Here are some final statistics and other data for the major winter storm that impacted the northeast U.S. this past weekend.
Downloadable Report: Wind Report Blizzard 01/2016
ZIPCode data Wind Gusts 50mph or Greater including Housing Values and Housing/Business Counts
Preliminary Economic Impacts:
Estimated Washington DC Snow Removal Cost: $7.5 million
Estimated NYC Snow Removal Cost: $54 million
Estimated Washington DC Lost Economic Activity (through Monday): $570 million
Estimated NYC Lost Economic Activity (through Monday): $460 million
Primary Types of Storm Damage:
Coastal flooding occurred primarily from Delaware, Northward along the Jersey shore and into coastal portions of southern Long Island, Rhode Island and Massachusetts. Geographically speaking, the areas impacted were very similar to those impacted by Hurricane Sandy. The most severe flooding conditions appear to have occurred in the Ocean City, NJ area, where 2-3 feet of standing water was reported. Water reportedly entered homes in Ocean City as well as in Cape May, NJ where peak water levels rose approximately 4 feet above the normal levels of high tide.
Trees and/or tree limbs were downed on a scattered basis due to the combination of strong, gusty winds and heavy, wet snow, mainly across portions of Delaware, New Jersey, Long Island and Rhode Island. The only instance of “widespread” downing of trees was noted at Block Island, Rhode Island, where utility poles were also reportedly downed “on most of the island”.
Maximum wind gusts were generally in the 50-60 mph range from coastal Delaware and New Jersey into eastern Long Island, Rhode Island and southern Massachusetts. A peak wind gust of 70 mph was recorded in Plymouth County Massachusetts at the Marshfield Municipal Airport. Wind gusts of 50-60 mph, which were the most common associated with this storm, typically result in the downing of tree limbs and in some cases whole trees (usually those with less developed root structures compared to mature trees). Peeling of roof shingles can also occur, particularly as we get closer to 60 mph, depending on the age and condition of the roof. Damage to awnings, carports and other light weight/poorly secured structures is also common.
Heavy snow load resulted in isolated instances of roof collapse, including one to a small commercial (retail) building in Westfield, NJ. As of this writing, there were no reported widespread or major instances of roof collapse across the region impacted by the heaviest snow amounts, but this will continue to be a risk until snow either melts or is removed from the impacted areas this week. This was a particularly “wet” snow event, with the snow containing nearly 2 inches of water equivalent across most of the areas of heaviest impact (i.e., 1 foot+ snowfall). This translates to roughly 20 pounds per square foot of pressure on an average “flat” roof. For purposes of comparison, a comparable “dry” snowfall event of the same magnitude would typically result in 5-10 pounds of pressure per square foot on an average “flat” roof.
Population Impacts by Snow Amount:
Of Snow Impacted
4 inches: 56.2 million
10 inches: 38.0 million
20 inches: 23.2 million
30 inches: 0.344 million
Household Impacts by Snow Amount:
Of Snow Impacted
4 inches: 22.1 million
10 inches: 14.9 million
20 inches: 9.1 million
30 inches: 0.135 million
Total Observed Snowfall Maps: