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What is a nor'easter?

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A nor’easter is a common weather term, but what is it?

Key Highlights

Nor’easters have caused billions of dollars in damage and impacted businesses, logistics, supply chain issues, and transportation

These storms may occur at any time of year but are most frequent and most violent between September and April

Protect your business and people with AccuWeather's Snow Warning Service


AccuWeather For Business expert meteorologists recently warned about a significant winter storm that had the potential to develop into a nor'easter.  But what exactly is a nor’easter? 

AccuWeather meteorologists reserve the term nor’easter for the most intense storms because they can significantly impact lives and property.  For a storm to be classified as a nor’easter, it must meet specific criteria. 

A nor'easter is considered a giant storm that brings northeasterly winds along the Atlantic coast of North America, according to the National Weather Service. These intense storms can bring winds from a northeasterly direction and produce rain and snow. However, the winds blow from directions other than the northeast within the nor'easter's circulation. The coastal winds matter most when classifying a nor’easter. These storms may occur at any time of year but are most frequent and most violent between October and April. 

Some nor'easters become bomb cyclones, with rapidly dropping pressure that leads to intense winds and heavy snowfall. 

>>READ MORE: What is a bomb cyclone?


Over the years, several well-known nor’easters have been given nicknames like “The Storm of the Century” and “The Perfect Storm, " which you may remember, " made into a movie in 2000.   

Other notable nor’easters include: 

  • Blizzard of 1888
  • Ash Wednesday storm of March 1962 
  • New England Blizzard of February 1978
  • The 1993 Superstorm in March
  • The New England Blizzard of 2015
    (Source: NWS)

Nor’easters have caused billions of dollars in damage and impacted businesses, logistics, supply chain issues, and transportation. 


When nor’easters hit, they can devastate your business operations, property, and people. Some of the effects your business should be prepared for are: 

  • Massive power outages will disrupt operations. Companies that lose power could also lose access to phone lines, cell towers, and heat 
  • Have a system to notify your employees, suppliers, and clients about possible business disruptions
  • Make sure you have a system to communicate with employees and clients. That way, you can tell your employees when to return to work
  • Prepare for possible flooding, and ensure critical equipment, electronic devices, and computers are in a dry place so they won’t be damaged
  • Name an emergency manager to execute your company’s emergency weather plan. Make sure employees are informed about the plan
  • Check with your insurance providers, and make sure your policies are current 
  • Be equipped with a generator to handle prolonged outages

AccuWeather For Business gives more advance notice than all other sources and delivers forecasts and warnings with Superior Accuracy™


Protect your business and team members by making the best weather-impacted decisions with AccuWeather's Snow Warning Service, backed by forecasts and warnings with Superior Accuracy™. AccuWeather's Snow Warning Service offers location-specific forecasts and 24x7x365 consulting services for snow, ice, blizzards, and other winter-hazard events. 

AccuWeather's Snow Warning Service features include: 

  • Precise weather event start and end times
  • Total expected snow and ice accumulations
  • Specific changeover times for snow, ice, and rain
  • Hourly temperatures and wind conditions before, during, and after the storm
  • Post-storm weather conditions, including verified precipitation amounts. 

Learn more about how we can help you protect your business, employees, and assets. Contact us today. 

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Learn more about how you can protect your business, people and assets.

Contact us today.