"Four'easters" Slam Northeast with Snow
In just three weeks, four nor'easters bring record-breaking snowfall, coastal flooding, and strong winds
March may bring the start of spring, but for the Northeast, it has been anything but warm and green. Instead, it has been cold, windy, and mostly white as four nor’easters in three weeks pummeled the eastern seaboard from Maine to as far south as North Carolina.
“We are used to multiple snow events – that is just typically how the weather patterns work for us in the Northeast,” said Ray Nobile, BrightView VPGM in New York/New England. “Our BrightView teams are snow pros, but have been dealing with more trees down and loss of power than during a typical snow season.”
The four nor’easters, named Riley, Quinn, Skylar, and Toby, moved near what meteorologists call the 40/70 benchmark – 40 degrees north latitude and 70 degrees west longitude. When a low-pressure system passes near this benchmark point, it typically results in parts of all of the Northeast experiencing coastal storm impacts.
On top of this, winter storms Riley and Skylar also went through the process of "bombogenesis," in essence a winter hurricane.
In order to be classified as undergoing a bombogenesis, the central pressure of a low-pressure system has to drop at least 24 millibars within 24 hours. When the storm strengthens, winds and precipitation increases.
In areas such as Boston, not only did they receive blizzard-like conditions, heavy snowfall and intense winds, but also coastal flooding.
“The experience has been harder on the Massachusetts teams,” Nobile said. “They are not only dealing with the snow, downed trees, and no electricity, but even had one difficult process in downtown Boston due to the flooding seawater freezing up.”
Winter Storm Riley, the first to hit, damaged seawalls, eroded beaches, and recorded the third-highest tide on record for Boston at 14.67 feet.
Riley also brought strong winds, with six states recording gusts of at least 70 mph. It was powerful enough to tear off a section of roof from the American Airlines hangar at LaGuardia Airport in New York. Nearly 2 million people from North Carolina to New England were without power following the storm.
Just as power was being restored to many, and others were still in the dark, Quinn struck with winds of 50 to 60 mph and heavy, wet snow that fell rapidly. In Plymouth Meeting, Pa., 4.5 inches fell in just 90 minutes.
Not to be outdone, Winter Storm Skylar also dropped anywhere between half a foot and 30 inches in the Northeast, and places such as Nantucket Island and Hyannis in Massachusetts recorded wind gusts as high as 75 mph. The storm also broke records in Boston and Worcester for one-day snowfall in March.
With close to 3,000 snow removal client sites in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and from BES, BrightView teams were clearing locations such as bank branches, massive manufacturing facilities, corporate campuses, hospitals, and more. To help assist the BrightView teams in the path of the nor’easters, more than 80 team members and service partners were dispatched to other locations.
“Our teams went the extra mile during the snow,” said Scott Scharaldi, BrightView Regional Snow Manager. “They all took the time to help out fellow team members.”
Branches in lesser hit areas in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Maryland volunteered manpower, along with service partners, machines, snow blowers, and shovels.
“It was awesome to see the teams across those states come together to support one another and provide top-notch snow services to our clients,” Scharaldi said. “No other company could do what we did as a team.”
Winter Storm Toby, the fourth nor’easter of the month, hit the Northeast on the first day of spring, bringing with it more heavy, wet snow. This storm focused more in the lower half of the Northeast, dropping at least a foot of snow in five states.
Philadelphia had its heaviest spring snowstorm since 1958 with 7.6 inches recorded at the airport, and Harrisburg its second heaviest late-March snowstorm since 1941 with 14.2 inches.
Meanwhile, parts of Long Island were hit with up to 20 inches of snow.
Despite the seemingly endless rounds of Nor’easters, the BrightView teams were ready for each dose of winter weather.
“Between each nor’easter, we’re repairing our equipment, restocking material, and communicating with our clients,” Nobile said. “Our teams are great at overcoming adversity.”
It was awesome to see the teams across those states come together to support one another and provide top-notch snow services to our clients. No other company could do what we did as a team.
- Scott Scharaldi, BrightView Regional Snow Manager
BrightView is the largest provider of commercial landscaping services in the United States. Through its team of approximately 20,000 employees, BrightView provides services ranging from landscape maintenance and enhancements to tree care and landscape development for thousands of customers’ properties, including corporate and commercial properties, HOAs, public parks, hotels and resorts, hospitals and other healthcare facilities, educational institutions, restaurants and retail, and golf courses, among others. BrightView is the Official Field Consultant to Major League Baseball.