The massive Nor’easter that buried the Northeast under up to 40″ of snow Friday into Saturday can officially be referred to as a blizzard in Southern New England. The National Weather Service Taunton office has determined that blizzard conditions were met at several reporting stations, with some areas experiencing blizzard conditions for more than 6 hours! After reviewing the data, the NWS confirmed blizzard conditions at eight reporting sites, with several others coming very close to meeting the criteria of snow of blowing snow reducing visibility to 1/2 mile combined with winds that frequently gust to 35 mph for three straight hours.
In Rhode Island, blizzard conditions were experienced in N. Smithfield at North Central State Airport (5.5 hours) and Middletown at Newport State Airport (3.5 hours). Officially, TF Green and Westerly State Airport had near-blizzard conditions. Those four stations and Block Island are the only reliable NWS reporting stations in Rhode Island. Odds are blizzard conditions were experienced in most of the state.
The statement from the National Weather Service is below.
PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE TAUNTON MA 455 PM EST MON FEB 11 2013 ...BLIZZARD OF 2013... BLIZZARD CONDITIONS WERE REACHED AT MANY LOCATIONS ACROSS SOUTHERN NEW ENGLAND DURING THE STORM ON FEBRUARY 8 AND 9. THUS IT IS SAFE TO CALL THIS THE BLIZZARD OF 2013 FOR SOUTHERN NEW ENGLAND. CERTAINLY PUBLIC PERCEPTION OF THIS EVENT WAS THAT IT WAS MOST DEFINITELY A BLIZZARD. THE STRICT DEFINITION OF A BLIZZARD IS THAT FALLING AND/OR BLOWING SNOW REDUCES VISIBILITY TO BELOW 1/4 MILE ALONG WITH WINDS THAT FREQUENTLY GUST TO 35 MPH OR MORE...AND THAT THESE BLIZZARD CONDITIONS ARE THE PREDOMINANT REPORTED CONDITION FOR 3 CONSECUTIVE HOURS. WHEN REVIEWING WHETHER A PARTICULAR OBSERVATION LOCATION HAD BLIZZARD CONDITIONS...WE COUNTED VISIBILITIES EQUAL TO 1/4 MILE SINCE THAT IS QUITE LOW FOR AN AUTOMATED VISIBILITY SENSOR TO BE ABLE TO DETECT. WE ALSO MADE SOME SUBJECTIVE DECISIONS. FOR EXAMPLE...IN MANCHESTER NH...BLIZZARD CONDITIONS WERE MET FOR A CONSECUTIVE 2 HOURS 40 MINUTES...AND WE CONSIDERED THIS CLOSE ENOUGH TO THE 3 HOUR REQUIREMENT. AT BOSTON LOGAN INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT...WITHIN A 6-HOUR PERIOD BLIZZARD CONDITIONS WERE OBSERVED FOR 4 OF THOSE HOURS. THUS WE DECIDED TO COUNT THIS EVEN THOUGH THERE WERE ONLY 2 CONSECUTIVE HOURS. THE FOLLOWING OBSERVATION SITES CLEARLY HAD BLIZZARD CONDITIONS. DURATIONS LISTED ARE APPROXIMATE... WORCESTER MA.... 8 HOURS NORWOOD MA...... 7.5 HOURS NORTH SMITHFIELD RI...5.5 HOURS BEDFORD MA...... 4.5 HOURS FALMOUTH MA..... 4.5 HOURS NEW BEDFORD MA...4.5 HOURS NEWPORT RI.......3.5 HOURS HARTFORD CT......3.0 HOURS...AT BRAINARD FIELD THE FOLLOWING OBSERVATION LOCATIONS WERE DETERMINED TO HAVE ALSO HAD A BLIZZARD... WESTFIELD MA.....2.75 HOURS...ROUNDED UP TO 3 MANCHESTER NH....2.75 HOURS...ROUNDED UP TO 3 MARSHFIELD MA....2.5 HOURS BEFORE POWER WENT OUT BUT LIKELY CONTD BOSTON MA........2.0 HOURS CONTINUOUS...BUT 4 OF 6 HOURS BLIZZARD TAUNTON MA.......2.0 HOURS CONTINUOUS...AT LEAST 3.5 HOURS TOTAL BEFORE DATA OUTAGE IT SHOULD BE NOTED THAT THE FOLLOWING SITES HAD NEAR-BLIZZARD CONDITIONS... PROVIDENCE RI WESTERLY RI CHICOPEE MA THE FOLLOWING SITES MAY HAVE HAD BLIZZARD CONDITIONS BUT DATA WERE LOST AT THE HEIGHT OF THE STORM... BEVERLY MA PLYMOUTH MA $$ FIELD