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Wximpact Boston

Page history last edited by smcandr2@... 12 years, 3 months ago

 

The City of
Boston, Massachusetts

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/67/Boston_Twilight_Panorama_3.jpg

 

 

 

Overview/Geographic Location

 

 

The great city of Boston is the capitol of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and also its largest city.  The city is located in the eastern part of the state on Boston Harbor, an inlet of Massachusetts Bay, at the mouth of the Charles River.  The city of Boston, which is located in the New England area, is the areas major city and considered the cultural/economic center for the whole New England area.  The city of Boston is located at 42° 21′ 28″ N latitude and 71° 3′ 42″ W longitude. [25]     

 

 

 

 

The city of Boston is very tightly compacted throughout.  The city has a total area of 89.6 square miles. (48.4 square miles being land and 41.2 square miles being water)  The elevation has been recorded at the Logan International Airport with it being 19 feet above sea level.  The highest point in Boston is Bellevue Hill which is 330 feet above sea level, with the lowest point obviously being at sea level. [24]

 

       

www.bostoncitylinks.com/bostonma.html

http://encarta.msn.com/encyclopedia_761557136/Boston.html

 

 


 

Transportation spatel29

 

 

The city of Boston caters a plethora of various transportation options.  As the greatest transportation service provider in the state, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority provides train, boat, subway, and bus services throughout the city. [1] With the Logan International airport, the city is able to welcome visitors from throughout the world.  [2] In addition, the Boston Department of Transportation is developing a transportation plan called Access Boston 2000 - 2010 that will be used citywide, accommodating the transportation needs of all Boston occupants.  They are even implementing a bicycle program that will make the city more accessible for bicyclists and more environmentally friendlier. [3]

[1]
[1] [1]

 

 


 

Land Use

 

   

 

         The actual city of Boston sits on a piece of land that is measured at 48.4 square miles. Approximately 600,000 people call Boston home, resulting in a population density of 12,321 people per square mile, which means that many people live in upward stretching apartment buildings as opposed to the more spacious suburban living arrangements. The surrounding area is considerably lower with surrounding deciduous and evergreen forests.  [21]

Boston is a city with many different features, including high-rising buildings. It is located directly on the Boston Harbor, and has nearly 2,200 acres of public park space. These parks are comprised of several golf courses, Frog Pong Ice Skating Rink, and the Emerald Necklace, which is a 9-park, 1,100 acre chain linked together by waterways. [29]

 

 

Fenway Park: Home of the Boston Red Sox [21]

 

 

Boston prides itself on having an amazing 36 different colleges and universities along with a nationally recognized public school system. Scattered about the city are many different attractions such as world renowned museums, famed musical performances, and not to mention a vast array of successful sport teams. [24]


Logan Airport is an excellent example of the city containing both land and water area [21]

Land Cover Classes -
Units in Square Miles
Massachussetts
11 Water 315
12 Perennial Ice Snow 0
21 Low Int Res 993
22 Hi Int res 109
23 Comm/Ind/Trans 284
31 Bare Rock 61
32 Quarries/Mines 17
33 Transitional 21
41 Deciduous Forest 2707
42 Evergreen Forest 572
43 Mixed Forest 1602
51 Shrubland 7
61 Orchards/Vineyard 5
71 Grasslands/Herbaceous 0
81 Pasture/Hay 192
82 Row Crops 286
83 Small Grains 0
84 Fallow 0
85 Urban/Recreational Grasses 256
91 Woody Wetlands 452
92 Emergent/Herb Wetlands 221
State/Region_Total

8100

 

                                                                                                                                                                                     [28]

 

 


 

Sports

 

Football: Professional football arrived in New England on November 16, 1959. The New England Patriots recently dominated the NFL world before being defeated by the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLII, 17-14. Some of their high-impact players include: Tom Brady (QB), Randy Moss (WR), Rodney Harrison (SS), and Tedy Bruschi (ILB). Even after losing the Super Bowl this past season after a perfect regular season, between 2001 and 2005, the Patriots became one of the few times in NFL history to win three Super Bowls in four years. They are still considered, arguably, the best team today. [4]

 

 

Basketball: On June 6, 1946, the Boston Celtics were born. They are currently the record holder for the most amount of championship wins of any NBA team. Out of their organization have come basketball legends such as Larry Bird. Until recently, they were considered a decent team. However, recent trades have allowed them to form a high-class group with Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, and Paul Pierce to lead the way. So far in the 2007-08 season, they hold the best record in the NBA at 50-12. They have clinched a spot in the playoffs and are considered one of the most electric teams in the league.[5]

 

 

Baseball: In 1901, the game of baseball was brought to the Boston Area in the form of the Red Sox. Currently sitting, on top of the MLB world, the Red Sox are the winners of the 2007 World Series and are currently in spring training, hoping to repeat their achievement. Led, by iconic players such as David "Big Pappi" Ortiz, Josh Beckett, Curt Schilling, Manny Ramirez, this team is one of the most all-around dominant teams in the game. With the upcoming season drawing near, they are awaiting the challenge of playing the role of the defending world champions, and of course, the always exciting games versus their historic rivals, the New York Yankees. [6]

 

 

At this point in Boston, sports fans should really have nothing to complain about.

 

 

 


 

Ecology

 

            The complex environment of Boston provides support for a number of ecosystems.  The most prominent of which arises from the Boston Harbor Islands.  This region hosts inhabitants such as fish, mammals, invertebrates and marine birds.  In particular, seals, lobsters, clams, jellyfish, crabs, and whales are commonly seen in the water of Boston Harbor while hawks, geese, doves, ducks, seagulls, herons and woodpeckers are often spotted flying overhead. [7]

 

[8] [9]

 

 

 

    Not only does Boston Harbor provide a sufficient habitat throughout the year, but the surrounding salt marshes and mud flats attract birds during their migratory period. Further inland, Boston plays hosts to terrestrial animals like cottontail rabbits, skunks, gray squirrels, raccoons, voles, mice, muskrats, Norway rats and snakes.  These animals thrive of off the balance between ample vegetation inland and marine life near shore.  The most prominent animal is the state bird the Black-Capped Chickadee which rests in trees close to the ground.  [7]

 

 


 

Topography

 

     Boston sits at the very eastern part of Massachusetts on the mouth of the Charles River. This area is known as Boston Harbor and it is the largest, one of the busiest and most influencial cities in all of New England. [18] The Charles River separates two neighborhoods from the rest of Boston, leaving Charleston on one side of the river and East Boston across Boston's Inner Harbor. [18] This river, although very large and influencial like other U.S. river systems, floods much less than other major rivers, largely due to the building up of land in the Boston area over the decades. [22] The Charles River follows a 47 mile path and joins the Mystic River from the North to form the inner Boston Harbor. [19] Other bodies of water or water systems contributing to Boston's largely water covered area are the Atlantic Ocean, the Massachusetts Bay and the Cape Cod Canal. [19]  As you can see by this view of Boston, a good portion of the city is indeed covered with water.

 

 

 

[26]

 

    While settled on somewhat hilly land, Boston has been built up in order to level out the otherwise uneven land. Landfilling has become a huge part of Boston's topographical changes over the years, filling in the areas between hills and along shorelines in order to provide more land area to build up the great city. [22] This wave of landfilling also acted as a way to absorb some of the flooding from the Charles River as well as the Atlantic ocean, acting as a natural sponge some may say. [22]  Thanks to much of this landfilling, Boston has become a very large and bustling city, something that couldn't have been done if landfilling hadn't been taking place for decades upon decades.

 

  [27]

 

 

Some other important topographical facts about Boston are:

    - Elevation: 43 ft. above sea level (not high, clearly due to the fact that the city is located ON the Atlantic Ocean) [20]

    - Land Area: 48.4 sq. miles [21]

    - Some of the major buildings in the metropolitan area are the tallest landmarks in the city and influence Boston's climate and weather events. [18]

        - The skyline of these such buildings can be seen in the second figure above.

 


Climate

 

 

 Average Rainfall for Boston, Massachusetts[10] 

 Max Temp Avg: 82.2 F July                                                                     Avg Annual Precipitation: 41.5 inches               

 Min Temp Avg: 22.1 F January                                                               (Avg Annual  Snow: 42.4 inches)[13]                                                     (Annual Max Avg: 59.0 F)                                                                        

(Avg Relative Humidity: 65.5)

(Annual Min Avg: 43.6 F)

(Annual Avg: 51.3 F)

 [11] 

(Highest Recorded Temperature: 104 F,  July 4 1911)

(Lowest Recorded Temperature: -18 F,  February 9 1934)

 [15]

 

[14]Avg Wind Speed: 12.4 Mph    (Max Wind Speed: 54 Mph)[13] 

 

 

Boston’s location near the North Atlantic gives it a Continental climate*, also known as the Nor’easter weather system, which is responsible for much of the city’s heavy precipitation and extreme weather; very hot/ humid summers and very cold/windy winters. [12] The city’s snowiest months are January and February, but the coldest month is January with its overnight temperature average of 22 degrees Fahrenheit. [10] On rare occasions, snowfalls may occur in Boston as late as May and as early as October. [12]

In relation, the city’s warmest month tends to be July, which has an average day temperature of 82 degrees Fahrenheit, while the wettest is usually November with an average precipitation of 3.98 inches, although rain is most frequent during the spring and summer months. [10] [16] Also, due to Boston’s close position to several bodies of water (Atlantic ocean, Charles and Mystic rivers), fog and high humidity are common during the summer months. [16] [12] For these reasons, Boston is considered to be one of the wettest city in the nation with its total annual precipitation of 41.5 inches. [16] With that said, the driest month for the city is July with an average precipitation

of 3.06 inches. [10]

Percentage of Sunshine for Boston, Massachusetts[10] 

Sunshine hours are the amount of sunlight available during the day. A high percentage means there is a lot of sunshine available and the sky condition is clear. In contrast, a low percentage means there is less light available and the sky condition is cloudy.  Annual Avg % of possible sunshine: 58.0% [11] [10]

 

Degree Days:

Annual heating degree days:5641

Annual cooling degree days:678

[11] 

 

How Boston’s Growing Degree Days were obtained:

 

Boston’s Growing Degree Days(GDDs) were unavailable, despite numerous attempts to find credible sources. This is most likely due to Boston being an urban area where GDDs, which usually pertain to states with a significant amount of crops/agriculture, really does not apply. However, since the web did provide a formula for figuring out GDDs, a ballpark estimate was calculated using the maximum and minimum temperature averages of each month; normally the GDDs would be calculated using the daily highs and lows, but due to time constraints and workload the monthly averages were used instead. Also, for obvious reasons, every month does not have a GDDs. For example, the months of January, February, March, April, November and December, at least when it comes to Boston, are simply too cold for there to be any crop growth/successful agricultural activities.(common crop growth Base temp. 50 degrees Fahrenheit) [32]  

 

Formula: GDD = (T High plus T Low) divided by 2, minus 50) [32] 

(T High plus T Low) divided by 2, minus 50)x(30= 365 days/12 months estimated average number of days in a month)

 

Max and Min averages source [13] 

Multiply the result of each month with 30, then add up all of the products.

May 8.2 + June 17.7 + July 23.45 + August 21.9 + September 14.8 + October 4.8 = 90.85x30 = 2725.5 = Annual Growing Degree Days 

 

Continental Climate*- a continental climate is a prevailing meteorological condition that is often associated with the Northeastern United States. It is virtually immune to the ocean’s effects(keeps temperatures mild in the winter and cool in the summer) due to winds that blow out towards the sea(off shore wind patterns). As a result of this, a continental climate is characterized by relatively extreme temperatures and high annual temperature ranges when compared to other climates, such as the Marine climate. [30] [31] 


 

 

 

Population

 

According to the 2000 US census, the population of Boston was 589,141 people, with 239,528 households, and 115,212 families residing in the city. However, during the day, commuters and suburban residents doing business in the city can cause the population to grow to 1.2 million people.

 

People of Irish descent are the largest single ethnic group in Boston, making up 15.8% of the population, followed by Italians, who are 8.3% of the population. Overall, whites make up 49% of the population, 25% are African-American, 8% are Asian-American, 1% are Native American, 4% are from other races, and 3% are from two or more races.

 

19.8% of Boston residents are under the age of 18, 16.2% are 18 to 24 years old, 35.8% are from 25 to 44, 17.8 are from 45 to 64, and 10.4% are over the age of 65. The median age for Boston residents is 31 years.

 

The median income for a household is $39,629, and the per capita income is $23,353. 19.5% of the population and 15.3% of families in Boston are below the poverty line. [17]

 

 


 

 

Significant Industries

 

 

 

Numerous industries contribute to Boston’s economy. The city first got a history of being a center for wool, textiles, clothing, and leather goods, and these industries are still significant sectors of Boston’s economy. Medicine and education are also large sectors. The Massachusetts General Hospital, which is used as the major teaching facility for both the Tufts University and Harvard University med schools, is located in Boston. There are also 10 colleges and universities, 6 technical schools, 4 art and music schools, and 6 junior colleges in Boston. With so many schools, as well as thriving sports teams and other attractions, it is no surprise that tourism also plays a large role in Boston’s economy.  With 62 historic sites and over 2,000 restaurants, Boston is one of the country’s top ten tourist attractions. Other significant industries are fishing, food processing, finance, and high technology research. In recent years, employment has shifted from high labor jobs to service industries. The following charts gives employement by the numbers:

Largest private employers Number of employees
Massachusetts General Hospital Corporation 14,907
Fidelity Investments 11,250
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center 8,568
Brigham & Women's Hospital, Inc.  8,421
Boston University 8,297
Children's Hospital 5,116
New England Medical Center 5,077
John Hancock Life Insurance Co. 4,793
Boston Medical Center 4,650
Harvard (business and medical schools) 4,557
 

 

It is clear that the largest number of employees stems from medical and educational centers, reiterating their importance to the success of Boston's economy.  In fact, Educational and Health Services account for 18% of all employment, which is tied for highest percentage with the Trade, Transporation and Utilities category. Other employment leaders are Professional and Business Services (15%), Government (12%), and Manufacturing (10%). [23]

 

       

Massachusetts General Hospital [39]                               Harvard Medical School [40]                                      Boston University [41]

 


 

 

 Industry and Economy

 

 

Located on the east coast of the United States is the proud capital city Boston, Massachusetts.  Chalk full of United States history, Boston is a very sough after tourist destination.  According to Fodor’s, Boston is on the top ten tourist destinations in the United States, with a yearly intake of around 16.3 million visitors almost 7.9 billion dollars in the city [33]    Museum of Fine Arts, Isabella Steward Gardener Museum, the Boston Public Gardens, New England Aquarium, and even the Children Museum were rated as the top attractions in the spectacular city [34].  Fodors.com notes one of the most historically rich activities includes the Freedom Trail, which is a 2 ½ mile walk around the city stopping at 16 sites that pay homage to the United State’s past; some include Faneuil Hall, Paul Revere House, Old Corner Bookstore, and Bunker Hill Monument.  However, Boston also has other key industry features, which leads to its success as a city.

 

Being located on the waterfront allows Boston to thrive in the fishing industry.  Each year, around 2 million pounds of fish are caught in Atlantic waters surrounding Boston [33].  In turn, this generates employment opportunity in food processing, packaging, and shipping.  Moreover, the fresh caught seafood leads to some of the best restaurants in Boston, which also attract tourists.  Places like Great Bay in Kenmore Square, Radius in the downtown area, and B & G Oysters, Ltd. at the south end of the city are all exceptional dining recommendations for delicious seafood [34].

 

Another benefit of Boston’s location is that it makes for a great port, which is why it possesses such a large commercial shipping industry.  In fact, it happens to be the oldest and most constantly used ports in the US exporting grain and metals, while bringing in petroleum, automobiles, and container freight [33].  In fact, according to the Massachusetts Port Authority,

 

“The Port of Boston is alive and thriving. Boston is one of the most modern and efficient container ports in the U.S.  Conley       Terminal for containerized cargo shipments and Moran Terminal, currently leased to Boston Autoport for the import and     distribution of automobiles handle more than 1.3 million tons of general cargo, 1.5 million tons of non-fuels bulk cargo and 12.8 million tons of bulk fuel cargos yearly" [35].

 

 

It is clear that location plays an enormous role for Boston, which is why is thrives in this particular industry.

               

Finally, the official website of Boston, CityofBoston.gov, describes in detail the major economic development plans, which are in effect.  Seven different services are provided, and they are:  Boston’s Back Streets, Create Boston, Life Tech, Boston’s Retail Market, Emerging Enterprises Program, ReStore Boston, and Boston’s Main Streets [36].  As indicated by their different names, each project focuses its efforts, catering to specific needs or important aspects of Boston’s economy.  For instance, Boston’s Back Streets was designed to aid small and medium-sized business financially, with land usage, and helping create diverse workforce, while ReStore Boston is more focused on revitalizing the city with new signs, interior/exterior finishes, alarm systems, new storefront doors and windows, lighting, and new awnings [36].  These plans to improve Boston will further enhance the many spectacular aspects this capital city has to offer.

 

 

 

 

                                     

                                         Bunker Hill Monument [37]                                                     Paul Revere House [38]

 

 


 

 

 

 Resources

 

[1] http://www.mbta.com/

[2] http://www.massport.com/default.aspx

[3] http://www.cityofboston.gov/transportation/accessboston/pdfs/bicycle_plan.pdf

[4] http://www.patriots.com/

[5] http://www.celtics.com/

[6] http://www.redsox.com/

[7]http://www.nps.gov/boha/naturescience/animals.htm

[8]http://www.robjagnow.com/travel/monterey05/images/CA0149.jpg

[9]http://students.umf.maine.edu/~malmstad/chikadee.png

[10]http://www.rssweather.com/climate/Massachusetts/Boston/

[11]http://www.climate-zone.com/climate/united-states/massachusetts/boston/

[12]http://www.mapsofworld.com/cities/usa/boston/boston-weather.html

[13]http://www.nrcc.cornell.edu/ccd.html 

[14]http://web.mit.edu/jonmosk/www/research/BOSclimate/BOSclimate.html

[15]http://www.erh.noaa.gov/box/climate/bosfeb.shtml

[16]http://www.city-data.com/us-cities/The-Northeast/Boston-Geography-and-Climate.html

[17]http://factfinder.census.gov/home/saff/main.html?_lang=en

[18]http://encarta.msn.com/encyclopedia_761557136/Boston.html

[19]http://encarta.msn.com/encnet/refpages/search.aspx?q=boston+bodies+of+water

[20]http://encarta.msn.com/encnet/refpages/search.aspx?q=boston+elevation

[21]http://www.city-data.com/city/Boston-Massachusetts.html

[22]http://www.universalhub.com/node/4302

[23]http://www.city-data.com/us-cities/The-Northeast/Boston-Economy.html

[24]http://massachusetts.hometownlocator.com/MA/Suffolk/Boston.cfm

[25]http://encarta.msn.com/encyclopedia_761557136/Boston.html

[26]http://bluechiprealtygroup.com/images/aerial3.jpg

[27]http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/6/63/DowntownBoston.jpg/791px-DowntownBoston.jpg

[28]http://landcover.usgs.gov/states_regions_2.php?rec=18

[29]http://www.cityofboston.gov/parks/

[30]http://www.epa.gov/hiri/resources/glossary.html

[31]http://www.ace.mmu.ac.uk/eae/Climate/Older/Continental_Climate.html

[32]http://ohioline.osu.edu/agf-fact/0101.html

[33]http://www.city-data.com/us-cities/The-Northeast/Boston-Economy.html

[34]http://www.fodors.com/world/north%20america/usa/index.html

[35]http://www.massport.com/ports/about.html

[36]http://www.cityofboston.gov/business/Eco_Dev.asp

[37]http://www.charlestownonline.net/bunkerhillmonument.htm

[38]http://www.paulreverehouse.org/

[39]http://www.fitz.cam.ac.uk/alumni/giving/useoffunds/images/us_hospital.jpg

[40]http://www.skypic.com/colleges/2-4532.jpg

[41]http://www.stateuniversity.com/assets/logo/image/302/large/boston-u.jpg

 

 


 

--Boston, Massachusetts Weather--

 

 

 

El Nino/Southern Oscillation (ENSO)

Josh Kwon: jkkwon2

 

 

    El Nino is a term that refers to a global coupled ocean-atmosphere phenomenon. The name El Niño, is spanish for "The Christ Child" because it is a condition that is usually noticed around Christmas time in the Pacific Ocean off the west coast of South America. El Niño occurs approximately every 2-3 years, usually followed by an episode of La Niño.

 

    The mechanisms which might cause an El Niño event are still being investigated. It is difficult to find patterns which may show causes or allow forecasts. As the phenomenon is located near the equator, events in both hemispheres may have an effect. As the weather events are somewhat chaotic, the onsets of El Niño-events may also be.

    ENSO is a set of specific interacting parts of a single global system of coupled ocean-atmosphere climate fluctuations that come about as a consequence of oceanic and atmospheric circulations. ENSO is demonstrably connected to seasonal, even yearly, regional climatic effects on large areas. It is the most prominent known source of inter-annual variability in weather and climate around the world, though not all areas are affected. ENSO has signatures in the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian Oceans. El Niño changes the distribution of rainfall, causing floods in some areas and drought in others. [1]

 

   The Southern Oscillation is a fluctuation in air pressure between the tropical eastern and western Pacific Ocean waters and in the intensity of the Walker Cell, which is a gigantic circulation cell that is created by the vertical motions of the from the major pressure centers in the tropical Pacific mixing with the westward surface winds creating return flow of air aloft from west to east.  When this system weakens or breaks down El Niño occurs. El Niño episodes are usually accompanied by sustained warming of the central and eastern tropical Pacific Ocean, a decrease in the strength of the Pacific Trade Winds, and a reduction in rainfall over eastern and northern Australia. It is measured through the SOI, or the Southern Oscillation Index. This is determined through pressure at Tahiti subtracted by the level of pressure at Darwin. Each amount of pressure is measured as a surface pressure expressed as a departure from its monthly normal value. When the index is negative, the high- and low- pressure centers are weaker than normal, indicative of the El Nino phase (weak trade winds). When the index is positive, the high- and low-pressure centers are stronger than normal, indicative of the La Nina phase (strong trade winds). [2]

 

    The ENSO has no direct effect on Boston, Massachusetts. El Nino is just a condition that tends to remain and have consequences on the Pacific Ocean area for the most part. The conditions required for El Nino are not for certain, so it is difficult to deternine why El Nino has no direct effect and why the conditions are not right. It could be pressure systems, humidity, temperature, but El Nino just is not apparent in Boston unless it is through a slight increase or decrease in temperature during certain times of the year.

 

 

 

 


Lake-Effect Snow

Kyle McDonald-kmcdona2

 

    Lake-effect snow occurs in the winter season.  These snowstorms produce heavy amounts of snow and can continue for several days.  They produce hazardous driving conditions and treacherous snow removal.  These events occur in the United States around the Great Lakes region.  These snowstorms are very prevalent in the winter for the states surrounding the Great Lakes region.  Lake-effect snow does not affect Boston, Massachusetts as much as it does the other states closer to the Great Lakes region, but Boston does feel the affects of Lake-effect snow occasionally from Lake Ontario.  These events are not as prevalent or harsh in the New England/Boston area because of the distance from the Great Lakes region.  The closer to the Great Lakes the more intense the snowfall becomes generally as you can see in the picture below.[16]

 

 (Picture from link 15)

    These snowstorms develop in the winter season.  First, air moves over the lake surface.  The cold air moves over the warm lake faster than it does over land.  This creates divergence.  Second, the cold air moving across the warm lake, allows heat to be transferred from the lake surface to the air above.  This therefore provides energy and the air begins to pick up water vapor.  Third, the air near the lake surface heats up and becomes unstable.  Then the clouds form while passing over the lake.  Lastly, convergence occurs near the shoreline.  With the air now unstable, the upward motion triggers additional convection and strengthens the upward air motion.  This is when the snow falls from the clouds after moving off the lake with the heaviest snow occurring right below the convergence zone.  The longer the air is over the warm lake the heavier the snow.

(Severe & Hazardous Weather, 209-210).

[20]

    Lake-effect snow doesnt have many intriguing instances, in relation to Boston.  With the majority of the snow falling in the states located around the Great Lakes, there is not really a great impact associated with Boston.  There have been various minor cases where Boston has been involved with Lake-effect snow.  Lake Ontario is the only Great Lake that has affected Boston in the past.  Lake-effect snow coming off of Lake Ontario has proved to give Boston some light snow from time to time.  The average annual snow fall from Lake-effect snow for the city of Boston is anywhere from 30-60" inches annually. [15]

 

  The lasting impact of Lake-effect snow is tremendous.  This is really what this severe weather phenomenon is known for.  These snowstorms can dump 1 to 5 feet at any given time in the winter.  These storms can last for several days.  This can make cleaning the massive amounts of snow throughout the surrounding towns very hard.  Lake-effect snow storms have also make it hard to clean up all the debris that the storm scatters throughout the towns.  For example, in Buffalo, New York there was an estimated 6-8.3 million cubic yards of debris.  This cost the city 130 million dollars to clean up the debris left by this Lake-effect storm.[22]  Obviously, Boston is quite lucky that they are not located closer to Lake Ontario or Lake-effect snowstorms would produce more than just ocassional light snow for several days.             

 

[21]                   

 

 

 


 

 

 

Floods spatel29

 

 

[3]

    The most frequently occurring source of floods in Boston is the flooding that results after landfall of tropical cyclones.  The tropical cyclones affect the entire east coast of the United States all the way down to the Gulf Coast.  The Atlantic tropical cyclone is responsible for the rainfall on the east coast and produces an exorbitant amount of rainfall in a very minute amount of time.  The abundance in rain causes rivers and streams to overflow, which can create severe flooding.

 

 

    Although unrelated to weather, there was an enormous flood of molasses in Boston on January 15, 1919 due to a faulty design in structure.  A 50 foot tall and 240 foot around tank erupted, spewing 2.3 million gallons of molasses.  The explosion created a thirty-foot waves that swept anything and everything in its path.  The Great Molasses Flood, as it is known to be called, killed 21 people, injured 150, and destroyed freight cars, automobiles, buildings, and wagons.  It is said that, even today, on a hot day, the scent of molasses fills the air.[4]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Case Study: Floods-smcandr2

 

 

 

            A recent example of flooding in Boston occurred during the month of May in 2006.  Forecasters predicted that the town would possibly receive as much rainfall as 15 inches during a relatively small time period of a few days.  This prediction translates into the possibility of the worst flooding conditions that the town experienced since the year 1936.  The flooding resulted from two major rivers located in and around Boston called the Merrimack and Charles rivers.  The rain was produced by tropical cyclones that had been correctly forecast by meteorologists.  After experiencing considerable rain, the forecasters were proven correct and the water levels in the Merrimack and Charles rivers increased dramatically.  The water levels quickly rose to roughly five feet above the flood stage and produced considerable flooding as well as sewers overflowing.  Local government was forced to evacuate the affected areas which included a large amount of senior citizens and school children.  The national government eventually brought in the coast guard to assist in relief efforts for the city by setting up sand bags and providing nutritional relief.  [33]


Thunderstorms

Katie O'Toole:  kotoole2

 

 

Frequency and Timing

 

Frequency 

Map Source:  [5]

     As marked on the map above of the US, Boston experiences between 10-30 thunderstorms in a given year.  Thunderstorms are not prevalent in Boston or the New England area for several reasons.  First, most severe thunderstorms movement is typically associated with easterly direction and flow over central United States.  Second, thunderstorms form as a result of cold front meeting a warm air mass, and although the Northeast has cold weather, there is not a predominant warm air mass, such as the Gulf of Mexico to interact with the cold air. Therefore, thunderstorm activity is low due to lack of warm air from the equation.  Lastly, thunderstorm formation is a seasonal event and occurs in the months where heating is most intense.  Boston area spring and summers are mild and not known for high heat temperatures  [5].

 

Average Temperature Range for Boston, MA

Map Source: [6]

    The average temperatures in Boston are mild with July being the warmest month with the average of high 82 degrees Fahrenheit [2].  Unlike the Central Plains of the US, the temperatures in Boston are rarely high enough for severe thunderstorm formation.

 

Days with Thunderstorms

Map Source: [7]

    The average annual days of thunderstorm activity for Boston is 5.43.  For comparison sake, Peoria, Illinois, the largest city closest to Champaign, Illinois that is tracked, reports 14.29 average annual days of thunderstorms.  Fort Myers Florida has the highest number of days of thunderstorm activity in a year with 20.  This is due to its ample supply of warm moist air from the Gulf of Mexico, and its being a on the western side of the state, which allows the direct line of the west to east weather flow [7].

 

Severe Thunderstorms

Map Source: [8]

     It is very evident from this map that the majority of severe weather occurs in Central Plains, with fewer occurrences on the east coast, and the least amount of severe thunderstorms forming in the Rocky Mountains and west coast.  Boston is not located in an area with a high incidence of severe thunderstorms.

 

 

Meteorological Development

   

    Opposed to thinking of thunderstorms as one time event, it is better to think of them as cyclic pattern that is occurring in the environment.  These weather phenomena need to be continuous in that they redistribute moisture and heat around the planet, seeking a state of equilibrium.  Most thunderstorms are not considered to be severe because that requires ¾ inch or greater hail size, winds greater than 50 knots, or a tornado; in some cases, all three will be present.  Moreover, there are four essential components, which are needed for a thunderstorm to form.  These are a moisture source, an unstable atmosphere, a lifting mechanism, and vertical wind shear (a rapid wind speed/direction change) [9].

 

    The best way to describe formation is when uplifted humid air meets the fall air in the upper atmosphere.  When the two combine, the moisture condenses to form a cloud, specifically, a cumulonimbus cloud (10-20 kilometers in height).  These clouds are composed of thunder and lightning and produce heavy rainfall [10].  As they grow in size, the water droplets within the cloud grow as well [11].  The types of thunderstorms also vary.  An airmass thunderstorm will form without vertical wind shear, and thus, last for only about an hour or so.  Since there is no wind shear involved, the cloud will collapse on itself as the downdraft components of heavy rain and cool air sink from the cloud’s base.  Mesoscale Convective Systems (MCS) are not present in Boston, for they’re responsible for the summer rain in central US; these storms are caused by lifting along weak boundaries.  Unlike airmass thunderstorms, MCS are much stronger, last longer, and tend regenerate after the original dissipates.  Contrary to MCS, frontal squall lines develop during the cool season as the result of an extratropical cyclone.  However, frontal squall lines are very similar to the squall lines in MCS.  Finally, supercell thunderstorms are the most intense and are characterized by typical thunderstorms formation elements plus updrafts 20-40 meters/second and a rotating cloud.  Supercells are responsible for practically all severe tornados [9].

 

    Clearly these types of thunderstorms are non-existent in Boston because its location (too far away from where warm, moist air from south mixes with cool air from the north), lack of high temperatures, and lack of high enough temperatures.  This is not to say that Boston has never experienced any thunderstorm; however, airmass thunderstorms, which are the weakest kind, would probably be the most popular if the temperatures became hot enough in the summer.

 

 

 Unique Aspects and Lasting Impacts

 

    Boston’s rainfall average is level throughout the year, with the lowest average in July of 3.06 inches and November being the highest with 3.98 inches.  A thunderstorm that produces heavy rain would certainly be a unique occurrence in the Boston area [12].  Boston’s location is kept somewhat insulated from peninsula that juts out from lower Massachusetts.  Atlantic Ocean breezes contribute to the relatively mild climate compares with other New England cities.  However it is these Atlantic breezes that give Boston the ranking of one of the windiest cities and contribute to the Nor’easters [13].  Since Boston is located on the North Atlantic, these Nor’easter systems, which moderate the temperature, can occasionally produce much snow and rain. 

 

    Nor’easter has become a word unto itself to describe the storms in the northeastern section of the United States.  Although most people think of nor’easters as winter blizzards, these storms can occur anytime from October through April.  These storms are names as such because it is the polar cold air masses that converge with the warm moist from the gulf area that has reached the Atlantic Ocean.  The winds rotate onto the land from the Northeast just like an extratropical cyclone [14].  Lasting impacts of these monstrosities result in coastal flooding and coastal erosion.  The importance of looking at this extratropical cyclone activity is necessary because it may result in possible severe thunderstorm formation, which is rare in Boston.  However, there is not a direct causal linkage between the two for the city at all times.

 


 

 

Tornadoes

Chris Paolinetti - cpaolin2

 

Boston does not experience many tornadoes, for the same reasons that it does not experience many thunderstorms.  After all, tornadoes only spawn from supercell thunderstorms, and without the interaction of warm and cold airmasses like that in the great plains region, thunderstorms, much less severe, rotating supercells will not form.  Most tornadoes are fueled by the warm, moist air from the Gulf of Mexico, and Boston's location on the North Atlantic does not supply the storms with the temperature nor humidity to become severe. 

 

When a tornado does strike the Boston area, however, it tends to wreak more havoc than it does in the Great Plains area.  Boston's population density is much greater than "Tornado Alley," which is mostly farmland and rural towns.  Because of the greater population density and Boston's relatively poor preparation for tornadoes, they are much more damaging.  The average 3 tornadoes per year inflict over 13 million dollars worth of damage on the area, killing 2 people and injuring 3.  Since 1950, Massachusetts has endured 628 million dollars (inflation adjusted) of damage from a total of 135 tornadoes, only 15 of which have been F3 or greater in magnitude.

 

Tornado Prevalence by Region in the United States

The entire state of Massachusetts experienced 135 tornadoes since 1950, averaging 3 per year.

(Usually, those tornadoes are relatively weak ones, as there have been no more than 15 F3+ Tornadoes in Boston since 1950.)

Source: http://www.disastercenter.com/mass/tornado.html   

 


Case Study: The Perfect Storm

Katie O'Toole:  kotoole2

 

         

    It was a storm of “epic proportions”; one in which all the right ingredients would blend together at the right time forming a monster of a storm.  Often referred to as “The Perfect Storm,” this disastrous episode destroyed the New England area on November 1, 1991.  The unusually nice weather during that time of year, should have thrown some off.   In fact, one meteorologist, Ross Dickman said, “You knew something bad was going to happen.  I remember seeing waves crashing over the seawall at Winthrop (Mass.) sending spray a hundred feet into the air. It was incredible.” [17

 

    The storm began on October 28, 1991 with the development of an extratropical cyclone off of a cold front coming from the Northeast of the US.  It’s important to note that at the time, a high pressure system stretched from the Gulf of Mexico all the way up to Greenland, which caused strong winds to blow, enhancing the waves coming off the ocean.  When the low deepened further, the intensity of the storm increased causing this unnamed extratropical cyclone to dominate the West Atlantic Ocean.  Moreover, Hurricane Grace, which had been heading southeast, turned back southwest in response to this new low, adding more strength to the turmoil.  The moisture from Grace then became incorporated along the outside of the extratropical storm, which caused the storm to intensify even further with each passing day. [18]

 

    On October 30, 1991, the storm reached its peak intensity with a pressure of 972mb and sustained wind speeds of 60 knots.  It then retrograded, which is a rare phenomenon, in that instead of heading away from the New England coast, it moved toward it.  Meteorologist Bob Case described it as, “a set of meteorological circumstances that come together maybe every 50-100 years” [17].  The storm then headed southward.  Between October 30 and October 31, winds stronger than hurricane force (around 78mph gusts in some places), annihilated Massachusetts.  Once it reached the Gulfstream on October 31, convection causing warm air to rise aloft brought the storm to subtropical status.

 

    The following day, the storm was officially a tropical cyclone of tropical storm intensity [19].  Then, on November 2, 1991, the storm was declared a hurricane with winds of 86 knots, a 4 degree (Celsius) rise in the center’s temperature, and a sea level pressure of 981 mb.  At this point, there was now a hurricane, which had formed in a very large extratropical low!  This hurricane began heading northeast to same area were the extratropical cyclone had damaged only two days prior.  It then lessened to tropical storm status hitting Halifax, Nova Scotia and dissipated within ten hours.

 

    Although the people of Northeastern United States is used to storms during the months of October and November, no one was ready to handle the extreme elements created by The Perfect Storm.  Typically, cold air masses come down and mix with the warm air of the Midwest.  However, unlike land, water is slower to lose its heat, so the Atlantic Ocean retains its stored summer heat for a longer period of time, which is why hurricanes occasionally form.  Therefore, this type weather event was not completely sporadic for the New England states, but the elements that made this storm so powerful were very rare and absolutely extraordinary.

 

    As quickly as the storm came together, especially at its peak speed of about 24 hours, forecasters did supply warnings to the New England population.  A colleague of Case’s, Walt Drag was one of those responsible for the forecasting of this storm.  Case said, “Walt had a good handle on it early and the office put out warnings of a big storm.  This is an area well known for breeding tremendous storms and we could see it coming together on the satellite images and computer model information from the national center in Washington" [17].  Unfortunately, no matter how well meteorologists can predict a storm, there will always be devastating outcomes.

 

    All along the east coast there was major coastal flooding and erosion of the beaches.  Business, homes, boats, seawalls, boardwalks, and stores were destroyed and completely wiped out.  Particular to Massachusetts, were declared federal disasters in seven different counties, which consisted of Barnstable, Dukes, Nantucket, Essex, Plymouth, Norfolk, and Suffolk County.  Our city of interest, Boston, lies within the Suffolk county region.  In fact, just south of Boston, rain fell for 3 days straight.  The tide levels in Boston were 14.1 feet, which was just 1 foot below the tide levels that occurred during the “Blizzard of 1978.”  Total damages linger in the $100,000,000’s in this state alone. [18]

 

Sequential Infrared Images of The Perfect Storm

Source: [18]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

October 29, 1991 at 1800 UTC                                                      October 30, 1991 at 1200 UTC

October 31, 1991 at 1200 UTC                                                      November 1, 1991 at 600 UTC

 

 


 

Heat Waves

By Jae H. Choi(jchoi54@uiuc.edu)

 

 

 

Frequency and time of the year: Boston has experienced heat waves throughout its history, but heat waves do not occur often enough for it to be considered a frequent weather phenomenon. For the most part, heat waves are irregular in Boston due to the city’s varying weather pattern. This also contributes to the rather large number of deaths attributed to heat waves, because the population and city officials do not have the knowledge or experience nor the proper logistics to deal with something they experience every so often. Many other Northeastern, as well as Midwestern cities, such as New York, Philadelphia and Chicago share similar conditions and outcomes when dealing with intense heat waves. In contrast, cities located in tropical areas with Marine climates, tend to have much lower fatalities despite their warmer climates, which suggests cities located in these areas have infrastructures and procedures that appropriately deal with heat waves due to their regular exposure to higher temperatures. [24] When heat waves do happen in Boston, they tend to develop and occur during the "Dog Days" (July to August) of Summer. [25] This makes sense since Boston’s warmest days are usually in July and August. [26] 

 

Unique aspect: Due to Boston’s location near several bodies of water (Atlantic ocean, Charles and Mystic rivers), its heat waves are usually accompanied by high humidity. [27] 

 

Development: One of the major and likely cause for a Boston heat wave is the "Urban Heat Island Effect." 

1. Self heating of cities by the heat generated by their own power use

2. The asphalt and concrete absorbs and stores solar radiation during the day, then releases this energy when the sunsets, increasing energy use at night.

3. The lack of vegetation means there will be slow or no cooling by latent heat consumption.

4. Tall buildings act like canyons by reflecting sun light which increases the likelihood that solar radiation will be absorbed with its encounter with horizontal and vertical surfaces.

[9]

 

Heat wave aftermath (2001 & 2006 Northeastern heat waves): Starting from 2006, to prevent heat related fatalities and health problems the city has opened numerous cooling centers, and extended public pool hours. In addition, several hotlines have been established to provide aid to those in need; like the elderly and poor. Also, to ensure the safety and well being of everyone in the city, warning letters and notices are mailed to every address with procedures and information to help people fight the heat and obtain aid if they are needed. [23] 

 

 

 

 

 

Lightning

By: Ashley Nystrom, anystro2

 

 

Frequency

 

Lightning is a very frequent and recurring weather event in the world impacting many areas and striking on average 100 times each second on our planet [9]. Although very prevalent in many US areas, Lightning does not strike very frequently in Boston, MA. As depicted by the 5-year lightning strike map of the US below between 1996 and 2000 lightning struck in Boston on average between .25 and 1 time per square kilometer per year [28]. When lightning is seen in Boston, it occurs in summer and early fall, as fall is the most prevalent time for thunderstorms. However, as stated previously in the “Thunderstorms” section, the weather in Boston is very mild and does not support the conditions for thunderstorms, and therefore lightning, to occur very often. The explanations for this are clearly depicted in the charts and maps in the “Thunderstorms” section.

 

                                                                                 

 

 

 

Meteorological Formation

 

Lightning refers to one of the many forms of visible discharge produced by thunderstorms [29].  Before a lightning stroke occurs, the top of the thunderstorm and the anvil are overrunning with positive ions (positively charged), the bottom of the storm has excess negative ions (negatively charged) and the ground beneath the storm is also positively charged while the ground beneath the anvil is negatively charged [9]. This distribution can be seen in the picture below [30].  It is important to understand this charge distribution within the thunderstorms before examining how it gets that way by the two main types of charging of the cloud; Interface Charging and Induction Charging.

 

 

                                                                                          

 

 

Interface Charging

 

Interface Charging, otherwise known as non-inductive charging, involves the differences in surface properties of two conductors within thunderstorms; ice crystals and hailstones/graupel. Although both are ice, they have different surface properties and these properties are different enough that a charge potential exists between the two [9]. When the two ice formations collide with each other within the cloud, negatively charged ions will jump from the small ice particle to the larger ice particle. This leaves the larger particles (which fall faster) negatively charged while the small particles (with a lower falling speed) become positively charged. These small, light, positively charged ice particles get carried up to the anvil of the storm while the large, negatively charged ice particles fall to the bottom of the storm [9]. This process continues on, leaving the bottom of the storm negatively charged and the top of the storm positively charged.

 

Induction Charging

 

This feedback mechanism acts to accelerate the charging process that interface charging has begun [9]. The separating of small, positively charged particles rising and the large, negatively charged particles falling, creates an electric field in the cloud that influences all the particles in it [9]. This field causes the negatively charged ions in each particle to turn towards the positively charged, upper part of the cloud. This happens each time a small ice particle collides with a large ice particle and the negative ions on the small particle jump to the larger one. With each collision of these particles the electric field within the cloud grows stronger, ultimately creating the charge distribution shown in the figure above.

 

After these charging mechanisms do their jobs, the cloud is ready to produce its lightning. This lightning can take many forms, although as humans we generally think it only occurs between the cloud and the ground.

 

 

 

Types of Lightning

 

1) In-Cloud Lightning: Lightning occurs within the cloud, between areas of negatively charged particles and positively charged particles [9]

2) Cloud-to-Cloud Lightning: Accounts for 80% of lightning strokes, can occur between negative and positive regions of the clouds, the main body or in the anvil [9]

3) Cloud-to-Ground Lightning: The electric field in a local area of the storm gets to certain strength, electrons move freely towards the ground creating a “ladder” from the cloud to the ground. Positive charges jump from rain droplets within the cloud to meet these electrons on the ladder. This creates lightning between the ground and the cloud. In the image below, multiple cloud-to-ground lightning strikes are occurring [31].

 

 

Uniqueness to Boston

 

 

As it was said before, Boston generally has too mild of a climate to form thunderstorms and therefore lightning. For this reason, lightning doesn’t necessarily have any uniqueness when it comes to Boston, other than the fact that it is rare. Boston happens to be located in one of the areas of the US where lightning is almost unheard of and that seems to be its only unique quality in respect to Boston.

 

Impacts

 

While rare to see in Boston, lightning has made a few impacts on the city. From information recorded between the years of 1959 and 1994, Massachusetts alone reported 355 lighting caused deaths or injuries. It is unknown how many of those deaths occurred in Boston itself [32]. According to this same information, in that 1959-1994 time span, Massachusetts was the thirteenth leading state for lightning deaths and injuries [32]. It is still uncertain how many deaths have been reported in Boston due to lightning strikes, but the ones that have been reported through Massachusetts are accounted for mostly by the outdoors mentality of its citizens. The mild weather and beautiful scenery provide a wonderful outdoors experience, one that people need to be more cautious of in this area. Because although lightning rarely strikes here, it is still the same danger to its inhabitants as it is to everyone else in the US.

 

 

 

                                                                

 

 

 

Cold Waves -smcandr2

 

 

General Information:

 

Meteorologists use the phrase “cold waves” when discussing an inflow of uncommonly cold air into the middle and lower altitudes.  The cold air affects an area larger than that covered by any other winter hazard such as blizzards.  As a result, the temperature rapidly decreases and leaves the area with considerable loss in terms of fatalities and economic effects.  Although cold waves are marked by a temperature decrease, the actual temperature does not act as the only factor in determining the presence of a cold wave.  The key point involves how greatly the temperature deviates from the temperature level considered common for an area during a particular time of the year.  Thus, the temperature level during a cold wave in Hawaii will differ greatly from the temperature level during a cold wave in Alaska.   Common lasting impacts from cold waves include death resulting from hypothermia and agricultural losses sustained by farmers who lose the majority of their crop due to the temperature equilibrium of crops interrupted by unusually low temperatures. The Center for Disease control and prevention forecasts that roughly 600 deaths per year occur because of hypothermia but only a percentage of those deaths result directly from cold waves.  In accordance with its definition, cold waves maintain the capability of occurring virtually at any time during the year, yet they transpire with greater volume and frequency during the winter and early spring months. [9]

 

 

 

Meteorological Formation:

 

For a cold wave to occur, several environmental factors need to transpire.  The first factor regards the formation of a cold airmass.  This process begins when a high-pressure center forms during the winter months in higher latitudes.  As a result of the Earth’s angle with respect to the sun, polar regions experience significantly longer nights relative to the amount of daytime and sunlight that they receive.  When long polar nights become coupled with light winds and minimal cloud cover, considerable cooling occurs.  This cooling occurs because the light winds enable airmass formation in an already cold area that becomes colder when any amount of heating from the sun during the day is lost through infrared radiation due to lack of cloud cover.  As the air in the polar regions cools, it becomes increasingly more dense and in doing so increases the surface pressure.  Consequently, a continental polar airmass forms.  The second key factor involves the movement of the continental polar airmass southward to the middle altitudes located in North America.  The rate of the movement of a continental polar airmass directly correlates with the airmass relative intensity in terms of a cold wave for a given area.  Thus, the more rapidly the airmass reaches a southerly location, the greater the intensity of the cold wave will be since it receives less heat from other sources such as land surfaces or the sun.  Commonly, polar airmasses reach regions like Boston, Massachusetts due to strong cyclones forming along the east coast.  The cyclones assist in transporting cold air southward because the western side of a cyclone naturally rotates towards that direction.  Additionally, this process deepens the upper air trough located over the east coast and magnifies the jetstream flow traveling southward which further enhances the upstream ridge.  Ultimately, cold waves in Boston occur as the result of a combination of specific atmospheric events. [9]   

 

 

Unique Aspects and Lasting Effects: 

  Because Boston frequently experiences colder weather during winter months, homes and other buildings located within the city are properly insulated and constructed to withstand cold temperatures.  Accordingly, fatalities resulting from hypothermia are substantially less than other areas affected by cold waves.  Additionally, Boston is not a major agricultural area so cold waves have little if any affect in terms of economics.  The most unique recent example of cold waves that affected Boston occurred in January and February of 2004.  The cold wave resulted from a large amount of cold dense air that formed in Canada.  Unlike the majority of cold waves that rely on a major upper air ridge for transportation, the cold wave reached Boston by becoming so dense that it traveled underneath the upper air flow.  The movement southward was enhanced by cyclones located along the east coast as previously discussed.  As a result, Boston’s residents suffered temperatures that reached as low as negative thirty degrees Fahrenheit.  However, little to no lasting effects exist due to the fact that Boston typically experiences low temperatures and cold waves and prepares for them.  [9]

 

 


 

 Blizzards

 

 

        Being in the New England region, Boston, Massachusetts is no stranger to its fair share of snowfall. With an average annual snowfall of approximately 40 inches per year, has a moderate precipitation of snow per year. Being on the Eastern coast, the city is not subject to much lake-effect snow, so the majority of snowfall is the result of extratropical cyclones that mixes with rapidly cooled air from arctic fronts in Canada. This air, known as an Alberta clipper, can be as cold as –40 ºC, but will generally only bring 2-5 inches of snow with it. [9]

 

 

 

 

        According to the National Weather Service, a blizzard is only considered a blizzard once winds exceed 35 mph, visibility is reduced to less than ¼ mile and snowfall lasts for 3 hours. Considering this, much snow precipitation is not considered a blizzard at all. In fact, the continental United States only experiences an average of 11 blizzards per year, many of which occur on the Great Plains. [41] Consequently, Boston is not subject to a prevalent number of blizzards, having only experienced about 10 blizzards in the past 50 years. Even so, it is still at risk for them when the conditions are right. Never had Boston seen a more destructive, severe blizzard than it did during the winter of 1978.

 

[40]                     [39]

 

Case Study: The Boston Blizzard of 1978

 

 

        On the days of February 6th and 7th, 1978, the largest blizzard in Boston’s history wreaked havoc on the city and the surrounding area. Approximately 27 inches of snow fell to the ground, but this was only part of the reason for all the destruction that was responsible for paralyzing the city for a week. On top of the precipitation, the seas also swelled to over 20 feet from their normal levels and snow drifts piled to 15 feet, which were both caused by winds that blew at 86 miles per hour and even gusted up to 111 miles per hour! (The same speeds as a category 1 hurricane) All of these components, along with scattered hailstorms resulted in $202 million worth of damage and was responsible for the deaths of 29 people. 9,000 homes were damaged and over 2,000 were completely destroyed from a combination of all of the blizzard components. [39]

 

 

 

 

 

[42] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yRvvnDy2GFo&feature=related

 

        The reason for such unusual weather was due to a Canadian high and a low-pressure zone in North Carolina that was moving northward. This caused the storm to move back north and east over the greater Boston area. While a snow watch had been issued for the area, not many people expected record-breaking snowfall many were only notified to expect 6 inches of snow. For help and support, nearly 5,000 National Guardsmen were dispatched to the area in order to help people that had been stranded. Nearly 100,000 calls for assistance were made during the 33-hour storm, and 17,000 people were reported to be fleeing to established shelters. [41]

 

        On top of that, the State Police, Department of Public Works, American Red Cross, the Metropolitan Distric Commission, the Department of Public Welfare and the Department of Environmental Quality Engineering. While this help was available, the mounting snow in the city made many roads impassible to those that were trying to send relief to those still trapped in the storm. To make problems even worse, in the middle of the storm, it was discovered that a 2-million gallon gasoline tank was leaking in the city and the entire area had to be evacuated. In order to keep the gas from draining into the nearby sewer system, an enormous trench had to be dug up in the middle of the city to contain the leak. Not only did this pose an increased threat for people in the city, but it took away from relief efforts for other parts of the city. In total 27 pieces of army equipment were used to clear the streets, and a lot of these were taken away in order to fix the gasoline problem.[40]

 


 

 

 

 Drought

 

By: Neena Vasavan, vasavan2

 

 

 How drought develops:  Droughts are a fascinating weather phenomenon because they are so mysterious. Though the idea of drought brings to mind a water shortage or minimal to no precipitation in a given area, there is no true definition of the term. This is because everything is relative when it comes to drought. What may be considered normal amounts of rainfall in sandy, desert areas would be the called extreme drought in the Northeastern U.S., particularly in the Boston area. Also, droughts are enigmatic because meteorologists are still unsure what exactly triggers a drought, as well as what can cause one to come to an end. Typical weather forecasts are often proven false when a drought is occurring. [9] However, certain atmospheric conditions do help cause and maintain droughts. Because water vapor condenses when air rises, high pressure conditions are one factor that causes no rain to occur. High air pressure causes air to sink as opposed to rise, and also creates clear, cloudless skies. Mountains can also be a factor in preventing an area from receiving rain, because they force the air to climb over and therefore lose a significant amount of its moisture. The Appalachians could have this effect on parts of the Northeast; however, it is unlikely Boston will experience drought due to this because the city is located to the east of the mountains, which is closer to the ocean.[32]  

 

Frequency of these types of events/time of year: In the central and eastern part of the country, drought occurs in the spring and summer. [9]  Drought is rare in the Boston area. The following graph shows the drought percentages from April 15, 2008 all the way to April 17, 2007.

 

 

As you can see, the percentages for “no drought” are generally in the mid to upper 90s, showing that moisture has been the norm for the past year. [33] General climate trends show that “precipitation has generally increased, with trends greater than 20% over the last 100 years occurring in much of the region. Precipitation extremes appear to be increasing while the amount of land area experiencing drought appears to be decreasing.” [34] However, mild drought in the Northeast area is not unheard of. The following graph shows a map of the Massachusetts area in 2007 [35].

 

 

 

Most of the area is shaded in the “advisory” category, which would be considered mild drought. Also, as previously mentioned, drought is always relative. Recent droughts in the Northeast area are outlined in the next section.

 

Unique aspects of the event to city/area and lasting impacts: Droughts in the Northeast area are unique because they are not what a typical person would consider a “drought” because they are fairly mild strings of little to no precipitation, but drought in the Northeast does not have any extraordinarily different characteristics from drought in other areas. A recent  drought occurred in the summer of 2002 in the area. “September 2001-February 2002 ranked as the second driest such six-month period for the Northeast.” This can be seen by the following graph [36]:

 

In an August 17, 2007 article,  USAToday wrote “The drought parching the Northeast, already one of the worst in decades, continues to lower groundwater levels, damage crops and force states to increase water restrictions. And experts say the end is nowhere in sight.” As stated, the drought was the nearly record setting and had negative effects on the crops of the areas. [37]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Resources

 

[1] http://ess.geology.ufl.edu/usra_esse/el_nino.html

[2] http://www.john-daly.com/elnino.htm

[3] http://www.nytimes.com/2006/05/16/us/16flood.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

[4] http://www.cnn.com/2004/US/Northeast/01/23/molasses.flood.ap/

[5] http://www.eoearth.org/article/Thunderstorm

[6]http://www.rssweather.com/climate/Massachusetts/Boston/

[7] http://www.weatherpages.com/variety/thunderstorms.html

[8]http://www.spc.noaa.gov/climo/online/grids/index.html

[9] Rauber, R.M., Walsh, J.E., & Charlevoix, D.J. Severe & Hazardous Weather. Dubuque, IA: Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company, 2005.

[10] http://www.weather.com/encyclopedia/thunder/form.html

[11] http://schools.sd68.bc.ca/fore/ireland/2006/jr/howdothunderstormsform.html

[12] http://www.rssweather.com/climate/Massachusetts/Boston/

[13 ]http://www.city-data.com/us-cities/The-Northeast/Boston-Geography-and-Climate.html

[14] http://www.mcwar.org/articles/noreasters/NorEasters.html

[15] http://www-das.uwyo.edu/~geerts/cwx/notes/chap10/lake_effect_snow.html

[16]http://www.weather.com/encyclopedia/winter/lake.html

[17] http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories/s444.htm

[18]http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/satellite/satelliteseye/cyclones/pfctstorm91/pfctstorm.html

[19] http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/satellite/satelliteseye/hurricanes/unnamed91/unnamed91.html

[20] http://www.weatherquestions.com/What_causes_lake_effect_snow.htm

[21] http://www.atmos.millersville.edu/~lead/Lake_Effect_Home.html

[22] http://www.erh.noaa.gov/er/buf/lakeffect/lake0102/b/stormb.html

[23] http://www.cityofboston.gov/mayor/pdfs/heat7-31-06.pdf

[24] http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2005/s2366.htm

[25] http://www.crh.noaa.gov/gjt/?n=dogdays 

[26] http://www.rssweather.com/climate/Massachusetts/Boston/

[27] http://www.city-data.com/us-cities/The-Northeast/Boston-Geography-and-Climate.html

[28] http://www.lightningsafety.noaa.gov/lightning_map.htm

[29] http://sky-fire.tv/index.cgi/lightning.html

[30]http://apollo.lsc.vsc.edu/classes/met130/notes/chapter14/graphics/charge_distribution.jpg&imgrefurl=http://apollo.lsc.vsc.edu/classes/met130/notes/chapter14/charge_distribution.html

[31] http://www.nasa.gov/images/content/118608main_thunderstorm.jpg

[32] http://library.thinkquest.org/C003603/english/droughts/causesofdroughts.shtml

[33] http://www.drought.unl.edu/dm/DM_northeast.htm

[34]http://www.usgcrp.gov/usgcrp/Library/nationalassessment/overviewnortheast.htm

[35]http://www.mass.gov/dcr/waterSupply/rainfall/images/drought_map2007.jpg

[36]http://lwf.ncdc.noaa.gov/img/climate/research/2002/ann/spi06_200202_pg.gif 

[37] http://www.usatoday.com/weather/news/2002/2002-08-17-northeast-drought.htm

[38] http://www.geocities.com/frank754/bliz78.html

[39] http://www.hurricanes-blizzards-noreasters.com/78blizzard.html

[40] http://www.mass.gov/?pageID=eopsmodulechunk&L=3&L0=Home

[41] https://www.bsu.edu/news/article/0,1370,-1019-4447,00.html

[42] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yRvvnDy2GFo&feature=related

 


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