Environmental Protection Agency Narragansett Bay Commission University of Rhode Island Office of Marine Programs

Estuarine Science

Global Environmental Changes: Extreme Events

In recent years, extreme events may have become more common in the United States, particularly in the Northeast. Below are some extremes in the Northeast region, occurring since 1996.
  • Region-wide blizzard with storm snowfall totals in excess of 30 inches (January, 1996)
  • Coastal New England Rainstorm producing over 19 inches of rainfall (October, 1996)
  • Warmest single-day February temperature record in Seacoast of New Hampshire (1997)
  • Boston's 24-hour snowfall record broken (April 1997)
  • Severe Ice storm strikes northern New England, New York, and southeastern Canada (January, 1998)
  • Warmest single-day March temperature ever recorded in New Hampshire (1998)
  • Longest snow-free period ever recorded at Boston's Logan Airport (304 days - 1999/2000)
  • The 1999/2000 winter was the mildest on record (replacing the 1998/1999 winter as the previous record, which in turn replaced 1997/1998)
  • One of the hottest and driest summers on record in southern and western New England (1999)
  • One of the coolest and wettest summers on record for southern New England (2000)
  • One of the heaviest snowfall winters on record across the region (2000/01)
While it is difficult to say with certainty that extreme events are on the increase in the New England region, it is clear that the decade of the 1990s has been characterized by an unusual number of extreme events. Predicting future extreme events in a dynamic region such as New England has proven to be a difficult task.

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