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Type of Wind: Northeaster - Windows to the Universe

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This image shows a northeaster on the Atlantic coast. A few feet of snow fell from this storm in New England and New York.
Click on image for full size
Courtesy of National Weather Service Forecast Office of Buffalo, NY

Type of Wind: Northeaster

Northeasters, also known as nor’easters, are cold winds that can bring heavy snow or sleet. These winds blow from 40-55 mph (64.5-88.7 kph). They are classified as gale winds. Most snowstorms in the eastern United States are called northeasters. A northeaster forms when a low pressure system over the Eastern United States gets warm moist air from the Atlantic Ocean. Studies have shown similarities between northeasters and hurricanes. This radar image shows a northeaster traveling up the east coast of the United States.

In February 1969, a northeaster hit New England. An astonishing 164 inches or almost 14 feet (4.2 meters) of snow fell in Pinkham Notch, NH! In New Jersey in 1992 there were wind speeds of 90 mph (145 kph) during a northeaster!

Another cold wind is the Texas norther or blue norther. Northers usually bring snow to Texas and the Gulf of Mexico.

Most places in the world have different names for a cold wind. A cold wind in Central America is called a norte. In India, there is a cold dry wind named terrenho. Brazil uses the name sur for a cold wind. A cold northern wind in Spain and Portugal is called a gallego. Greece uses the word vardar for a cold wind. Native Americans in Alaska call strong irregular gusts of wind a williwaw.

Last modified July 22, 2008 by Vanessa Pearce.

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