Date of Award

5-2011

Document Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science

Department

Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences

First Advisor

Lance F. Bosart

Abstract

Blizzard conditions occurred in the New York City metropolitan area and portions of adjacent southern New England on 26-27 December 2010 in conjunction with a strong coastal cyclone. Parts of New Jersey received over 80 cm of snow while Long Island and coastal Connecticut observed wind gusts of over 30 ms-1. The heaviest snow was concentrated along a north-south oriented mesoscale snowband that extended from coastal New Jersey northward through the New York City metropolitan area. This mesoscale snowband, which remained quasi-stationary for approximately 12 h, was associated with strong low and mid-level frontogenetical forcing. In addition to the primary band, 8 secondary bands were observed in the radar imagery which contributed to locally higher snowfall amounts and rates as the bands translated westward across Long Island. Information regarding mesoscale banding will first be discussed in order to compare and contrast this case with others. A summary of the storm's impacts will briefly be presented in order to demonstrate the storm's significance. An overview of the synoptic environment will be discussed using the 0.5º NCEP GFS analyses focusing on dynamics from a quasi-geostrophic perspective. Mesoscale features such as the persistent band over New Jersey will be identified using radar data and surface observations. The forcing behind this mesoscale band will be examined in greater detail using the GFS and 20-km RUC analyses and soundings from the NWS operational Doppler radar at Upton (KOKX), New York with emphasis on frontogenetical processes. In addition, an analysis of the strong wind gusts as they relate to an overnight spike in the low-level winds and convective mixing will also be presented.

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