September 11th, 2001: Hurricane Erin missed the East Coast

First in a series of posts about how weather impacted events in our history.

September 11th, 2001 was a day we would like to forget. Yet, just like a lot of historical events in history, weather played a critical role.

The surface map shows the weather map at 7am on September 11th, 2001.  In the blue, we can see a massive round high-pressure system in the Mid-West this gave us and most of the country a beautiful, clear blue sky day. In red is a cold front that had moved through the night before which actually gave NYC rain that night. Also, just to the east in the Atlantic was Hurricane Erin. Erin was threatening the East Coast until that cold front swept it way out to sea.  It’s very possible that IF that cold front had not pushed through Erin would have threatened the East Coast with at least high, thick clouds all down the Eastern seaboard. This could have either thrown off the attackers and given authorities more time to uncover the attack. It was close to being a ring for the FBI and CIA.  They were about to grab some of the attackers.

Yet, it was a beautiful sunny day.  Hurricane Erin missed the East Coast.

Until 8:46am.  Born on that day were 2,996 angels.


screenshot (4)
Surface Map for September 11th 2001




The reason why I waited ALL DAY yesterday until I made a first and final call was that of the difference between a major snowstorm for us and a “nothing” scenario was this graphic.  At one point in the afternoon yesterday, one model showed an early phasing that would have allowed us to have a major snowstorm. That quickly faded.

There was no question that there would be a storm. There was no question we would get some snow. It was a matter of how the two streams phased. In the first graphic, you can see the northern stream and southern stream.  They remain separate. So, therefore, it allows the southern stream to drift out to sea quicker.

screenshot (30)

The second graphic shows how the two streams interact. In this scenario, they do phase but it’s WAY too late for the Mid-Atlantic. The two streams would have had to phase earlier before the southern stream escapes out to sea. This would have allowed the southern stream to gain some latitude and pull the moisture closer to the coast.  Thus, the difference between a coating to an inch/two or 6 inches is what is shown below. And that is winter life in our neck of the woods.

screenshot (32)



The weather is nice today but icy this morning on the roads. Weekend looking 1/2 good and half bad. I know that’s kind of a common, basic summary but overall the weekend storm looks iffy like 70/30 that it won’t happen.  One model keeps showing it, while the other just has it drifting harmlessly out to sea. I’m leaning on it not happening at this point. So, if anything happens dramatically over this weekend I will be back with updates. For now, I’m off until Sunday with the Sunday Slide and there are some changes coming which I will need your opinions. Adios for now! Have a good weekend!


screenshot (20)



I know. We have just experienced two Nor’easters in two weeks and you are probably crying UNCLE at this point. Yet, it’s getting increasingly likely we might have to go through this one more time this coming weekend Sunday into Monday. And this one, if all the elements come together right this one could end the winter season with quite the bang.

And I don’t want to hype anything, but as you can see in the graphic above this one takes a scary track. A shortwave drops from the Pacific NW into the plains.  It dives down to the Gulf, picks up moisture and then heads right for the coast. And there is still a block to the north although it isn’t super strong is strong enough to pool some cold air into the East Coast region. There is a noticeable ridge in the Pacific. In the graphic, you can clearly see the bulge.  This helps the trough dig into the Gulf states where it picks up moisture. Now, the day to day runs of the EURO has been showing it sliding it off the East Coast to the south with no harm, no foul. Yet, the ensembles of both the GFS and EURO have been showing a big storm around the March 12th-13th time period. The GFS has been showing something more consistent day to day and on their ensembles as well. Again, a suspicion that if the EURO picks up on the radar in the coming days we could be dealing with our THIRD Nor’easter in as many weeks and the potential for an end of winter event that would certainly cap a wild, willy, and wacky Winter 2017-2018.

To be continued!


screenshot (15)
500 Millibar chart showing a shortwave diving into the Gulf states then shooting right off the coast. This would create big snows just about for everyone, or it could be a non-event that ends the Winter 2017-18 Season. Yikes! 




The storm is right on track. Righ now, we are in the heaviest banding. From now until about 3 or 4 snowfall rates will equate about an inch an hour. I’ve taken a GOES picture of the storm. It’s off the coast of NJ and the Delmarva. The GFS was oh so wrong. It’s further east and colder solution as modeled by the EURO and NAM. So, enjoy! I’ll make a video very soon.

screenshot (8)