Nor'easter - Not just hype

TV weatherman love weather “branding”, that is weather phenomena with a name like “polar vortex” not to mention named storms.

However so-called Nor’easters do warrant special attention from mariners.

This is from the NWS: Safety National Program What is a Nor’easter?

What is a Nor’easter?


A Nor’easter is a storm along the East Coast of North America, so called because the winds over the coastal area are typically from the northeast.

The U.S. East Coast provides an ideal breeding ground for Nor’easters. During winter, the polar jet stream transports cold Arctic air southward across the plains of Canada and the United States, then eastward toward the Atlantic Ocean where warm air from the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic tries to move northward. The warm waters of the Gulf Stream help keep the coastal waters relatively mild during the winter, which in turn helps warm the cold winter air over the water. This difference in temperature between the warm air over the water and cold Arctic air over the land is the fuel that feeds Nor’easters.

To a point. But they either omit more technical terms and explanations, or dumb them down. I think they found that viewers’ eyes glazed over when they tried to explain “cyclogenesis.”

Don’t get me started on the idiocy of the “feels like temperature” they seems overly enamored of. And fear for your safety if you start with that apples to screwdrivers comparison of wind chills to temps on Mt. Everest.

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I mostly use the weather app on my phone and follow the Gray Maine NWS on Twitter but I have found WCSH Portland keeps the hype to a minimum. Also the weatherman Keith Carson often gives a few seconds to a higher level weather terms in his forecasts.

Which weather app do you use? Does it work with Android phones?

I’ve been using an app called NOAA Weather Unofficial on Android.

It’s straight NWS info with no “tuning” or whatever, which is what I want. Easy to flip between the Forecast / Hourly graph / Radar. Also scroll to the bottom for discussion.

It’s free with ads or paid without. Ads don’t bother much, they stay at the bottom.

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This one is from January of last year: January 2018 North American blizzard

GOES-16 satellite image of the blizzard rapidly deepening off the Northeastern United States at 13:45 UTC (8:45 a.m EST) on January 4, 2018.

After forming, the extratropical cyclone continued to explosively deepen, tracking northward parallel to the United States East Coast.[11] By the morning of January 4, the powerful storm system had deepened by 53 mbar (hPa; 1.57 inHg) in 21 hours—one of the fastest rates ever observed in the Western Atlantic[

The Norwegian Breakaway got caught in this storm - thread here: CRUISE SHIP CAUGHT IN A BOMB CYCLONE (Norwegian Breakaway) Youtube Video

Is it just me, or does “explosively deepen” seem like an oxymoron?

Don’t know for sure, large amount of energy building up quickly in a small area? Explosives can be used to dig holes.

I have intimate knowledge of the far side of this weather system - would that be a sou’wester? The never ending train of lows marching North, as seen on a weather fax while taking the beating of a lifetime, left a lasting impression. One of them deepened all the way below 920, I swear that is the truth. Truly horrible stuff.

I think the terms are land-based, so if you were caught at sea in the southwestern quadrant of a Nor’easter you’d have to explain it that way.

In this house a sou’wester is what my wife calls “that goofy rain hat of yours”.


You Cannot speak about the South Western without Norway.

Google Kristian Krogh

Then there is this; from Wikipedia:

Edgar Comee, of Brunswick, Maine, waged a determined battle against use of the term “nor’easter” by the press, which usage he considered “a pretentious and altogether lamentable affectation” and “the odious, even loathsome, practice of landlubbers who would be seen as salty as the sea itself”. His efforts, which included mailing hundreds of postcards, were profiled, just before his death at the age of 88, in The New Yorker .[10]

Here is the New Yorker profile from 2005 : Nor’easter by Ben McGrath

G. W. Helfrich, whose letter of September 8, 1994, to the Portland Press Herald reminds us that “New Englanders exercise considerable invention in avoiding the letter ‘r,’ ” and thereby makes the compelling case that the contraction, if there is to be one, must properly be spelled “no’theaster.”

Here is Language Log: The storm is real, the word is still fake

The word – spelled phonetically – was nawtheastah." Sailors disclaim it, too: They may say sou’wester, but never nor’easter

Another one from Language Log:“A pretentious and altogether lamentable affectation” - this one has several interesting comments.

The Grammarphobia Blog - Is a “nor’easter” full of hot air?

“The word ‘nor’easter’ is a contraction of ‘northeaster,’ a blustery storm with northeasterly winds. The storm has long been associated with New England, but the term ‘nor’easter’ isn’t native to the land of clam chowdah, according to many linguists and a great many coastal New Englanders. The locals, they say, have always pronounced the word by dropping the two r ’s, not the th , making it sound something like ‘nawtheastah.’

7 posts were split to a new topic: The Southwestern

Most “nawtheastahs” are born here on NC Outer Banks and whether the snooty New Yorker and the Yankee language police like it or not, we call them nor’easters.:yum:

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Snooty? Language Police? Maine accent nowadays is strongest now mostly among older working class, farmers, loggers and fisherman. Maybe you are thinking of the Mid-Atlantic accent?

Not thinking of the Cary Grant/Katherine Hepburn theatrical affectation referred to as Mid-Atlantic accent. I am responding to the elitist claims in your post that New Yorkers’ pronunciation of “northeaster” and Mainers’ pronunciation of “nawtheasters” are the only correct ones and that only lubberly wantabes refer to them as “nor’easters”.

The objection of Edgar Comee of Brunswick Maine and others is not the pronunciation, it’s the way it’s spelled.

Edgar Comee, of Brunswick, Maine, waged a determined battle against use of the term “nor’easter” by the press,

From Language Log

Now we can see the growth of nor’easter relative to northeaster, at least in whatever selection of published books the “American English” corpus includes:

Please forgive me for thinking that the two were somehow related and for failing to accept as gospel the constipated ramblings of a bush league newspaper editor who passed away 15 years ago. Your graph proves the point that he belonged to a minority of one.

Personally, I hang on Amanda Jellig’s every word. If she calls it a Nor’easter or a North Easter, it’s good enough for me…