Nor'easters usually occur when a low-pressure system develops over the Atlantic Ocean and moves towards land, causing potent winds out of the northeast. These powerful storms often cause coastal flooding and heavy precipitation.
Often, nor'easters develop extremely rapidly, so forecasters find it challenging to predict precisely the area they will impact. Consider these nor'easters that have occurred throughout history.
Great White Hurricane of 1888
The Great White Hurricane occurred from March 11 to 14, 1888. On March 12, temperatures in New York City dropped from 33 degrees to 8 degrees Fahrenheit over a few hours. Forecasters estimate the storm dumped as much as 50 inches of snow on Connecticut and Massachusetts. In many areas, snowdrifts quickly grew to be over 40 feet tall.
While winds in New York City gusted up to 40 miles per hour, some areas reported wind gusts approaching 80 miles per hour. The New York Stock Exchange closed for two days, which would not occur again until Hurricane Sandy in 2012. Over 500 people died during the storm, and numerous ships were wrecked.