Enlarge / Waves crash over houses on Turner Rd. as a large coastal storm affects the area on March 2, in Scituate, Massachusetts. A powerful nor'easter is bringing snow, rain, and high wind to much of the Northeast. (credit: Scott Eisen/Getty Images)
The winds were howling so much in Washington DC on Friday that flight controllers at Dulles International Airport had to temporarily evacuate their tower, which suspended flight operations. Conditions weren't much better on board the airplanes themselves. A Canadair Regional Jet reported, after it landed at the same airport with about 50 passengers, that "pretty much everyone on the plane threw up."
Up the coast, conditions were even more severe, as New England residents had to deal not only with severe winds, but major coastal flooding as well. Boston is no stranger to a good nor'easter, of course, but the storm now bearing down on the Eastern United States is especially brutal by historical standards in terms of winds and coastal flooding. It also happens to be the second such powerful nor'easter that has wracked the US East Coast in just two months.
For much of the 20th century, the Northeastern Blizzard of 1978 set the benchmark for extreme snowfall and flooding. During this storm, the tidal gauge in Boston Harbor measured a record 15.1 feet. The extreme "bomb cyclone" storm that afflicted the Eastern United States in January of this year recorded a mark of 15.16 feet in Boston, eclipsing the record.