Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Sandy Recap and Part II

The ugly aftermath of "Superstorm" Sandy continues in the Northeast. Hundreds of thousands still without power and even without a home. Unfortunately, those who are still having issues nearly a week after Sandy struck are going to have new problems to deal with. More on this in a minuet but first, here is a great graphic that puts Sandy into context.

I'm not the biggest fan of The Weather Channel...too mainstream weather for me. My biggest gripe is their forecasting ability for cities not named Atlanta, Boston, Chicago or New York. But I have nothing wrong with their research department. Looking into the past is something they do quite well! They published this graphic that compares Hurricane/Superstorm Sandy with Tropical Storm Irene (last year's most costly tropical system) and Hurricane Katrina from 2005. The numbers are impressive given that Sandy only topped out as a Category 1 storm and wasn't even tropical at landfall!

Just as in real estate: location, location, location really matters with weather, too. Sandy hit the most populated area of the United States, impacting millions of people and damaging massive amounts of infrastructure. The clean-up effort will take time and that effort will be hindered by a new storm; a Nor'easter is on the way!

A Nor'easter is a typical winter-time storm that forms along the Atlantic southern coast and speeds up along the coastline bringing wind, rain and snow to the Northeast. Nor'easter gets its name due to the direction of damaging winds, not where it strikes.

Here is our surface map that is valid this Wednesday afternoon. The red arrow indicates overall wind pattern (from the Northeast). The models are putting out wind speeds sustained around 20-40 miles per hour with gusts approaching hurricane-strength over open water and coastal areas. Heavy rains expected at the coasts and a dumping of wet snow (multiple feet) further inland. The blue line I highlighted indicates a rough rain-snow line. I say rough because several more factors play into it but in this situation you can expect snow to fall behind that line. Notice that same line extends all the way into the Portland area--but we will not be seeing any snow! This Nor'easter is not as strong as Sandy was but the impacts from it will be felt hard as clean-up efforts will likely take a hit and more flooding will be expected from the storm surge. It's been an ugly first half of fall for the Northeast.

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