So I've been through my share of storms living in Florida for 39 years. I've had roofs damaged, windows and ceilings crashed, massive damage to fencing and landscaping, not to mention countless days in the heat with no power. Summer 2005 stands out to me as a bad season. But I never thought I'd see that type of thing in New England.
Well, the winter of 2018 was one for the record books in my town of Hull. Residents say they haven't seen storms like that in 30+ years. We got two in the same season and like their tropical counterparts, they were even given names... Grayson and Riley. They were part of a weather pattern where strong nor'easters would push off the east coast and turn into what experts were calling a "Bomb Cyclone" or bombogenesis.
The term bombogenesis has been used by meteorologists since the 80's, and even though it may sound like science-fiction, the actual science behind it is real. The term has little to do with the cold temperatures, snow or wind associated with a winter storm. Instead, it deals with air pressure. To qualify as a "bomb cyclone" the pressure has to drop at least 24 millibars in less than 24 hours. Winter Storm Grayson blew that away with some measurements showing a pressure drop of 53 millibars in just 21 hours.
The flooding was historic for both Grayson and Riley. My new beach rental in Hull, just off the Boston Harbor and across the street from Nantasket Beach was a direct hit for both of these monsters. At least with Riley, I had some warning and was able to evacuate before things got bad. But Grayson caught me by surprise and I didn't realize how much trouble I was in until I was already in the thick of it. The video above was my back yard at the beginning of high tide. A few hours later I had to evacuate as water filled my basement to the ceiling and knocked out my furnace and electricity. It was a pretty bad blizzard on top of that with a few feet of snow. I saw things that night I never even saw during some of the worst hurricanes in Florida. People on my street were in full-bore panic mode and emergency workers seemed overwhelmed. Watching an old lady get rescued by a firefighter, with a bucket ladder, as the Atlantic ocean rushed through the streets, was pretty dramatic. I almost put my 5mil on to start rescuing people myself, but opted for self-preservation.
The tide gauge at Boston Harbor reached a record of 15.16 feet for winter storm Grayson, according to the National Weather Service, beating the previous record of 15.1 set by the blizzard of 1978. Then in March Riley came in at 14.6 feet. Two of the top 3 storm surges in recorded New England history hit during winter 2018, and I was smack dab in the middle of it all.
I'm happy to report now that I'm back in my house, with power and heat. I spent a total of 17 days in a hotel counting Grayson and Riley. I also missed surfing most of these storms since I had to evacuate so much. Also the winds in Nantasket were relentless making victory-at-sea conditions on most days. I just didn't have the time off from work to chase anything down. I heard the Cape has been epic this entire month. I guess you win some, you lose some. I hope to get some fun slides before the winter season ends, and if this spring is like last spring, April and May should deliver some fun sessions.