Blizzard of 2005- 8th Anniversary

photo credit
photo credit

Of all the blizzards that have occurred in Southern New England, one that often gets overlooked is the Blizzard of 2005.  It was eight years ago today that the storm began and when it ended some areas on the South Shore were digging out from nearly 40 inches of snow (38 in Plymouth).  Not only did snow fly for days but the winds on the Cape gusted over Hurricane force.  Per the National Weather Service in Taunton, the peak wind gust during the storm was on Nantucket at 84 MPH.
NESIS storm photo.  Ranked 7th all time
There were isolated 30+ inch amounts and 20+ in central Mass, but the bulk of the storm raged over Eastern Massachusetts.  On January 21 at 7 am EST here is the 500 mb chart, courtesy of Plymouth State University NCEP/NCAR reanalysis
500 mb 1/21/05 12 UTC
24 hours later
500 mb 1/22/05 12 UTC
48 hours later (storm now raging)
500 mb 1/23/05 12 UTC
Moving to the surface here is the 1000 mb geopotential heights
1000 mb heights 1/22/05
January 22 7 PM
1000 mb heights 1/22/05 7 PM
It looks like the low pressure center went from Indiana to Virginia   In reality the first low pressure center (the one over IN) weakened and dissolved.  A new low formed on the coast due to various factors, one among them being the proximity to the gulf stream and another is the presence of the Appalachian Mountains.  The new center was able to "bomb" aka rapidly strengthen and it passed just Southeast of New England.

And on January 23rd
1000 mb height 1/23/05 12 UTC
What I remember most is the blowing and drifting snow that came with this storm.  Some on the Cape have called this the worst blizzard in 200 years, even surpassing 1978.  What stood out in 1978 was the coastal flooding that occurred over 4 straight high tide cycles.  The 2005 storm moved along at a faster pace.  You can see that the Cape receieved more snow in 05 than 78, as well SE MA.
Blizzard of 1978.  2005 rated higher
Its tough to get anyone who was alive for 78 to say any storm is greater.  2005 was certainly greater for some parts of the Commonwealth.
Marlborough Street, Boston (photo credit
Here was a Mesoscale discussion from the Storm Prediction Center
1/23/05 MD from SPC
Finally I couldn't find any great pictures of the satellite presentation, but this shows the low about to reform and bomb off the Mid Atlantic coast

Watching this weekends storm closely...


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