February 18, 2013 - Winter storm over the Northeast (night time thermal image)
On February 9, 2013 a powerful blizzard brought strong winds and heavy show to the northeastern United States. Warm, moist air blowing from the Gulf of Mexico collided with cold air from Canada, resulting in impressive snow accumulation, and blinding conditions caused by fiercely blowing snow.
The storm system, dubbed “Nemo”, was a typical nor’easter, a cyclone forming around a low pressure system and fueled by cold air. Affecting the northeast coast of North America from Virginia to Canada, such storms rotate counter-clockwise, causing the leading winds to blow onshore from the northeast.
The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard NASA’s Terra satellite pass over the region on the night of February 9 at 7:25 UTC (2:25 a.m. EST), allowing the thermal sensors on the instrument to capture this stunning image of the swirling storm. At this time, the storm center is located east of Massachusetts.
The Blizzard of 2013 caused at least 4 deaths, power outages to thousands, and the cancellations of at least 4,000 flights. Snowfalls were the highest since a record-setting blizzard which hit the region in 1978. Some of the heaviest snowfalls were recorded in southern Connecticut where totals over 30 inches (90 cm) were reported in several cities, including nearly one meter (38 inches) in Milford, according to the National Weather Service. Despite the intensity of the storm, it was not the deadliest nor’easter to hit the region. A storm in 1950 killed more than 350 people along the East Coast, and in 1888 approximately 400 people, mostly New Yorkers, were killed in a fierce nor’easter.