The North American Blizzard of 2009: A Synoptic Review
A powerful winter storm crippled much of the eastern United States and Canada during mid-December 2009. What would later become known as the North American Blizzard of 2009, this storm produced record snowfall amounts for the month at numerous locations across the Mid Atlantic and New England regions and resulted in seven fatalities. This paper will examine the synoptic and mesoscale conditions present as the event unfolded from 0000 UTC 17 Dec to 0000 UTC 21 Dec 2009. The event can be categorized as a Miller A type storm which developed in the Gulf of Mexico on 16 Dec and produced copious amounts of snowfall from North Carolina to Nova Scotia between 18-20 Dec 2009. A review of the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) pattern indicates a strong negative pattern during the month which is more favorable for the development of strong wintertime storms. A synoptic review is the first step in understanding why this event occurred so early in the winter season and may shed light on new avenues of research relating NAO and severe winter weather.