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East Coast Still Experiencing Heavy Seas as Another Storm Looms

Large swells and high tides continued to batter the U.S. East Coast today as a storm that is predicted to become yet another nor’easter began to gather over the Central U.S.

A broad low pressure system that slammed the mid-Atlantic and Northeastern U.S. this weekend with flooding, massive waves, and wind gusts of up to 93 mph was still hurling rough seas and storm tides at the U.S. East Coast on Monday. Such widely-varied locations as coastal Florida and New Jersey were experiencing high water, beach erosion, raging surf and minor coastal flooding. Officials were warning people to stay off the beach and away from riled seas as crews rushed to clear debris.

The storm gained extreme intensity that was likely peaked by a number of climate change related factors including warmer than normal sea surface temperatures, a blocking high over Greenland that was likely impacted by a recent polar warming event, and higher sea levels resulting increasingly severe tidal flooding during the storm’s peak.

(A massive low pressure system that knocked out power to hundreds of thousands and flooded the Northeast coastline this weekend still churned off the U.S. East Coast on Monday — lashing shores with rough surf and minor flooding. Image source: Earth Nullschool.)

Inland, nearly a quarter million people were still without power from Virginia through Maine — down from a high of around two million at the weekend storm’s peak. However, utilities are saying that it may take days to fully restore power to some locations. As repair crews were scrambling, another major storm was starting to gather over the Great Plains — with a high pressure system across Florida drawing very moist air from over a much warmer than normal Gulf of Mexico and into the developing storm’s circulation.

Over the next 24 hours, the new storm is projected to track eastward — crossing to the Ohio River Valley region by late Tuesday. On Wednesday, the low will transition energy into a developing storm off Virginia and the Outer Banks. This low is then expected to rapidly intensify as it moves northward — developing strong onshore winds with gusts of 45-65 mph crossing coastal Delaware, New Jersey, Long Island, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts by late Wednesday and into early Thursday.

(Models show another powerful low pressure system battering the Northeast Coast with 45-65 mph winds by early Thursday. Image source: Tropical Tidbits.)

The storm is also predicted to bring heavy coastal rains and up to 1-2 feet of snow across parts of the Northeast.

Presently, the storm is not expected to be as strong as the massive system that slammed the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic this weekend. However, gale force to storm force gusts are presently predicted, and forecast storm strength has been trending toward higher intensity in recent model runs.

In addition, climate change related factors like a warmer than normal Gulf of Mexico, much warmer than normal sea surface temperatures in the Gulf Stream, higher sea levels, and a large blocking high over Greenland are contributing to this most recent storm’s expected intensity. With hundreds of thousands still recovering from this weekend’s historic storm, and with so many factors now in play that could serve to further spike a new storm’s intensity above those presently expected, this is a developing situation that bears watching.

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35 Comments

  1. bostonblorp

     /  March 5, 2018

    Monster waves crashing into Deer Island on the Boston harbor. https://streamable.com/7flmi

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    • Thanks for this. Just insane!

      The present storm is still generating amazing fetch and wave action. It’s throwing out monster waves as far away as the Caribbean.

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  2. Greg

     /  March 5, 2018

    Thanks Robert for keeping up with these storms. I lost another day of work and another tree on a shed to this storm. I entered this one on my growing personal climate change cost leger which is less and less academic and more and more significant and costly. Extend my ledger out to our country and the world this past year alone and billions and billions were spent and how many lives cut short? It’s here now, not the future. You know that. We know that on this blog but the messaging hasn’t reached a public tipping point just yet. Feels close though.

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  3. Greg

     /  March 5, 2018

    A new fleet of all-electric ferries with massive battery packs is going into production. These aren’t just retrofits but second generation fully designed from the bottom up. Another move forwars for Maritime transportation electrification
    https://electrek.co/2018/03/05/all-electric-ferries-battery-packs/

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    • Greg

       /  March 6, 2018

      And in the air transportation sector this one is notable

      Eviation Aircraft announced its all-electric Alice aircraft with range of 650 miles (nearly 1,050 km) that’s intended to revolutionize regional air travel.
      https://insideevs.com/this-electric-aircraft-features-a-900-kwh-battery-650-mile-range/

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      • Greg

         /  March 6, 2018

        Regional air transportation flights of 500 miles or less is a distance “encompassing half of the world’s 4.5 billion flights annually.” The batteries for the above accomplish this at 260 Watt hours per kilogram (Wh/kg) which is a density that engineers are increasing as innovation continues.

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      • Adding to the thread:

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      • Leveraging present infrastructure:

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      • Just want to say that it’s amazing we’re looking at electrical regional aircraft at this time. We were talking about the possibility just two years ago and now it’s happening. If these batteries keep hitting higher densities, we’ll be looking at electrical long flight aircraft soon.

        Liked by 1 person

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    • There is quite a lot going on right now in the renewables sphere. The major counter-movement to stop renewables is strong. But I don’t think it’s strong enough. It relies on harmful political interests remaining in power and continuing to sabotage an increasingly capable set of technologies.

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  4. Jeremy in Wales

     /  March 6, 2018

    When ever we build in coastal areas there is a risk that the sea will take back what it has given. In the UK look at Romney Marsh and Dungeness, Tenterden was a port now 10 miles from the sea and Stone in Oxney was an island:

    https://www.google.co.uk/maps/place/Dungeness,+Romney+Marsh+TN29+9NA/@50.9584122,0.9381416,11.22z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x47deeed7a851a7e1:0x260eae2ecb832b31!8m2!3d50.919325!4d0.96528?hl=en

    Where have we put a nuclear power station? at the tip of this promontory, on shingle! There is a fleet of lorries continuously moving shingle to stop erosion. If this area floods the power station will be marooned. This “land” did not exist in the early medieval period.

    How stupid are we?

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    • Coastal infrastructure is in trouble. How much will depend on how long we keep burning fossil fuels. Some infrastructure we might be able to defend, if we halt fossil fuel burning quick enough. But other infrastructure doesn’t make sense given what we are looking at in future. The more we are able to face, plan for, and mitigate these realities, the less harm we’ll experience.

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      • Jeremy in Wales

         /  March 6, 2018

        Decommissioning of this plant is not scheduled until 2028. The 1987 “hurricane” that hit the area did not flood the marsh as it was low tide when at its worse. Lets hope it manages to keep dodging bullets for another decade.

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  5. Dave McGinnis

     /  March 6, 2018

    Yeah, we have two in Florida, both on east-coast barrier islands, completely exposed. But the news here is of a Red Tide developing, Irma’s backhand blow.

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  6. Robert E Prue

     /  March 6, 2018

    Off topic but got to mention. There was a wild fire just west of Ashland Kansas today. Was the same time of year almost to the day when fires broke out last year. What’s concerning is it’s actually dryer this year than last year. Sure hope there’s not a repeat of last year’s fires.

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    • rhymeswithgoalie

       /  March 6, 2018

      Weren’t regular prairie fires the pre-settlement norm?

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      • Robert E Prue

         /  March 6, 2018

        Yes, prairie fires are normal. Though I don’t recall having fires in the spring in the past. Fires aren’t much of a problem if rain or snow is close to normal. It’s just been extremely dry here. Barely any precipitation here for 5 months and it’s so dry that when a fire starts up and if it’s windy, all you can do is get out of it’s way

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  7. Bob

     /  March 6, 2018

    NASA article provides new insights into permafrost melt. melting.https://climate.nasa.gov/news/2691/far-northern-permafrost-may-unleash-carbon-within-decades/#.Wp2ti7GKb0Y.facebook
    Much new information and a look into the future up to 300 years. It is not pretty. Levels of CO2 will increase to more than fifteen times our present output. No need to worry about any waterfront properties that now exist.

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    • You misinterpreted the article, Bob. They’re predicting 100 GT C by 2300. That’s an average of 330 MT C per year or less than 3 percent of the present annual human emission. Or about as much as the fossil fuel industry presently emits in 9 years for all 100 GT. If fossil fuel burning continues at the present rate through 2300, that’s more than 3,000 additional GT C.

      One of these things is not like the other, Bob.

      Read and comprehend the reports before making statements. Better yet, if you can’t make a statement that isn’t misleading, don’t make a statement at all.

      The primary source of warming is fossil fuel burning. Permafrost feedback, though troublesome, is minor compared to what happens when humans dig up carbon and burn it.

      It is imperative to stop burning fossil fuels. Anyone who can’t see that isn’t paying attention to reality. And, yes, halting that burning dramatically reduces how much ice ends up melting and how much seas end up rising.

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  8. John S

     /  March 6, 2018

    from 2 weeks ago, this is generating lots of positive commentary in microgrid forums…

    Energy Storage Gets Biggest Boost in Years. Thank you FERC.

    A recent federal ruling is likely to give energy storage its biggest boost in years, and buoy microgrids along the way, by granting storage more access to revenue from competitive wholesale electricity markets.

    https://microgridknowledge.com/energy-storage-microgrids-ferc/

    also before that, the FERC doing the opposite of what Rick Perry wanted…

    Electric Resilience to Get FERC-level Attention. But Not the Way the Trump Administration Hoped

    The commission rejected the energy secretary’s assertion that retirement of coal and nuclear plants threatens electric resilience…

    https://microgridknowledge.com/resilience-ferc/

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    • The Trump Adminisration has run into a solid wall of science and facts at every turn. Try though it might to deny it, it can’t run from the reality that renewable energy is the future and that no future worth living in sees a continuation of fossil fuel burning.

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    • In any case, you can shut down a lot of coal plants if you install 35 GW of battery storage.

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  9. wharf rat

     /  March 6, 2018

    Climate Change Has Brought The Arctic’s Spring Forward 16 Days In Just 10 Years

    According to a new study published in the journal Scientific Reports, the Arctic spring is occurring 16 days earlier than it did 10 years ago. In fact, the research suggests that for every 10 degrees north of the equator you go, spring comes an average of four days earlier. That means that those in Los Angeles will likely experience spring just a day earlier than a decade ago, while those in Chicago or Washington DC will see it arrive about four days early.

    http://www.iflscience.com/environment/climate-change-has-brought-the-arctics-spring-forward-16-days-in-just-10-years/

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  10. Atmospheric gravity waves have been mentioned here more than once. Here is a stunning illustration of them courtesy of today’s APOD, 6 Mar, 2018.
    https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/

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  11. Also, a nice discussion on Category 6 today.
    A Weaker Gulf Stream Means Trouble for Coastal New England. Bob Henson. Mar 5, 2018.

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    • It’s good to see Bob picking up on this topic.

      Worth noting that over the next few weeks in the model runs, the U.S. east coast is quite stormy. That said, the Jet appears to be flattening out and speeding up as the lower latitudes warm with the typical progression of spring. Over recent years, this has tended to snap the pole back to cooler conditions as the circum-polar winds reinforce.

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  12. Greg

     /  March 7, 2018

    A great video, courtesy of Peter Sinclair, of the benefits of wind energy to rural areas of Michigan. It’s just so dang obvious. No wonder Russia and allied interests are so scared. Share. Delightfully inspiring. We know the word “externalities” to explain the mistakes of the fossil fuel era. What is the word for the new era of free energy with ancillary benefits?

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