NOVEMBER A MONTH FOR NOR’EASTERS

2013-11-06_092847
http://www.met.inf.cu/asp/genesis.asp?TB0=PLANTILLAS&TB1=MAPATIEMPO
Republic of Cuba Meteorological Institute weather map

The fall season is accompanied by polar high pressure systems that are carried by the upper level prevailing westerlies from Canada to the New England coast. The cold air circulating around the high pressure becomes unstable as it moves over the warmer ocean off our coast, causing rain showers to pass over our area.

As long as the high pressure remains over the western Atlantic, our beaches are affected by higher than normal tides and beach erosion. In the following spring and summer, winds that circulate around the Bermuda high cause some of these sands to be replaced because of warm east and southeast breezes.

In some years we experience one or two destructive Nor’easters. These can cause more damage than some of the tropical storms that brush our coast. The most severe one I have seen was the one on November 29 – December 1 in 1962. Damage amounted to 2 million dollars as much of our boardwalk was destroyed and crashing waves undermined some of our shoreline structures. A second Nor’easter struck two months later on February 3-5, 1963 that caused one million dollars more damage to our coast.

The most striking thing I discovered about our fall weather is the difference between the weather in our city and the beaches. There have been times when the city had a chilly autumn day with fresh cool breezes, but when I drove to the beach I discovered winds were gusting as high as 50 mph. Also, in November the temperature in town can be in the 40s or 50s, while along our beaches it will be in the 60s because the ocean water is still near 70 degrees.

This week’s Nor’easter has weakened due to a cold front passing through on Thursday. A weaker high pressure will be north of us through the weekend, but northeast winds will not be as strong as they were earlier this week. By Wednesday next week another high pressure should cause stronger northeast winds during the last half of the week.

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