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Effects of the November 2009 Nor'easter on water levels
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Effects of the November 2009 Nor'easter on water levels
  • Corporate Authors:
    Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services (U.S.)
  • Description:
    "The November 2009 Nor'easter, which impacted the East Coast from November 11 through 14, 2009, caused highly elevated water levels, especially in the Outer Banks, NC, the southern Chesapeake Bay region, Delaware Bay, and coastal New Jersey. This coastal low was especially damaging because of the long duration of sustained north and northeasterly winds that caused significant flooding and beach erosion. Thankfully, temperatures were still warm enough to spare coastal areas from a significant snow storm, as many Nor'easters are notorious for. As a result of the damage to coastal areas, the President declared counties in Virginia and New Jersey a major disaster after the storm to provide federal aid to communities. The NOAA National Ocean Services (NOS) Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services (CO-OPS) recorded the Nor'easter event via a network of water level and current meter stations. CO-OPS operates and maintains 210 water level stations as part of the National Water Level Network, as well as 21 Physical Oceanographic Real-Time Systems (PORTSĀ®), each comprising from 1 to 40 individual oceanographic and meteorological stations. This large amount of coastal weather and water level data allowed CO-OPS to monitor the storm and provide the public and emergency officials with real-time data for their own monitoring and assessment. This report compiles six-minute data from 22 NOS water level stations and 11 current meters (including 3 stations operated through Old Dominion University) from New Jersey to North Carolina to provide an overall view of the storm (Figure 1). Data referenced are water level, current speed and direction, winds (speed, direction and gust) and barometric pressure. Storm surge, which is the difference between the observed and astronomically predicted water levels, is computed for each station and is provided along with storm tide, defined as observed water level referenced to Mean Lower Low Water datum. Five stations measured record breaking water level elevations, slightly exceeding those measured during Hurricane Isabel in 2003. In fact, four stations in the Chesapeake Bay, where both Isabel and the Nor'easter made the biggest impact, measured higher storm surges during the Nor'easter. The subsequent chapters of this report begin with a meteorological synopsis and then examine the data recorded at water level and current meter stations, as well as results from a CO-OPS Operational Forecast Model in the Chesapeake Bay. A comparison to water levels recorded during Hurricane Isabel relates the impact of the Nor'easter to a storm that had previously reset water level records at eight stations in the Chesapeake Bay. CO-OPS meteorological data collected at the water levels stations also supplement the oceanographic measurements in the Appendix. These different data types allow a holistic view of the storm's impact along the East Coast and also provide insight into the regional responses to the storm"--

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