March 1960 nor'easter

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - View original article

Jump to: navigation, search
A surface weather analysis of the nor'easter on March 4

The March 1960 nor'easter was a severe winter storm that impacted the Mid-Atlantic and New England regions of the United States. The storm ranked as Category 4, or "crippling", on the Northeast Snowfall Impact Scale.[1]

Synoptic history[edit]

A cold high pressure area extended from the Great Lakes to the Atlantic coast preceding the storm.[2] On March 2, a storm system in the Gulf of Mexico moved northward.[3] The low intensified as it entered the Ohio Valley on March 3, and a secondary cyclone formed near the coast of South Carolina along a coastal front. Following the development of the secondary low, the primary system strengthened slowly before dissipating around 15 hours later. The new storm rapidly strengthened; between 0600 UTC on March 3 and 1200 UTC on March 4, it deepened 45 millibars. Initially tracking quickly to the northeast, the nor'easter slowed significantly as it approached New England and reached its peak strength. Strong northeasterly flow, combined with the storm's slower forward motion, enhanced snowfall across the region.[2] The cyclone began moving away from the United States on March 5.[4] It took place during a stormy period in the affected region,[5] contributing to record snowfall totals in the southern Appalachian Mountains.[6]


The storm's impacts were wide-reaching; snow accumulated from the southeastern United States through northern New England.[1] Totals exceeding 10 in (25 cm) were reported from West Virginia to Maine, while snowfall of over 20 in (51 cm) fell in parts of eastern Massachusetts, Rhode Island, northern Connecticut, southern New Hampshire, northern New Jersey and southeastern New York.[2][5] Nantucket, Massachusetts reported 31.3 in (80 cm) of snow. Blizzard conditions organized in eastern Massachusetts, accompanied by intense winds.[2] The storm caused at least 80 fatalities and stranded thousands of residents. Schools were forced to close, and transportation was severely disrupted. Stalled vehicles on roadways hampered snow removal efforts. New York City received the most severe winter storm since 1948.[7] Many commuters in Manhattan became marooned.[8] Major airports closed during the storm, resulting in the cancellation of hundreds of flights.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "The Northeast Snowfall Impact Scale (NESIS)". National Climatic Data Center. Retrieved March 1, 2010. 
  2. ^ a b c d Kocin and Uccellini, p. 383
  3. ^ Kocin and Uccellini, p. 385
  4. ^ "Saturday, March 5, 1960 daily weather map". NOAA Central Library Data Imaging Project. March 5, 1960. Retrieved March 1, 2010. 
  5. ^ a b Kocin and Uccellini, p. 384
  6. ^ L. Baker Perry and Charles E. Konrad. "Synoptic Patterns Associated with the Record Snowfall of 1960 in the Southern Appalachians". Eastern Snow. Retrieved March 1, 2010. 
  7. ^ Staff Writer (March 4, 1960). "Savage Snowstorm Buries Northeast". The Sarasota Journal. Retrieved March 1, 2010. 
  8. ^ Staff Writer (March 4, 1960). "Coast States Severely Hit". The Southeast Missourian. Retrieved March 1, 2010. 
  9. ^ Staff Writer (March 6, 1960). "Northeast Digs Out of Big Snow". The Nevada Daily Mail. Retrieved March 1, 2010.