The December 2018 Nor' Easter was a significant winter storm that impact much of the East Coast of the United States on Canada in Early December 2018. Forming out of a shortwave trough, it produced lighter rain and snow in the Tennessee Valley and tornado outbreaks further south, before being absorbed by a larger system with an arctic front on December 7. It then moved offshore to become a powerful nor' Easter bringing heavy snowfall to the Northeastern United States and Atlantic Canada before being absorbed by another system on December 11. The storm claimed 4 lives and totaled $4.7 million in damage. Because of its unique formation it was poorly forecasted and brought more snow than expected.

Meteorlogical History

On December 5, forecasters began tracking a shortwave through over the Central Plains. On December 6 it developed into a surface low over Central Arkansas. The system produced rain, snow, and tornadoes in the Tennessee Valley as it tracked eastward. At the same time a weak low pressure system developed over Central Alabama and merged with an arctic front while beginning to fringe with the northerly systems energy. On the afternoon of December 7, the new system had completely absorbed the original low's energy and spawned a new surface low over North Carolina. Heavy snow began to subside in the Appalachian Mountains. As the system tracked eastward, forecasters were unaware of the cold air being dammed from the west. As a result heavier snow subsided in areas like the Virginia Piedmont. The system moved offshore on December 8 and began rapid intensification reaching a peak intensity of 979 millibars while located off the coast of New Jersey the next day while still producing snow in the Mid-Atlantic and New England regions. The system then began to weaken and moved over the Canadian Maritime on December 10. On December 11, the system was absorbed by a stronger low over Baffin Bay.

Preparations and Impact


In Virginia, Governor Ralph Northham issued weather advisories on December 5. He deployed numerous salt trucks in preparation of snow and freezing rain and numerous schools canceled classes for December 7.