The last decade in New England has been marked by several major weather events. Each of events have caused significant damage and left long-lasting consequences. Let’s investigate what caused each of them.
In October 2011, the New England states were hit by an “October Surprise” storm. The storm began on October 29th, when a low pressure system formed off shore in the Atlantic Ocean. This low pressure area then moved northward towards New England and intensified as it approached land. As it reached Massachusetts, winds increased to over 70 mph and heavy rains pounded down across much of eastern Massachusetts. At its peak intensity, gusts up to 90mph were recorded along coastal areas while inland areas received more than 9 inches of rain in just 24 hours!
This powerful storm began with heavy rains that caused floods and mudslides in parts of Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Maine. It is believed that this intense weather event was caused by a combination of factors including an unusually strong jet stream from Canada, cold air aloft from northern latitudes that fueled thunderstorms, and warm ocean temperatures that provided moisture for precipitation. Warmer sea surface temperatures increased instability at lower levels in the atmosphere and all of these factors led to rapid deepening or strengthening of storms systems moving into New England, thus creating what became known as “The October Surprise” storm.
In 2012, New England experienced an extremely powerful storming event. This was largely caused by the combination of a strong low-pressure system that moved in from North Carolina and a high pressure system near Greenland. The interaction between these two weather systems created abnormally strong winds and heavy rainfall across the region, with wind speeds reaching up to 70 mph at some points.
Additionally, warm ocean temperatures provided additional energy for the storms as they traveled northward towards New England. As it reached its peak intensity, this extreme storm brought with it flooding rains and severe thunderstorms throughout much of Massachusetts and Rhode Island, causing significant damage in several areas along the coastlines due to inundation from both flash flooding as well as coastal surge associated with high tides during periods of intense winds.
Hurricane Florence was caused by a combination of weather factors that included warm ocean temperatures, low-level atmospheric steering winds, and a high pressure ridge in the Atlantic Ocean. The hurricane developed off the coast of Africa before rapidly intensifying as it moved westward across the far northern Atlantic Ocean. It eventually made landfall on September 14th near Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina as an extremely powerful Category 4 hurricane with maximum sustained wind speeds up to 140 mph (225 km/h).
When Hurricane Florence swept through New England in September 2018, it left a path of destruction that had long-lasting consequences. The storm brought tremendous amounts of rain and caused flooding throughout the region. In Massachusetts, hundreds of homes were destroyed or damaged by high winds and flooding while dozens more were evacuated due to rising waters.
Other states in New England experienced similar effects from the hurricane with Rhode Island seeing significant power outages, downed trees blocking roads, and property damage along its coastlines. Additionally, coastal areas saw extreme erosion as their sand dunes were washed away leaving many beachfront properties vulnerable to future storms’ potential impacts. Despite the devastation that occurred during this event, some communities came together for mutual aid efforts which helped mitigate further damages from occurring after Hurricane Florence passed through New England.
Severe weather events in New England over the past decade have caused significant damage and long-lasting consequences. These events were caused by a combination of various weather factors, such as warm ocean temperatures and strong low-pressure systems. As climate change continues to impact the environment, it is important to understand how and why these events occurred in order to better prepare and try to prevent them in the future.