10 Worst Nor’easters of All Time

The Perfect Storm
Actor John C. Reilly, who appeared in the film "The Perfect Storm," poses in front of a replica of the doomed ship "The Andrea Gail," which went down in the Perfect Storm. Chris Hondros/Newsmakers/Getty Images

In 1991, a nor'easter called the Perfect Storm converged on the East Coast during Halloween weekend. It was "perfect" not because of its spectacular nature, but because -- in meteorological terms -- the weather could not have been worse.

After wreaking havoc, the Perfect Storm came to a perfectly strange end. Shortly after All Hallows Eve came to a close, the Perfect Storm morphed into a tropical cyclone and then, in a rare move, a full-blown hurricane stationed just off the U.S. eastern seaboard. Stranger still, the dying Halloween storm was never given an official name by the National Weather Service, save for the ambiguous "unnamed hurricane of 1991" moniker eventually recorded.

The Perfect Storm's effects, however, went on to receive plenty of publicity in the 1997 novel, "The Perfect Storm," by Sebastian Junger. The novel, which depicted the sinking of the swordfish boat Andrea Gail, along with all its crew, became a major motion picture. It was released in 2000 and starred George Clooney and John C. Reilly [source: NOAA]. It illustrated the travails of the six crewmembers and their eventual drowning during the storm; in real life, their bodies were never recovered.

All told, the Perfect Storm of 1991 brought with it widespread flooding, surging waves, rain and snow, freezing temperatures and up to 78 mile-per-hour (125 kilometer-per-hour) winds. It killed 13 people and caused hundreds of millions of dollars in damage, in states ranging from Massachusetts to Florida. Massachusetts was particularly hard-hit. Hundreds of homes were destroyed during the three days of heavy rain and wind [source: National Climatic Data Center].

More to Explore