Friday, October 26, 2012

Thoughts on Sandy

Doomsday scenarios have been playing out for a large portion of the eastern seaboard. There have even been comparisons to the 1991 Perfect Storm that struck New England. Sandy isn't a reprise of that Nor'easter. Sandy is her own storm, like each storm is. All models indicate that Sandy will still be a hurricane when she makes landfall sometime early next week. There is no "Frankenstorm" situation; not even sure what that means. Sandy will be Sandy. Let's break down Sandy and her impacts.

 Sandy has a few things going for her right now. Her current path will take her right along the coastline.

All models bring her right up the coast. She would parallel the coast if it wasn't for factor number 2, the approaching cold front.

 This cold front will aid in bringing Sandy inland. The front will essentially scoop up Sandy and swing her inland.

 There was suspicion as to what the storm will be like at landfall. Will it be a hurricane? Tropical storm? Nor'easter? The high pressure set up to the north of Sandy will help deepen the low pressure at the center of Sandy and the forecast reflects that strengthening. Look for Sandy to make landfall as a category one hurricane.

Now timing and location becomes the next challenge. Guidance is indicating a landfall sometime between Monday A.M. and Tuesday P.M. She may strike anywhere from Delaware to Long Island. The closer we get landfall, the better idea we will have. Either way, the entire east coast needs to take action NOW to avoid disaster LATER.

Potential impacts could cripple a large portion of the east coast as well. With the cold front sweeping through, significant snow accumulations could fall as cold air filters in behind the front. There is plenty of moisture with Sandy, so 6-8 inches of rain as Sandy skirts the Carolinas is not out of the question. Added water from the storm surge may cause devastating flooding for certain places. Storm surge is enhanced by storm winds.

This is a model's forecast for landfall and the impressive wind field associated with Sandy. This is from the European model which has been the most consistent in forecasting landfall. But what is impressive here is the winds. The closer the lines are together, the stronger the winds are. Look how far out the wind field extends! Tropical storm winds may be seen all the way out in Ohio! I like this situation to verify.

A lot is yet to play out. As a forecaster I am anticipating this storm. It could be historic but it will be a deadly one. 

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