Dodging a monster

More than 2 feet of snow fell in Norfolk, Mass. (Matt Campbell/EPA)
More than 2 feet of snow fell in Norfolk, Mass. (Matt Campbell/EPA)

It is less than 90 miles from New Jersey’s largest city to Hamden, Conn. On a satellite image, it is a hair’s breadth.

But that meager distance spelled all the difference between a picturesque winter snowfall — a nuisance, perhaps, to some — and a historic blow that brought paralysis, widespread power outages and death to a region.

Hamden, situated across from Long Island on Connecticut’s southern edge, lay under 40 inches of snow Saturday, the highest accumulation left by a monster storm that turned all of New England to blinding white. Forecasters called it a meteorological bomb.

More than 2 feet of snow — whipped to a froth by winds that reached hurricane force at times — covered parts of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Hampshire and Maine.

Abandoned cars blocked highways and side streets alike. The ocean roared into homes along the coast. At least four people were killed.

Had the nor’easter formed slightly to the south and west, it could have been New Jersey in the cross hairs, said David Robinson, the state climatologist at Rutgers University.

“It’s just a matter of where the storm became established,” Robinson said. “Every storm has its own personality, and this storm had a vicious personality.”

Read the story at NJ.com (Feb. 10, 2013)

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