Extreme Cold, Then Flood, Hits New England

Jan 8, 2018

First came the cold.

The last week of December and the first week of January brought a prolonged stretch of unusually cold temperatures across the northeast. Looking at the University of Maine’s Climate Reanalyzer, it looks like the Arctic spilled all its cold down onto the eastern side of North America. 

Sean Birkel is Research Assistant Professor at University of Maine’s Climate Change Institute. He spoke with us about why this sort of thing happens and how often it happens.

Then came the flood.

Of course, the one break in the cold came on Wednesday, January 3, and and Thursday, January 4, in the form of a powerful winter storm that hit New England. It brought snow and high winds but the big story was historic flooding all the way from north of Boston right down to the Cape and Islands. Despite forecasts calling for moderate to major coastal flooding, what actually happened went well beyond many expectations. So, what happened? We spoke to Glenn Field, Warning Coordination Meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Taunton.