January 2016 Noreaster

Science Center Objects

Learn more about USGS flood activities related to the January 2016 Noreaster which combined signifcant snowfall, high winds, and storm surge from Arkansas to Massachusetts.


Another strong winter storm on the heels of holiday flooding dropped significant amounts of snow across a multi-state area stretching from Arkansas to Massachusetts. While emergency managers dealt with the inland effects of the blizzard, coastal areas experienced record-setting storm surge as high winds combined with high tides to flood many communities in the mid-Atlantic.

January 2016 Noreaster coastal surge map

The Flood Event Viewer provides access to USGS monitoring activities during the January 2016 Noreaster.

The USGS Flood Event Viewer helps USGS and its partners to track of the storm and its impact on surface water levels. A storm track field is included from NOAA's National Hurricane Center, and real-time USGS streamgage data and Rapid Deployment Gage data are linked through this map-based product.

USGS personnel deployed 125 storm surge sensors in advance of the storm to collect data about significant waves anticipated in Delaware, New Jersey, and New York. Storm surge sensors record fine-resolution storm tide and wave level data. This data became available on the viewer as soon as it was safe to retrieve the sensors and upload the data. In addition, imagery was provided from the National Geodetic Survey.

Following the event, high-water mark (HWM) data was added to the map by field crews soon after collection, including survey data and photos.


USGS Activities in the News:

  • USGS Science for an El Niño Winter: (1/21/2016) El Niño is a phenomenon that occurs when unusually warm ocean water piles up along the equatorial west coast of South America. When this phenomenon develops, it affects weather patterns around the globe, including the winter weather along the west coast of North America.
  • Plowing through Snowzilla’s Stormsurge Data: (1/28/2016) While some of us were shoveling snow, some of our scientists and technicians ventured out to the coasts to recover more than 125 storm-tide and wave sensors.
  • Great Wall of White: Epic Snowfall Visible from Space: A massive winter storm that slammed the U.S. East Coast last weekend dumped so much white stuff on the ground that the extensive snow cover was clearly visible from space. livescience (1/28/16)
  • Snowstorm brings major coastal flooding along East Coast: The massive blizzard hammering the East Coast brought more than just snow and wind as New Jersey streets filled with water and ice from major coastal flooding from the storm Saturday. USA TODAY (1/23/16)