Southern New England Weather History - September

From the NWS Archives
Significant Weather Events for Boston and Southern New England -
Sep 2 Mercury hits 100F, 1953, second time ever in September
Sep 7 Warmest temperature ever, 102F, 1881
Second great colonial hurricane, 1675
Sep 10-11 Hurricane Edna crosses Cape Cod and give the Boston area record 5.64 inches of rain in 24 hours, 1954
Sep 12 Hurricane Donna, 1960
Sep 15 Lowest pressure 28.62 inches from "Great Atlantic Hurricane", 1944
Sep 16 Warmest low temperature, 76F, 1915
Sep 19 Coolest high temperature, 49F, 1875
Sep 21 Great New England Hurricane of 1938 kills 600+ people.  It was the  7th costliest hurricane in history with $3.6 billion (1990 currency) damage.  Highest one minute average wind velocity ever, south at   87 mph.  [SEE ALSO
Sep 27 Hurricane Gloria strikes. Over $1 billion total damage, 1985 [SEE ALSO
Sep 28 Highest pressure 30.66 inches, 1947
Sep 29 Coldest temperature, 34F, 1914

The biggest danger associated with most early autumn snow is not necessarily with travel but with the possibility for falling tree branches.  In most cases, early season snow will cause only minor inconveniences to traffic since road surfaces are still above freezing. So, unless it is snowing heavily, the snow will generally melt off highways.  Early season snowfall typically has a high water content. With surface temperatures usually near freezing, the snow will accumulate on trees and power lines. Since trees will still have leaves at this time, the additional weight of the snow can cause branches to break off and damage power lines. In some cases, this can cause power outages across a large area. The worst example of this occurred on October 4, 1987 in eastern New York and western New England (Bosart and Sanders, MWR, 1991).  Albany, New York received 8 inches of snow with up to 20 inches in the Berkshire Mountains of western Massachusetts. The heavy, wet snow caused significant damage to trees across the area.  And with branches falling on power lines, the storm produced widespread power outages with some locales without power for a week.


An Early-Season Coastal Storm:Conceptual Success and Model Failure ,

Lance F. Bosart and Frederick Sanders

An unusual early-season snowstorm dumped more than 50 cm of snow over portions of interior eastern New York and western New England on 4 October 1987. This was associated with poorly forecasted cyclogenesis. In the wake of atmospheric cooling associated with upward motion and cold advection, additional cooling associated with melting snow in a heavy precipitation region aided in the creation of a low-level dome of cold air to the west of the surface cyclone track. This allowed heavy snow to fall at low elevations. The absence of low-level warm-air advection over the snow region was crucial to the maintenance of the cold dome as relatively warm maritime air to the east was prevented from reaching the area, eroding the cold dome and changing the snow to rain.

The storm was also noteworthy because its development was in accordance with well-known qualitative quasi-geostrophic principles, but the NMC operational prediction models, while simulating the 500-mb circulation well, failed to predict accurately the storm development off the mid-Atlantic coast and its associated precipitation. An investigation of the Regional Analysis and Forecast System (RAFS) initialized fields revealed a critical underestimate of the vertically integrated moisture and lower-troposphere vorticity and divergence in the coastal baroclinic zone of the incipient storm environment at 1200 UTC 3 October 1987. Despite plentiful forcing aloft, the RAFS was never able to simulate the surface development successfully with the improperly analyzed low-level wind field and vertically integrated moisture field.

source: NWS archives


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