East Coast of the United States
Map of the East Coast of the United States, excluding subdivisions with tidal arms of the Atlantic
|Principal cities|| New York City |
|Largest city||New York City|
|Largest metropolitan area||New York metropolitan area|
|Time zone||UTC−5:00 (Eastern Time Zone (ETZ))|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−4:00 (Eastern Daylight Time (EDT))|
The East Coast of the United States, also known as the Eastern Seaboard, the Atlantic Coast, and the Atlantic Seaboard, is the coastline along which the Eastern United States meets the North Atlantic Ocean. Regionally, the term refers to the coastal states and area east of the Appalachian Mountains that have shoreline on the Atlantic Ocean, from north to south, Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida.
The place name "East Coast" derives from the idea that the contiguous 48 states are defined by two major coastlines, one at the western edge and one on the eastern edge. Other terms for referring to this area include the "Eastern Seaboard" ("seaboard" being American English for coast), "Atlantic Coast" and "Atlantic Seaboard" (because the coastline lies along the Atlantic Ocean).
The 14 states that have a shoreline on the Atlantic Ocean are, from north to south, Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida.In addition, Pennsylvania and the District of Columbia border tidal arms of the Atlantic (the Delaware River and the Potomac River, respectively). The states of Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas (via the Gulf of Mexico), as well as the territories of Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands and Navassa Island (the latter only bordering the Caribbean Sea) have Atlantic coastline, but are not included in the definition.
Although Vermont and West Virginia have no Atlantic coastline, they are grouped with the Eastern Seaboard states because of their locations in New England and the Old South,and their history as part of the land base of the original Thirteen Colonies (viz. the Colony of New Hampshire, the Colony of New York and the Colony of Virginia).
The original 13 colonies of Great Britain in North America all lay along the East Coast.
Two additional U.S. states on the East Coast were not among the original thirteen colonies: Maine (became part of the English colony of Massachusetts in 1677)and Florida (part of New Spain until 1821, though held by the British from after the end of the French and Indian War until 1781). Florida's written history begins with the arrival of Europeans; the Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de León in 1513 made the first textual records. The state received its name from this Spanish conquistador, who called the peninsula La Pascua Florida in recognition of the verdant landscape and because it was the Easter season, which the Spaniards called Pascua Florida (Festival of Flowers).
The Middle Colonies (New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York and Delaware) had been owned by the Dutch as New Netherland, until they were captured by the English in the mid-to-late 17th century.[ citation needed ]
There are three basic climate regions on the East Coast according to the Köppen climate classification from north to south based on the monthly mean temperature of the coldest month (January):
The region from northern Maine south to northern Connecticut has a continental climate, with warm summers, and cold and snowy winters. The area from southern Connecticut south to southern North Carolina has a temperate climate, with long, hot summers and cool winters, while the area from southern North Carolina south to central Florida is subtropical, with hot and rainy summers, and mild and drier winters. Around south-central Florida southward (Stuart, south through the Florida Keys) has a tropical climate, which is frost free and is warm to hot all year.
Average monthly precipitation ranges from a slight late fall (November) maximum from Massachusetts northward (as at Portland, Maine), to a slight summer maximum in the Mid-Atlantic states from southern Connecticut south to Virginia (as at Wilmington, Delaware and Norfolk, Virginia), to a more pronounced summer maximum from Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, southward along the Southeastern United States coast to Savannah, Georgia. The Florida peninsula has a sharp wet-summer/dry-winter pattern, with 60 to 70 percent of precipitation falling between June and October in an average year and a dry, and sunny late fall, winter and early spring.
Although landfalls are rare, the Eastern seaboard is susceptible to hurricanes in the Atlantic hurricane season, officially running from June 1 to November 30, although hurricanes can occur before or after these dates.Hurricanes Hazel, Hugo, Bob, Isabel, Irene, Sandy and most recently Florence and Isaias are some of the more significant storms to have affected the region.
The East Coast is a low-relief, passive margin coast.It has been shaped by the Pleistocene glaciation in the far northern areas in New England, with offshore islands such as Nantucket, Block Island, Fishers Island. From around northern New Jersey southward, the coastal plain broadens southwards, separated from the Piedmont region by the Atlantic Seaboard fall line of the East Coast rivers, often marking the head of navigation and prominent sites of cities. The coastal areas from Long Island south to Florida are often made up of barrier islands that front the coastal areas, with the long stretches of sandy beaches. Many of the larger capes along the lower East Coast are in fact barrier islands, like the Outer Banks of North Carolina and Cape Canaveral, Florida. The Florida Keys are made up of limestone coral and provide the only coral reefs on the US mainland.
In 2010, the population of the states which have shoreline on the East Coast was estimated at 112,642,503 (36% of the country's total population). New York City is both the largest city and the largest metropolitan area on the East Coast. The East Coast is the most populated coastal area in the United States.
|City||City Population||Metro Population||State||U.S. Rank|
New York City
|705,749||6,216,589||District of Columbia||20|
Virginia Beach, Virginia
Providence, Rhode Island
New Haven, Connecticut
Newark, New Jersey
Jersey City, New Jersey
Paterson, New Jersey
Elizabeth, New Jersey
Woodbridge Township, New Jersey
Edison, New Jersey
Newport News, Virginia
Wilmington, North Carolina
Charlotte, North Carolina
Fayetteville, North Carolina
Charleston, South Carolina
Columbia, South Carolina
Port St. Lucie, Florida
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Pembroke Pines, Florida
Coral Springs, Florida
Palm Bay, Florida
Miami Gardens, Florida
Pompano Beach, Florida
West Palm Beach, Florida
The primary Interstate Highway along the East Coast is Interstate 95, completed in 2018,which replaced the historic U.S. Route 1 (Atlantic Highway), the original federal highway that traversed all East Coast states, except Delaware. By water, the East Coast is connected from Boston, Massachusetts to Miami, Florida, by the Intracoastal Waterway, also known as the East Coast Canal, which was completed in 1912. Amtrak's Downeaster and Northeast Regional offer the main passenger rail service on the Seaboard. The Acela Express offers the only high-speed rail passenger service in the Americas. Between New York and Boston the Acela Express has up to a 54% share of the combined train and air passenger market.
Some of the largest airports in the United States are located along the East Coast of the United States, such as John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, Logan International Airport in Boston, Newark Liberty Airport in Newark, New Jersey, Philadelphia International Airport in Philadelphia, Baltimore–Washington International Airport near Baltimore, Washington-Dulles International Airport near Washington, D.C., Hartsfield International Airport in Atlanta, Miami International Airport in Miami, Charlotte Douglas International Airport in Charlotte, North Carolina, Tampa International Airport in Tampa and Orlando International Airport in Orlando, Florida.
As the first spot in the United States that immigrants arrived and the close proximity of Europe, the Caribbean and Latin America, the East Coast is home to a diverse population and home to multi-cultures when compared to the rest of the USA. From the strong Latin culture in southern Florida and New York City, to the 200 year old Gullah culture of the low country coastal islands of Georgia and South Carolina, to the many historic cities in the Middle Atlantic where a strong English, German, Italian, Irish and French culture are present, the East Coast is significantly more diverse than the rest of the United States. Chinatown in New York City and Little Havana in Miami are examples of such cultural centers in the bigger cities, .
The East Coast is home to much of the political and financial power of the United States, as well as the center for resort and travel destinations in the United States. New York City is the largest city and financial capital of the United States and one of the top financial powerhouse cities in the world. Seventy-one of the worlds fortune 500 companies have their corporate headquarters in New York City, while Midtown Manhattan with 400 million square feet of office space in 2018, is the largest central business district in the world. Washington, D.C. is the capital and political nerve center of the United States. Many organizations such as defense contractors, civilian contractors, nonprofit organizations, lobbying firms, trade unions, industry trade groups and professional associations have their headquarters in or near Washington, D.C., in order to be close to the federal government.
Miami and Florida are one of the top domestic and international travel destinations in the United States. Miami is the warmest major city in the United States in winter, this factor contributes to it being a major tourism hub for international visitors. Miami has one of the largest concentrations of international banks in the United States, and the third tallest skyline in the U.S. with over 300 high-rises, 55 of which exceed 490 ft (149 m). The port of Miami is the busiest cruise port in the world in both passenger traffic and cruise lines, with over 5.5 million cruise passengers passing through the port each year. The center for tropical plant culture and research in the United States is based in Miami at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, while the state of Florida is the number two producer of oranges in the world behind Brazil.
U.S. Route 1 or U.S. Highway 1 (US 1) is a major north–south United States Numbered Highway that serves the East Coast of the United States. It runs 2,369 miles (3,813 km), from Key West, Florida north to Fort Kent, Maine, at the Canadian border, making it the longest north–south road in the United States. US 1 is generally paralleled by Interstate 95 (I-95), though the former is significantly farther west (inland) between Jacksonville, Florida, and Petersburg, Virginia. The highway connects most of the major cities of the East Coast—including Miami, Jacksonville, Raleigh, Richmond, Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York City, and Boston passing from the Southeastern United States to New England.
Interstate 95 (I-95) is the main Interstate Highway on the East Coast of the United States, running from U.S. Route 1 (US 1) in Miami, Florida to the Houlton–Woodstock Border Crossing between Maine and the Canadian province of New Brunswick. The highway largely parallels the Atlantic coast and US 1, except for the portion between Savannah and Washington, which follows a more direct inland route.
The East Coast Greenway is a 3,000-mile (4,800 km) biking and walking route linking the major cities of the Atlantic coast of the United States, from Calais, Maine, to Key West, Florida. The spine route and branching complementary routes are for non-motorized human transportation for everything from local commutes to long-distance trips.
Hurricane Donna, known in Puerto Rico as Hurricane San Lorenzo, was the strongest hurricane of the 1960 Atlantic hurricane season, and caused severe damage to the Lesser Antilles, the Greater Antilles, and the East Coast of the United States, especially Florida, in August–September. The fifth tropical cyclone, third hurricane, and first major hurricane of the season, Donna developed south of Cape Verde on August 29, spawned by a tropical wave to which 63 deaths from a plane crash in Senegal were attributed. The depression strengthened into Tropical Storm Donna by the following day. Donna moved west-northwestward at roughly 20 mph (32 km/h) and by September 1, it reached hurricane status. Over the next three days, Donna deepened significantly and reached maximum sustained winds of 130 mph (210 km/h) on September 4. Thereafter, it maintained intensity as it struck the Lesser Antilles later that day. On Sint Maarten, the storm left a quarter of the island's population homeless and killed seven people. An additional five deaths were reported in Anguilla, and there were seven other fatalities throughout the Virgin Islands. In Puerto Rico, severe flash flooding led to 107 fatalities, 85 of them in Humacao alone.
Hurricane Gloria was the first significant tropical cyclone to strike the northeastern United States since Hurricane Agnes in 1972 and the first major storm to affect New York City and Long Island directly since Hurricane Donna in 1960. It was a powerful Cape Verde hurricane that formed during the 1985 Atlantic hurricane season, originating from a tropical wave on September 16 in the eastern Atlantic Ocean. After remaining a weak tropical cyclone for several days, Gloria intensified into a hurricane on September 22 north of the Lesser Antilles. During that time, the storm had moved generally westward, although it turned to the northwest due to a weakening of the ridge. Gloria quickly intensified on September 24, and the next day reached peak winds of 145 mph (230 km/h). The hurricane weakened before striking the Outer Banks of North Carolina on September 27. Later that day, Gloria made two subsequent landfalls on Long Island and across the coastline of western Connecticut, before becoming extratropical on September 28 over New England. The remnants moved through Atlantic Canada, eventually dissipating on October 2.
Hurricane Carol was among the worst tropical cyclones on record to affect the states of Connecticut and Rhode Island in the United States. It developed from a tropical wave near the Bahamas on August 25, 1954, and slowly strengthened as it moved northwestward. On August 27, Carol intensified to reach winds of 105 mph (165 km/h), but weakened as its motion turned to a northwest drift. A strong trough of low pressure turned the hurricane northeastward, and Carol later intensified into a major hurricane. While paralleling the Mid-Atlantic and Southeastern United States, the storm produced strong winds and rough seas that caused minor coastal flooding and slight damage to houses in North Carolina, Virginia, Washington, D.C., Delaware, and New Jersey. The well-organized hurricane accelerated north-northeastward and made landfall on eastern Long Island, New York, and then over eastern Connecticut on August 31 with sustained winds estimated at 110-mph and a barometric pressure near 956 mb. Carol later transitioned into an extratropical cyclone over New Hampshire, on August 31, 1954.
Hurricane Edna was a deadly and destructive major hurricane that impacted the United States East Coast in September of the 1954 Atlantic hurricane season. It was one of two hurricanes to strike Massachusetts in that year, the other being Hurricane Carol. The fifth tropical cyclone and storm of the season, as well as the fourth hurricane and second major hurricane, Edna developed from a tropical wave on September 2. Moving towards the north-northwest, Edna skirted the northern Leeward Islands as a tropical depression before turning more towards the west. The depression attained tropical storm status to the east of Puerto Rico and strengthened further to reach hurricane status by September 7. The storm rapidly intensified and reached its peak intensity of 125 mph (205 km/h) north of the Bahamas before weakening to Category 2 status near landfall in Massachusetts on September 11. Edna transitioned into an extratropical cyclone in Atlantic Canada before its remnants dissipated in the northern Atlantic.
Hurricane Ginny was the strongest recorded tropical cyclone to make landfall in Canada, as well as the latest hurricane on a calendar year to affect the U.S. state of Maine. The eighth tropical storm of the 1963 Atlantic hurricane season, Ginny developed on October 16 over the Bahamas, although it was not initially a fully tropical cyclone. As it moved to the North and later northwest, Ginny intensified to hurricane status as it became more tropical. For eight days, it was located within 250 mi (400 km) of the United States coastline. After approaching North Carolina, Ginny looped to the southwest and approached within 50 mi (80 km) of the Florida coastline. It turned to the North, to the East, and later to the northeast, strengthening late in its duration to peak winds of 110 mph (175 km/h). Ginny became an extratropical cyclone shortly after striking Nova Scotia at its peak intensity on October 29.
The 1944 Great Atlantic hurricane was a destructive and powerful tropical cyclone that swept across a large portion of the United States East Coast in September 1944. Impacts were most significant in New England, though significant effects were also felt along the Outer Banks, Mid-Atlantic states, and the Canadian Maritimes. Due to its ferocity and path, the storm drew comparisons to the 1938 Long Island Express, known as one of the worst storms in New England history.
Hurricane Esther was the first large tropical cyclone to be discovered by satellite imagery. The fifth tropical cyclone, named storm, and hurricane of the 1961 Atlantic hurricane season, Esther developed from an area of disturbed weather hundreds of miles west-southwest of the southernmost Cape Verde Islands on September 10. Moving northwestward, the depression strengthened into Tropical Storm Esther on September 11, before reaching hurricane intensity on the following day. Early on September 13, Esther curved westward and deepened into a major hurricane. The storm remained a Category 3 hurricane for about four days and gradually moved in a west-northwestward direction. Late on September 17, Esther strengthened into a Category 5 hurricane with sustained winds of 160 mph (260 km/h) on September 18. The storm curved north-northeastward on September 19, while offshore of North Carolina. Esther began to weaken while approaching New England and fell to Category 3 intensity on September 21. The storm turned eastward early on the following day, and rapidly weakened to a tropical storm.
Hurricane Edouard was the strongest hurricane in the 1996 Atlantic hurricane season, reaching winds of 145 mph (230 km/h) on its path. Edouard remained a major hurricane for eight days, an unusually long amount of time. A Cape Verde hurricane, the storm formed near the coast of Africa in the middle of August. It moved westward then curved northward, and persisted until early September when it became extratropical to the southeast of New England. Edouard was originally forecast to strike the northeast United States, but it produced hurricane-force gusts to portions of southeastern Massachusetts while remaining offshore. The winds caused minor damage totaling $20 million. In addition, the hurricane generated strong waves and rip currents to coastlines, killing two people in Ocean City, MD and causing numerous injuries.
Adventure Cycling Association's Atlantic Coast Bicycle Route is a 2,615-mile-long (4,208 km) bicycle touring route traversing the East Coast of the United States. The route has two connecting segments, extending nearly the entire length of the nation's eastern margin. The northern section of the route features historic New England coastal villages and towns, rural countrysides, and Amish farmlands. The route's southern section begins after the Mason–Dixon Line and is notable for the Civil War battlefields in Fredericksburg, Virginia, and the city of Richmond, Virginia. The northern section of the route can be ridden between late spring and late fall, and the southern section can be ridden year-round.
Tropical Storm Brenda was the second named storm of the 1960 Atlantic hurricane season. It developed in the northeastern Gulf of Mexico on July 28, and after moving ashore over the Florida Peninsula, it attained tropical storm status. Brenda accelerated northeast along the U.S. East Coast, ultimately peaking as a moderate storm with winds of 60 mph (97 km/h) before crossing the Mid-Atlantic states and New England; it dissipated on July 31 over southern Canada. The storm inflicted moderate damage in Florida, the worst since Hurricane Easy of 1950, and dropped heavy rainfall as far north as New York City. Total damage is estimated at US$5 million, and only indirect deaths are blamed on the cyclone.
Hurricane Alma saw the latest development of the first storm since 1941. The first named storm of the 1962 Atlantic hurricane season, Alma formed from a tropical wave located offshore South Florida on August 26. Initially a tropical depression, it subsequently moved inland over South Florida. Impact in the state was minor, generally limited to light rainfall and rough seas. Early on August 27, the depression reemerged into the Atlantic Ocean and strengthened into Tropical Storm Alma later that day. Thereafter, it moved northeastward and remained offshore the East Coast of the United States. Alma strengthened into a hurricane on August 28, while located offshore the Outer Banks of North Carolina. In the eastern portion of the state, strong winds downed electrical poles, which caused power outages. Storm tides caused erosion in some areas. Damage in North Carolina reached $35,000 (1962 USD).
Hurricane Cindy impacted the Carolinas, the Mid-Atlantic states, New England, and the Canadian Maritime Provinces during the 1959 Atlantic hurricane season. The third storm of the season, Cindy originated from a low-pressure area associated with a cold front located east of northern Florida. The low developed into a tropical depression on July 5 while tracking north-northeastward, and became Tropical Storm Cindy by the next day. Cindy turned westward because of a high-pressure area positioned to its north, and further intensified into a weak hurricane off the coast of the Carolinas on July 8. Early on July 9, Cindy made landfall near McClellanville, South Carolina, and re-curved to the northeast along the Fall Line as a tropical depression. It re-entered the Atlantic on July 10, quickly restrengthening into a tropical storm while it began to move faster. On July 11, Cindy passed over Cape Cod, while several other weather systems helped the storm maintain its intensity. Cindy transitioned into an extratropical cyclone on July 12 as it neared the Canadian Maritime Provinces.
Hurricane Arthur was the earliest known hurricane to make landfall in the U.S. state of North Carolina, and the first hurricane to make landfall in the United States since Hurricane Isaac in 2012. The first named storm of the 2014 Atlantic hurricane season, Arthur developed from an initially non-tropical area of low pressure over the Southeastern United States that emerged into the western Atlantic Ocean on June 28. After sufficiently organizing, developing a well-defined circulation and deep convection amid a favorable environment, it was classified a tropical depression on July 1. The system continued to strengthen, and was declared a tropical storm later that day. Drifting northward, the storm reached hurricane status early on July 3 and curved toward the north-northeast. Further structural organization resulted in additional intensification, and by 01:00 UTC on July 4, the system attained its peak winds of 100 mph (155 km/h) as a Category 2 hurricane on the Saffir–Simpson hurricane wind scale. Arthur made landfall at 03:15 UTC over North Carolina's Shackleford Banks, positioned between Cape Lookout and Beaufort, and intensified slightly further, with a minimum atmospheric pressure of 973 mbar. The storm then trekked swiftly northeast, weakening as it passed by Cape Cod and Nantucket, before transitioning into an extratropical cyclone and coming ashore at Weymouth, Nova Scotia, on July 5. The remnants continued generally northeastward through Atlantic Canada before ultimately dissipating on July 9 over the Labrador Sea.
The January 2018 North American blizzard was a powerful cyclonic blizzard that caused severe disruption along the East Coast of the United States and Canada in early January 2018. The storm dropped up to 2 feet of snow in the Mid-Atlantic states, New England, and Atlantic Canada, while areas as far south as southern Georgia and far northern Florida had brief wintry precipitation, with 0.1 inches of snow measured officially in Tallahassee, Florida.
Hurricane Teddy was a large and powerful Cape Verde hurricane that was the fourth-largest Atlantic hurricane by diameter of gale-force winds recorded and produced large swells along the coast of the Eastern United States and Atlantic Canada in September 2020. The twentieth tropical depression, nineteenth named storm, eighth hurricane, and second major hurricane of the record-breaking 2020 Atlantic hurricane season, Teddy initially formed from a tropical depression that developed from a tropical wave on September 12. Initially, the depression's large size and moderate wind shear kept it from organizing, but it eventually intensified into Tropical Storm Teddy on September 14. After steadily intensifying for about a day, the storm rapidly became a Category 2 hurricane on September 16 before moderate wind shear caused the storm to fluctuate in intensity. It then rapidly intensified again on September 17 and became a Category 4 hurricane. Internal fluctuations and eyewall replacement cycles then caused the storm to fluctuate in intensity before it weakened some as it approached Bermuda. After passing east of the island as a Category 1 hurricane on September 21, Teddy restrengthened back to Category 2 strength due to baroclinic forcing. It weakened back down to Category 1 hurricane the next day before becoming a post-tropical as it approached Atlantic Canada early on September 23. It then weakened to a gale-force low and made landfall in Nova Scotia with winds of 65 mph. It executed a large loop as it accelerated first northward then eastward north of Newfoundland, briefly strengthening back to a storm-force low before weakening again and losing its identity on September 27.