I have always thought that a "north-easter" was a storm with winds coming from the north east but the recent storm that travelled from the west coast up to the north east was called a "north-easter" - so, what exactly is a "north-easter"?

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MIKE MOSS SAYS:      Sue,   Your interpretation is actually on target. Nor'easters derive their name from the strong northeasterly winds that herald their arrival as they move up the east coast of the United States. While many nor'easters are formed in the southeastern U.S. or along the southeastern coast and then track north, the recent storm tracked farther inland across much of the southeastern U.S. (with a low passing through west-central NC) and then mainly intensified as a coastal low around the DelMarVa area. It then continued north and eventually east out into the Atlantic off New York. The name nor'easter was still applicable for areas north of us, since the low became a coastal system and lashed New England with strong northeasterly winds as it deepened and moved into place offshore.

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