(Image credit: here.)
Athena, a nor’easter spawned of a powerful blocking pattern established over the Eastern US, is raking the Northeast today. A storm surge of 2-3 feet, as much as five inches of snow, winds gusting as high as 60 mph, and 1-2 inches of rain is starting to make its impact in a region still reeling from the effects of Sandy.
Over 600,000 people remain without power in the region (down from 8.5 million last week) and Athena is expected to black out another 50,000 over the next 24 hours.
Across coastal New Jersey, New York and on other beaches ravaged by Sandy, State and Federal work crews are piling up sand in an attempt to prevent tidal incursion. Most of these regions have been completely stripped of their dune lines, sea walls and other defenses which normally repel the sea in a storm. Seven foot water rises and 20 foot waves are expected to bring light to moderate tidal flooding. However, complicating the issue is the loss of sea barriers in vulnerable regions which may result in greater levels of flooding that would usually occur for this kind of storm.
Athena was named under a new National System established for strong nor’easters. With human-caused Arctic Sea Ice losses contributing to a strong Arctic Oscillation this winter, it is likely that numerous named nor’easters, packing snows, rains, storm surges and gale force winds, will harry the Northeast coast this winter. So communities and States should prepare for a rather rough winter in the wake of the worst storm ever to strike the US East Coast.