Tropical Storm Philippe technically drifted to extinction over the northern Bahamas, but a cold front moving through New England tapped some of its remnant energy after they began merging in the Mid-Atlantic. Eventually the system exploded, thanks to good jet dynamics, and New England caught the storm right in the chin.
The system was in such a favorable environment as it moved north, it is said to have “bombed out” in the parlance of meteorologists, which is to say the central pressure of the low dropped a millibar an hour over the course of a 24 hour period. It didn’t sustain that growth, but the rapid development was still quite significant, and this particular dynamism helped to feed the particularly nasty conditions that were seen, especially in southeastern parts of New England.
Over a million are without power in New England a day later, and the rapid intensification of the storm led to some incredible wind gusts, including some hurricane strength winds of 93mph on Cape Cod. That’s stronger than any of the winds Sandy put forth as she charged through the mid-Atlantic!
One fundamental and important difference was that this storm organized nearly on top of southeastern New England, so the storm surge didn’t have enough room to really become damaging. The half a foot of rain some places received caused problems enough, but those issues were distributed inland, and coastal areas weren’t obliterated.
Ultimately, this storm won’t be remembered on the scale of other late October storms like Sandy or Irene, but it was definitely a harsh end to the month, and a powerful reminder of just what the Gulf Stream has to offer this time of year.