image from Wikipedia of the Nor’easter blizzard of 2006. Looks like a hurricane, doesn’t it?
We’re having a Nor’easter here in New England. This does not mean, as is often thought, that the storm comes in from the northeast Atlantic (which indeed is notorious for producing ferocious storms) but rather because the storm sits offshore with the northeast quadrant pushing the storm inland.
Storms revolve counterclockwise in the northern hemisphere. The northeast quadrant is the most dangerous because it is pushing wind and waves in same direction, in this instance towards the shore, thus the potential for damage is greater.
Nor’easters are caused by a Gulf Stream low traveling up the coast and colliding with an Arctic high. The result is torrents of rain and high winds. Beach areas can get a storm surge, 60 mph winds, as well as serious erosion.
By the time this one is over, it will have rained hard for two days solid, with more over the next several days. It’s expected there will be flooding in some areas, as well as evacuations.
Update: It’s the right-front quadrant of the storm that is most dangerous, and that quadrant is determined by the direction of the storm. In New England, big storms generally come up the coast line, hence the northeast quadrant is what slams wind and storm surge towards the shore simultaneously.