Nor’easter

On March 2, 2018 a severe storm impacted southeastern New England. The storm was classified as a Nor’easter which is named for the characteristic strong winds from the northeast. During the storm our weather station recorded fifty-five wind gusts greater than 50 miles per hour. The two strongest were 62 mph at 1:48 and again at 1:50 pm.

wind speed graph
Average wind speed and highest wind gusts graph.

It is very unusual for us to record such high wind speeds. The last time was the October 30, 2017 storm which had a 56 mph peak gust. The March storm had much more frequent high winds.

Highest wind gusts graph.

These storms have a strong area of low air pressure.  The lowest recorded air pressure coincided with the time of highest wind gusts.

Barometric pressure graph.

The total rainfall during the day was just over 2 inches, and at times the rainfall rate was high. The rate was also erratic with peaks that were double the minimum.

Rainfall rate graph.

There is a long history of meteorological observations at Brown University. The Ladd Observatory’s first weather station began collecting measurements in the 1890s. Another weather station was operated by the U.S. Weather Bureau on the roof of University Hall in the early 1900s. We continue these measurements today and report our observations of severe weather to the National Weather Service SKYWARN Storm Spotter Program.

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