Great Appalachian Storm of November 1950
Infobox winter storm|name=Great Appalachian Storm of November 1950
November 24 1950
November 30 1950
maximum amount=57 inches (145 cm)
total damages (USD)=$66.7 million (1950 dollars)National Climatic Data Center. [http://www1.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/orders/A7D756B2-23BA-E264-3117-B74DC625363E.PDF Climatological Data: National Summary 1950.] Retrieved 2006-11-26.]
areas affected=Eastern Third of the United States and Southeast Canada
The Great Appalachian Storm of November 1950 was a large
extratropical cyclonewhich moved through the Eastern United States, causing significant winds, heavy rains east of the Appalachians, and blizzardconditions along the western slopes of the mountain chain. Power was out to more than 1,000,000 customers during this event. In all, the storm impacted 22 states, killing 353, and creating US$66.7 million in damage (1950 dollars). [National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. [http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories/s334c.htm NOAA'S TOP U. S. WEATHER, WATER AND CLIMATE EVENTS OF THE 20TH CENTURY.] Retrieved on 2006-11-25.] At the time, U.S. insurancecompanies paid more money out to their policy holders for damage resulting from this cyclone than for any other previous storm or hurricane.
The preceding atmospheric state was one of
La Niñaconditions, the cold phase of ENSO, which favors a storm track from the Ohio and Tennessee Valleys into the Appalachians. [Joe D'Aleo. [http://www.intellicast.com/DrDewpoint/Library/1101/ SOME MEMORABLE LA NINA NOVEMBER STORMS.] Retrieved on 2006-11-25.] The cycloneinitially formed in southeast North Carolinanear a cold front on the morning of November 24as the main cyclone over the Great Lakesweakened. Rapid development ensued as the surface center began to migrate back into a closed 500 hPa (14.75 inHg)-level (around 6,000 m/20,000 ft above sea level) cyclone, and the cyclone bombed while moving north through Washington, D.C.the next morning. The former occluded front to its northwest became a warm front which moved back to the west around the strengthening, and now dominant, southern low pressure center. By the evening of November 25, the cyclone retrograded, or moved northwestward, into Ohiodue to a blocking ridge up across eastern Canada. It was at this time that the pressure gradient was its most intense across southern New Englandand eastern New York. The cyclone moved west over Lake Erieto the north of the upper cyclone before looping over Ohio as the low-level and mid-level cyclone centers coupled. Significant convection within its comma head led to the development of a warm seclusion, or a pocket of low level warm air, near its center which aided in further development due to the increased lapse rates a warmer low level environment affords under a cold low. After the system became stacked with height, the storm slowly spun down as it drifted north and northeast into eastern Canada over the succeeding few days. [Clarence D. Smith, Jr. [http://docs.lib.noaa.gov/rescue/mwr/078/mwr-078-11-0204.pdf The Destructive Storm of November 25-27, 1950.] Retrieved on 2006-11-25.]
United States effects
extratropical cyclonerapidly deepened as it moved up the eastern side of the Appalachians during November 24and November 25and continued into November 27. Coastal flooding was seen along the U.S. coastline from New Jerseynorthward.
An all-time record low for November was set at Louisville (-1˚F).
Concord record a wind gust of 110 mph (177 km/h) during the height of the storm. Winds at Mount Washington reached 160 mph (257 km/h).
Wind gusts to 108 mph (174 km/h) struck
Newark, New Jersey.USA Today. [http://www.usatoday.com/weather/news/1998/wnov1113.htm 'November Witches' Batter Great Lakes.] Retrieved on 2006-11-25.]
Sustained winds of 50-60 mph (80-100 km/h) with gusts to 83 mph were recorded at
Albany, New York. A wind gust of 94 mph was recorded in New York City. Extensive damage was caused by the wind across New York, including massive tree fall and power outages. [Old Farmers Almanac. [http://www.almanac.com/newsletter/sample/index.php Weather -- Thanksgiving Storms.] Retrieved on 2006-11-25.] Coastal flooding breached dikes at LaGuardia Airport, flooding the runways. [Richard Monastersky. [http://www.sciencenews.org/pages/sn_arc99/8_28_99/bob1.htm Acclimating to a Warmer World.] Retrieved on 2006-11-26.] Flooding extended to New York City's Office of Emergency Management on the Lower East Side, in Manhattan. [Alexis S. Nussbaum. [http://www.climate.org/topics/weather/new_york_severe_storm_threat.shtml Powerful Hurricanes and Northeasters: Threat to the Big Apple.] Retrieved on 2006-11-26.]
On the storm's west side, nearly a foot of snow fell on
Dayton, Ohio, which combined with the wind and cold temperatures, became their worst blizzard on record. [Weather Channel. [http://www.weather.com/newscenter/specialreports/sotc/storm8/page1.html Storms of the Century: #8 – November 1950 "Appalachian Storm."] Retrieved on 2006-11-25.] Nearly the entire state was blanketed with 10 inches of snow, with 20-30 inches (50-75 cm) being measured in eastern sections of Ohio. The highest report was 44 inches (112 cm) from Steubenville. [Ron Hahn. [http://sheridan.geog.kent.edu/owon/history/nov/november.htm November.] Retrieved on 2006-11-26.] Snow drifts were up to 25 feet (7.6 m) deep. Winds exceeded 40 mph (65 km/h) with gusts as high as 60 mph (96 km/h). Bulldozers were used to clear roads. [Ohio History. [http://www.ohiohistory.org/etcetera/exhibits/swio/pages/content/1950_thanksgivingStorm.htm November 23-27, 1950: Great Thanksgiving Storm.] Retrieved on 2006-11-26.] Despite the high winds and snow, the annual football game between the University of Michigan and Ohio State University went on as scheduled in Columbus and was nicknamed the Snow Bowl. When the snow melted during the first four days of December, river flooding occurred in Cincinnati.
During the reign of the storm, record to near-record flooding occurred along the eastern side of the Appalachians across eastern and central sections of the state. The Schuylkill at Fairmont Dam reached its highest stage since
1902. In Pittsburgh, 30.5 inches (77.5 cm) of snow accumulated from this cyclone. Tanks were used to clear the resultant snow. [Remember Pittsburgh. [http://www.rememberpittsburgh.org/3087.html Snow Disaster.] Retrieved on 2006-11-26.] When a warm spell visited the region during the first four days of December, river flooding struck Pittsburgh.
Parkersburg recorded 34.4 inches (87.3 cm) of snowfall during the passage of this low, which exceeded its snowiest November on record by over 5 inches. Pickens reported the highest amount from anywhere within the cyclone, with 57 inches (145 cm) measured. November 1950 became
West Virginia's snowiest month on record. [National Climatic Data Center. [http://lwf.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/research/2003/feb/st046dv00pcp200302.html Climate of 2003 - February West Virginia Drought.] Retrieved on 2006-11-26.] This remarkably heavy snow led to 160 deaths.
Effects in Canada
This system was a major snowstorm for the area, with 12 inches (30.5 cm) in
Torontoon November 24. This set a record for single-day snowfall in November. [Weather Doctor. [http://www.islandnet.com/~see/weather/almanac/diarynov.htm Significant Weather Events: Canada.] Retrieved on 2006-11-26.]
This cyclone was used as a test case for some of the first attempts at numerical modeling of the atmosphere, and is still used as a case study to run recent versions of forecast models. These studies helped create what is now known as the
National Centers for Environmental Prediction. [Robert E. Kistler, Louis Uccellini, and Paul J. Kocin. [http://ams.confex.com/ams/84Annual/techprogram/paper_73168.htm Thanksgiving Weekend Storm of 1950.] Retrieved on 2006-11-25.]
Other similar storms
Storms during the time frames November 8-10, 1913, October 22-25, 1923, and November 19-22, 1952 were considered analogous to this cyclone. [Clarence D. Smith, Jr. and Charlotte L. Roe [http://docs.lib.noaa.gov/rescue/mwr/080/text/mwr-080-11-0227.txt COMPARISONS BETWEEN THE STORMS OF NOVEMBER 20-22, 1952, AND NOVEMBER 25-27, 1950.] Retrieved on 2006-11-25.] Despite their similarities, there are some differences. For example, the 1913 event was much more destructive to
Great Lakesshipping, while the 1950 storm caused greater snowfall amounts.
Great Lakes Storm of 1913
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