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Great Nor'Easter of 2023 Enters New England Snowstorm Hall of Fame

Updated: Mar 20, 2023

After a very lackluster winter for snowfall in New England, a storm finally brought decent amounts to the region. And when I say decent, I mean HUGE amounts. This storm has earned a spot in the New England Snowstorm Hall of Fame.

I was admittedly hesitant to buy into the massive snowfall amounts some models were showing leading up to the storm. On my final snowfall map, I simply put 'isolated 18"+' for the highest amounts. I was right, the highest amounts were 18+. They were just more than double 18.

Satellite image of 2023 nor'easter. Photo: NOAA

This storm, which will be named "The Great Nor'Easter of 2023" ramped up Monday night when the storm's two pieces came together. There was an upper level low tracking over the great lakes with a coastal low tracking up the coast. These two energy sources came together, becoming one, powerful storm that rapidly strengthened. When that happened, the flood gates opened.

Eastern areas of New England began the storm with a pounding rain Monday night. Anywhere from 1 to over 2 inches of rain fell across eastern Massachusetts and southeastern New Hampshire. Western areas began in the snow, and those areas got slammed. The rain/snow line would drop south and east throughout the day Tuesday, until just about all of New England was in the intense snow by mid afternoon.

Stratton, Vermont. Photo: Chris Walker

The snow was intense. As expected with a rapidly strengthening nor'easter, snowfall rates were well over an inch an hour in many places. Bands of 2 to 4 inch an hour rates were persistent across western and central New England. A high pressure system slowed the storm down to a crawl, leading to a rather long duration event.

Snow showers kicked off around mid afternoon Monday and did not shut down completely until early Wednesday morning. The areas that started as snow and stayed snow the entire time saw snowfall for about 36 hours. This allowed for some monster numbers.

The highest confirmed snow total in New England was a massive 42 inches. This was measured in Readsboro, Vermont. In all, a dozen communities confirmed at least 30 inches. A majority of this fell from mid morning Tuesday through Tuesday evening. The snowfall was relentless, snow piled up much faster than it could be moved for upwards of eight hours.

Tree damage in New Hampshire. Photo: Unitil Electric

Being mid-March, the temperatures were marginal during the storm. This led to very heavy, wet snow. 20 to 30 plus inches of this kind of snow caused widespread tree damage and power outages. Thousands of branches and even full trees came crashing down, taking out power lines on their way down. At its peak, just over 215,000 New Englanders were without power. The outages in some areas dragged on for days.

This heavy, wet snow also caused major problems for cleanup. Trying to shovel and clear two feet or more of this slop is no easy task. In areas where rain fell, the snow was more slush. In southeast New Hampshire, the already wet snow fell on an inch of rain, creating quite a mess.

This storm also brought intense winds and some coastal flooding. The gusty winds across the region exacerbated the power problems and caused even more tree damage. The highest wind gust confirmed approached hurricane force, 71mph in Maine.

The one break with this storm was the fact that tides were not astronomically high, so coastal flooding was not nearly as bad as it could have been. Still, the long duration storm caused minor flooding and splashover during three straight high tide cycles.

This storm has cracked the top three snowfalls in the New England Snowstorm Hall of Fame. This storm has become the ninth snowstorm in the hall to drop at least three feet. This storm is the fifth to drop at least 40 inches. The other four storms in this club are The Great White Hurricane (50"), The Great Nor'Easter of 2020 (48") and the blizzards of 2013 and 1978 (40").

It had been 407 days since the last hall of fame-worthy snowstorm. The most recent inductee to the hall prior to this storm was the Blizzard of 2022 which occurred on January 28-30, 2022, which dropped 31 inches. Whether or not this storm will be inducted into the American Snowstorm Hall of Fame remains to be decided.

New England Snowstorm Hall of Fame Top 10 (by maximum confirmed snowfall):

Storm Name

Maximum Snowfall


Jackpot Zone


The Great White Hurricane


March 11-14, 1888

Southern VT Western MA, CT


The Great Nor'Easter of 2020


December 16-17, 2019

Western NH


The Great Nor'Easter of 2023


March 13-15, 2023

Central MA Southwest NH Southern VT


Blizzard 2013


February 8-9, 2013

Central CT


Blizzard of 1978


February 5-7, 1978

Southeast MA, RI


Blizzard of 2005


January 22-23 2005

Eastern MA, NH Western ME


The 50 Hour Storm


December 1-3, 2019

South Central NH


Blizzard of 2015


January 26-27 2015

Eastern MA, NH Western ME


Valentine's Day Blizzard


February 14, 2007



April Fools' Day Blizzard


April 1, 1997

Eastern, Central MA



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