CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – Historically, the last week of October brings no shortage of weather to New England. The perfect storm of 1991, the Halloween snowstorm of 2011, and Hurricane Sandy of 2012 all occurred during the last week of October, and now we are dealing with a Nor’easter.
The last week of October can be either cold with temperatures below freezing or fairly warm with temperatures above average. Regardless, this week can bring a mixture of different weather to New England.
“So a Nor’easter is a type of our coastal storm that we get. It is a storm that tracks off shore, which I’d say are a majority of them. A lot of times we associate them with snow in the winter, but when its moving off shore the winds around it come out the the northeast so its called a nor’easter,” said Joe Dellicarpini of the National Weather Service in Boston.
Compared to a storm coming from the Great Lakes region, the winds would be more be more southerly in those storms. When a Nor’easter hits New England, if the temperatures are below freezing, we will get snow and if it is above freezing and warm we will get rain.
This stormy weather is actually a common pattern that happens almost every year. In October, there is a higher frequency of Nor’easters and that is because there is a bigger temperature gradient between the northern states and the southern states. It’s cold up north, with temperatures near freezing, and its warm still near the gulf.
“When the the polar jet stream dips south into the United States, you have the ingredients in place to produce strong low pressure systems. Now, if you take on of those low pressure systems and move off the East Coast over the gulf stream, they can rapidly intensify,” said Rob Megnia of the National Weather Service in Boston.
Rob also says that if we were dealing with this storm system in January, when the temperatures are colder, we would likely be looking at a foot or so of snow instead of a few inches of rain.