Disaster Discourse: The Hagerty Blog

Severe weather creates extreme flooding, excessive rainfall, and strong winds across the United States

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 28, 2021 AS OF 3:30 PM EDT

The United States (US) has experienced severe weather from coast to coast, according to CNN. A bomb cyclone and atmospheric river event hit the West Coast earlier in the week on Sunday, October 24, while a powerful nor’easter struck the East Coast on the evening of Tuesday, October 26, with repercussions that are still being faced today.

West Coast

A convergence of torrential rain and high winds produced a bomb cyclone and atmospheric river event on the West Coast Sunday, October 24 and Monday, October 25 causing excessive rainfall, damaging winds, flooding, and mudslides across California’s Bay Area and the Pacific Northwest, according to USA Today. Over 350,000 homes and businesses in California, Washington, and Oregon experienced power outages. Two fatalities were reported in the greater Seattle area as extreme winds caused a tree to fall. Record-breaking rainfall of 4.02 inches was recorded in downtown San Francisco on Sunday, the city’s fourth wettest day in its recorded history. 16.55 inches of rain was recorded on Mount Tamalpais in Marin County; many other areas across the counties of Almeda, Contra Costa, Napa, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, and Sonoma saw rainfall totals in excess of 8-14 includes, according to the National Weather Service (NWS) Bay Area.

Santa Rosa Fire Department: Twitter

Evacuation orders and other warnings were issued in parts of San Francisco due to a potential for tree hazard, and in Santa Cruz and San Mateo Counties for those around the CZU Fire burn scar areas, as reported by NBC Bay Area; the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) also deployed resources to Santa Barbara County, Santa Cruz County, El Dorado County, and the County of Kern to monitor areas impacted by recent fires that were susceptible to burn scar. By 7:30 a.m. Sunday, October 24, multiple debris flows, or mudslides, forced authorities to shut down Highway 70 between Jarbo Gap and Greenville. While this extreme weather event delivered hazards and disruptions, the rainfall was a welcome relief for the fire and drought ridden areas and “should end our need – to a large degree – to fight [the Caldor] fire,” according to Christy Brigham, chief of resource management and science at Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, as reported by the Associated Press.

East Coast

A powerful nor’easter struck southeast New England on the evening of Tuesday, October 26, stretching into early Wednesday, October 27, with damaging winds that downed trees and power lines throughout the region, according to The Weather Channel. Southeast Massachusetts was hit especially hardthe National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) NWS recorded wind gusts of more than 70 miles per hour (mph) in southeast Massachusetts on Wednesday, October 27. The same day saw wind gusts reach up to 84 mph in Duxbury, Massachusetts and 94 mph at Edgartown on Martha’s Vineyard, where the wind lifted a small aircraft at the New Bedford Regional Airport and deposited it onto a roadway. A bomb cyclone created the winds, which caused the pressure on Nantucket to drop 28 millibars (mb) over 24 hours on Wednesday, October 27. The same storm struck the New York City (NYC) area on Tuesday, October 26, dumping over three inches of rain across parts of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. 

The New York Times reported subway and commuter rail service in the region was delayed to allow employees to remove debris from the tracks, while numerous Massachusetts communities canceled school for the day. As of Thursday, October 28 morning, there are 324,043 outages in Massachusetts, according to PowerOutage.US – an improvement of over 400,000 customers in the state without power as of 7:00 p.m. Wednesday, October 27. 

AccuWeather meteorologists forecast more rain and winds will hit the Northeast on Thursday, October 28 as a storm moves across the center of the US towards southern Pennsylvania, northern Maryland, far eastern West Virginia, and northern Virginia. AccuWeather Meteorologist Adam Sadvary said that while the incoming “storm system isn’t forecast to be nearly as strong as the nor’easter which impacted the region earlier this week, additional heavy rainfall could further exacerbate flooding issues that are already in place.”

NWS Boston: Twitter

Storm Damage: Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)

To stay informed about severe weather events, NOAA NWS provides the latest alerts in your area. Another way to stay updated is through real-time alerts available via the FEMA Mobile App and other local and national communication systems. FEMA encourages individuals to adhere to the guidance of local authorities in order to stay safe during wildfire events impacting their community.

The Hagerty Blog Team will continue providing information and updates on current events and disasters impacting the nation. Visit Disaster Discourse for the latest information.