neil, Lott (2009). "Billion Dollar U.S. Weather Disasters, 1980 - 2008" (PDF). Retrieved 29 October 2010.  Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help); Unknown parameter |coauthors= ignored (|author= suggested) (help)
  5. ^ A localized region of extremely fast winds embedded within the jet stream
  6. ^ "Summary of Floods of 1992". USGS. Retrieved 30 October 2010. 
  7. ^ a b c d e Rick, Schwartz. "Hurricanes and the Middle Atlantic States". Retrieved 1 November 2010. 
  8. ^ a b "Surveillance of Deaths Attributed to a Nor'easter -- December 1992". Centers for Disease Control. Retrieved 6 December 2010. 

Category:Nor'easters Category:Weather Category:New England Category:Virginia Category:Washington, D.C. Category:Snow Category:Natural disaster deaths in the United States