Sandy intensifying, headed towards Jamaica

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:49 PM GMT on October 23, 2012

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Tropical Storm Sandy is on the move northwards towards Jamaica, and is slowly intensifying. The Hurricane Hunters are in the storm, and measured surface winds near 50 mph in the storm's northeast quadrant at 9 am EDT. The latest center fix, taken at 10:20 am EDT, found that Sandy's pressure had fallen 2 mb since early this morning, to 995 mb. Intermittent rain squalls from Sandy have been affecting Jamaica since Monday night, and Kingston, Jamaica has picked up 0.82" of rain from Sandy as of 9 am EDT. and Sandy is over very warm waters of 29.5°C, is in an unusually moist environment with relative humidities above 80%, and is experiencing light wind shear of 5 - 10 knots. These conditions are very favorable for intensification, and Sandy's heavy thunderstorms have increased in areal extent, intensity, and organization this morning, as seen on satellite loops.


Figure 1. Morning satellite image of Tropical Storm Sandy.

Sandy a potential threat to New England
Wind shear is forecast to be in the low to moderate range, 5 - 20 knots, through Thursday morning. This should allow continued development of Sandy, and rapid development is possible. The 8 am EDT SHIPS model forecast predicted a 62% chance that Sandy's winds would increase by 30 mph over a 24-hour period. However, the Hurricane Hunters found this morning that the center at 5,000 feet was displaced 7 miles from the surface center, and there was no indication that Sandy was building an eyewall, so I expect that the earliest Sandy could become a hurricane is Wednesday morning. The 5 am EDT NHC Wind Probability Forecast gave a 49% chance that Sandy would be a hurricane by 2 pm EDT Wednesday, when the center should be close to Jamaica. Wind shear will rise to a high 25 - 30 knots by Thursday and the storm will have to cross the rugged terrain of Cuba, which should weaken Sandy's winds by 20 - 30 mph. By Friday, Sandy should be over warm waters in the Central Bahamas, but only modest re-intensification by 10 - 20 mph should occur, due to high wind shear. At that point, a very complicated meteorological situation unfolds, as Sandy interacts with a trough of low pressure approaching the U.S. East Coast. The trough may steer Sandy northeastwards, out to sea, as predicted by the GFS, HWRF, and GFDL models. However, an alternative solution, shown by the ECMWF and NOGAPS models, is for the trough to inject a large amount of energy into Sandy, converting it to a powerful subtropical storm that hits New England early next week with a central pressure of 948 mb and winds near hurricane-force. The ECMWF and NOGAPS models are off by a full day in their predictions of when the storm would arrive, with the 06Z NOGAPS model predicting Sandy's heavy rains will arrive on North Carolina's Outer Banks on Sunday, then spread into the mid-Atlantic and New England on Sunday. The 00Z ECMWF model forecast predicts that Sandy will arrive in New England on Monday night. Stay tuned.


Figure 2. The Tuesday morning 06Z (2 am EDT) run of the GFS model was done 20 times at lower resolution with slightly varying initial conditions of temperature, pressure, and moisture to generate an ensemble of forecast tracks for Sandy (pink lines). These forecasts show substantial uncertainty in Sandy's path after Friday, with the majority of the forecasts taking Sandy to the northeast, out to sea, but a substantial number predicting a landfall in the Northeast or mid-Atlantic states of the U.S. The white line shows the official GFS forecast, run at higher resolution.


Figure 3. Morning satellite image of Tropical Depression Nineteen.

Tropical Depression Nineteen in the middle Atlantic
There has been little change to Tropical Depression Nineteen since it formed Monday in the middle Atlantic. TD 19 has a modest area of heavy thunderstorms, as seen on visible satellite images, and dry air from an upper-level low pressure system on its west side is slowing development. TD 19 is moving north-northeast at 15 mph, and has moved over waters that are 27°C, a full degree cooler what the storm had to work with on Monday. Wind shear is a moderate 10 - 20 knots, but is forecast to increase to the high range, 20 - 40 knots, on Wednesday. Ocean temperatures will drop below 26°C on Wednesday, so TD 19 has until Wednesday morning to get its act together and develop into Tropical Storm Tony. TD 19 will not threaten any land areas, and will likely be dead by Friday.


Video 1. Impressive weather video of the week: Baseball-sized hail splashing into a swimming pool during a hailstorm in South Africa on Saturday, October 20, 2012. The action gets interesting at about 1 minute into the video.

Tonight (October 23), PBS Frontline airs "Climate of Doubt", which examines the politics of climate change, and how a once generally accepted fact--that humans have contributed to, if not caused, global warming--has been dismissed by many politicians. It's on at 10 pm here in Michigan, but times may vary, depending upon the station.

Jeff Masters

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1739. UWI
4:29 PM GMT on October 24, 2012
You can see tha bands on Sandy on the Cuban

RadarLink
Member Since: August 16, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 1
1738. 12george1
2:54 PM GMT on October 24, 2012
Quoting SFLWeatherman:
I was in the EYE of that storm!!

Same here
Member Since: August 27, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 257
1737. cwf1069
2:29 PM GMT on October 24, 2012
Good Morning. The satellite image can be deceived, the center continue on a NNE track, while the wind field can be expanding to the NW. Sandy could miss Jammaica completly. The worst part would be for Haiti and Eastern Cuba.
Member Since: April 15, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 117
1736. JRRP
2:23 PM GMT on October 24, 2012
.
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6202
1735. GeorgiaStormz
2:23 PM GMT on October 24, 2012
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9738
1734. WunderAlertBot (Admin)
2:21 PM GMT on October 24, 2012
JeffMasters has created a new entry.
1733. Daws
2:21 PM GMT on October 24, 2012
Good morning, here in Montego Bay the rain and wind is still light and a feeling of calm
Member Since: June 24, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 2
1732. ncstorm
2:20 PM GMT on October 24, 2012
Quoting washingtonian115:
What does that translate to ncstorm?.


If the current Euro run pans out..look for 80mph winds
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 16083
1731. washingtonian115
2:18 PM GMT on October 24, 2012
Sandy already has washingtonians talking around here.Suppose to be some events taking place down town over the weekend and a lot of people are suspected to be out.
Member Since: August 14, 2010 Posts: 10 Comments: 17492
1730. hydrus
2:18 PM GMT on October 24, 2012
/
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 21861
1729. kimoskee
2:18 PM GMT on October 24, 2012
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:


Jamaica and Haiti about to get clobbered
Member Since: August 17, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 672
1728. BDAwx
2:17 PM GMT on October 24, 2012
Looks like Sandy is crossing the threshold into hurricane status with an eye forming and some very low pressures <980mb. I'm interested to read the 11am discussion :).
Member Since: August 3, 2009 Posts: 51 Comments: 543
1727. hydrus
2:17 PM GMT on October 24, 2012
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 21861
1726. Saltydogbwi1
2:17 PM GMT on October 24, 2012
oduct: Air Force Vortex Message (URNT12 KNHC)
Transmitted: 24th day of the month at 14:07Z
Aircraft: Air Force Aircraft (Last 3 digits of the tail number are 308)
Storm Number & Year: 18L in 2012
Storm Name: Sandy (flight in the North Atlantic basin)
Mission Number: 4
Observation Number: 13
A. Time of Center Fix: 24th day of the month at 13:27:50Z
B. Center Fix Coordinates: 16°51'N 76°44'W (16.85N 76.7333W)
B. Center Fix Location: 79 miles (127 km) to the S (177°) from Kingston, Jamaica.
C. Minimum Height at Standard Level: 2,930m (9,613ft) at 700mb
D. Estimated (by SFMR or visually) Maximum Surface Wind: 65kts (~ 74.8mph)
E. Location of the Estimated Maximum Surface Wind: 15 nautical miles (17 statute miles) to the NNE (29°) of center fix
F. Maximum Flight Level Wind Inbound: From 123° at 63kts (From the ESE at ~ 72.5mph)
G. Location of Maximum Flight Level Wind Inbound: 19 nautical miles (22 statute miles) to the NNE (32°) of center fix
H. Minimum Sea Level Pressure: 980mb (28.94 inHg)
I. Maximum Flight Level Temp & Pressure Altitude Outside Eye: 9°C (48°F) at a pressure alt. of 3,012m (9,882ft)
J. Maximum Flight Level Temp & Pressure Altitude Inside Eye: 16°C (61°F) at a pressure alt. of 3,049m (10,003ft)
K. Dewpoint Temp (collected at same location as temp inside eye): 7°C (45°F)
K. Sea Surface Temp (collected at same location as temp inside eye): Not Available
L. Eye Character: Open in the west-northwest
M. Eye Shape & Diameter: Circular with a diameter of 48 nautical miles (55 statute miles)
N. Fix Determined By: Penetration, Radar, Wind, Pressure and Temperature
N. Fix Level: 700mb
O. Navigation Fix Accuracy: 0.02 nautical miles
O. Meteorological Accuracy: 1 nautical mile
Remarks Section - Remarks That Were Decoded...
Maximum Flight Level Wind: 69kts (~ 79.4mph) in the southeast quadrant at 11:59:30Z
Maximum Flight Level Wind Outbound: 66kts (~ 76.0mph) in the southwest quadrant at 13:36:30Z
Remarks Section - Additional Remarks...
Ragged eyewall
Member Since: October 21, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 427
1725. Thing342
2:17 PM GMT on October 24, 2012
Quoting bwi:
Product: Air Force Vortex Message (URNT12 KNHC)
Transmitted: 24th day of the month at 14:07Z
Aircraft: Air Force Aircraft (Last 3 digits of the tail number are 308)
Storm Number & Year: 18L in 2012
Storm Name: Sandy (flight in the North Atlantic basin)
Mission Number: 4
Observation Number: 13
A. Time of Center Fix: 24th day of the month at 13:27:50Z
B. Center Fix Coordinates: 16°51'N 76°44'W (16.85N 76.7333W)
B. Center Fix Location: 79 miles (127 km) to the S (177°) from Kingston, Jamaica.
C. Minimum Height at Standard Level: 2,930m (9,613ft) at 700mb
D. Estimated (by SFMR or visually) Maximum Surface Wind: 65kts (~ 74.8mph)
E. Location of the Estimated Maximum Surface Wind: 15 nautical miles (17 statute miles) to the NNE (29°) of center fix
F. Maximum Flight Level Wind Inbound: From 123° at 63kts (From the ESE at ~ 72.5mph)
G. Location of Maximum Flight Level Wind Inbound: 19 nautical miles (22 statute miles) to the NNE (32°) of center fix
H. Minimum Sea Level Pressure: 980mb (28.94 inHg)
I. Maximum Flight Level Temp & Pressure Altitude Outside Eye: 9°C (48°F) at a pressure alt. of 3,012m (9,882ft)
J. Maximum Flight Level Temp & Pressure Altitude Inside Eye: 16°C (61°F) at a pressure alt. of 3,049m (10,003ft)
K. Dewpoint Temp (collected at same location as temp inside eye): 7°C (45°F)
K. Sea Surface Temp (collected at same location as temp inside eye): Not Available
L. Eye Character: Open in the west-northwest
M. Eye Shape & Diameter: Circular with a diameter of 48 nautical miles (55 statute miles)
N. Fix Determined By: Penetration, Radar, Wind, Pressure and Temperature
N. Fix Level: 700mb
O. Navigation Fix Accuracy: 0.02 nautical miles
O. Meteorological Accuracy: 1 nautical mile
Remarks Section - Remarks That Were Decoded...
Maximum Flight Level Wind: 69kts (~ 79.4mph) in the southeast quadrant at 11:59:30Z
Maximum Flight Level Wind Outbound: 66kts (~ 76.0mph) in the southwest quadrant at 13:36:30Z
Remarks Section - Additional Remarks...
Ragged eyewall
Should be enough for Hurricane status, combined with 4.3T. Although the NHC has been very conservative this year.
Member Since: August 1, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 441
1724. CaicosRetiredSailor
2:16 PM GMT on October 24, 2012
Light wind and steady light rain continuing here on Provo.
Member Since: July 12, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6067
1723. GeorgiaStormz
2:16 PM GMT on October 24, 2012
Quoting ncstorm:


breezy? got this off Midatlantic Weather Storms from Tri-state weather off of Facebook

given the current Euro run..these are the conditions that could be expected



breezy to gusty, nothing too serious in DC, most winds stay more offshore or close to shore
once it hits NJ, they get it worst.Of coure it prob wont hit NJ anyway, because it is still 7 days out:
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9738
1722. hurricanejunky
2:15 PM GMT on October 24, 2012
Quoting SFLWeatherman:
I was in the EYE of that storm!!


We were about 20 miles from the eye as it passed to our Southeast and it was still VERY potent. That was a beast of a storm.
Member Since: August 28, 2006 Posts: 6 Comments: 2899
1721. SFLWeatherman
2:14 PM GMT on October 24, 2012
L. Eye Character: Open in the west-northwest
M. Eye Shape & Diameter: Circular with a diameter of 48 nautical miles (55 statute miles)
Member Since: May 23, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 4967
1720. nigel20
2:14 PM GMT on October 24, 2012
Caribbean Estate, Kingston, Jamaica (Jamaica Gleaner)
Member Since: November 6, 2010 Posts: 11 Comments: 8350
1719. hurricanejunky
2:14 PM GMT on October 24, 2012
Quoting SFLWeatherman:
Is it wobbling to the west???


Seemed like a general NNW movement to me but sometimes the eyes play tricks when analyzing satellite imagery.
Member Since: August 28, 2006 Posts: 6 Comments: 2899
1718. RitaEvac
2:13 PM GMT on October 24, 2012
Houston has a problem, especially when the next big major comes in...

"In less than 30 years, our region is expected to add 3.5 million people. The Houston-Galveston Area Council and our partners are working on a Regional Plan for Sustainable Development to help local governments prepare for this growth."

Member Since: July 14, 2008 Posts: 1 Comments: 9648
1717. WxLogic
2:13 PM GMT on October 24, 2012
Current steering as of 12Z:

Member Since: August 14, 2008 Posts: 4 Comments: 5031
1715. SFLWeatherman
2:13 PM GMT on October 24, 2012
I was in the EYE of that storm!!
Quoting hurricanejunky:
Today is the 7th Anniversary of Hurricane Wilma. What an incredible storm...

REMEMBERING WILMA

Stories about Wilma
Member Since: May 23, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 4967
1714. bwi
2:13 PM GMT on October 24, 2012
Product: Air Force Vortex Message (URNT12 KNHC)
Transmitted: 24th day of the month at 14:07Z
Aircraft: Air Force Aircraft (Last 3 digits of the tail number are 308)
Storm Number & Year: 18L in 2012
Storm Name: Sandy (flight in the North Atlantic basin)
Mission Number: 4
Observation Number: 13
A. Time of Center Fix: 24th day of the month at 13:27:50Z
B. Center Fix Coordinates: 16°51'N 76°44'W (16.85N 76.7333W)
B. Center Fix Location: 79 miles (127 km) to the S (177°) from Kingston, Jamaica.
C. Minimum Height at Standard Level: 2,930m (9,613ft) at 700mb
D. Estimated (by SFMR or visually) Maximum Surface Wind: 65kts (~ 74.8mph)
E. Location of the Estimated Maximum Surface Wind: 15 nautical miles (17 statute miles) to the NNE (29°) of center fix
F. Maximum Flight Level Wind Inbound: From 123° at 63kts (From the ESE at ~ 72.5mph)
G. Location of Maximum Flight Level Wind Inbound: 19 nautical miles (22 statute miles) to the NNE (32°) of center fix
H. Minimum Sea Level Pressure: 980mb (28.94 inHg)
I. Maximum Flight Level Temp & Pressure Altitude Outside Eye: 9°C (48°F) at a pressure alt. of 3,012m (9,882ft)
J. Maximum Flight Level Temp & Pressure Altitude Inside Eye: 16°C (61°F) at a pressure alt. of 3,049m (10,003ft)
K. Dewpoint Temp (collected at same location as temp inside eye): 7°C (45°F)
K. Sea Surface Temp (collected at same location as temp inside eye): Not Available
L. Eye Character: Open in the west-northwest
M. Eye Shape & Diameter: Circular with a diameter of 48 nautical miles (55 statute miles)
N. Fix Determined By: Penetration, Radar, Wind, Pressure and Temperature
N. Fix Level: 700mb
O. Navigation Fix Accuracy: 0.02 nautical miles
O. Meteorological Accuracy: 1 nautical mile
Remarks Section - Remarks That Were Decoded...
Maximum Flight Level Wind: 69kts (~ 79.4mph) in the southeast quadrant at 11:59:30Z
Maximum Flight Level Wind Outbound: 66kts (~ 76.0mph) in the southwest quadrant at 13:36:30Z
Remarks Section - Additional Remarks...
Ragged eyewall
Member Since: September 4, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 1391
1712. hurricanejunky
2:12 PM GMT on October 24, 2012
Today is the 7th Anniversary of Hurricane Wilma. What an incredible storm...

REMEMBERING WILMA

Stories about Wilma
Member Since: August 28, 2006 Posts: 6 Comments: 2899
1711. SFLWeatherman
2:11 PM GMT on October 24, 2012
Is it wobbling to the west???
Member Since: May 23, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 4967
1709. 1900hurricane
2:10 PM GMT on October 24, 2012
Quoting washingtonian115:
Mmm so is that hurricane force winds for the coast and about 30mph winds for me inland?.

Anybody seen these bloggers as of late?
VR46L and Stormtracker2K?

I'm not extremely familiar with the topography of the area, but that seems like it would be reasonable to me. Maybe much higher gusts if the 80 kt winds at 850 mix down better than usual.
Member Since: August 2, 2006 Posts: 46 Comments: 11683
1708. DookiePBC
2:10 PM GMT on October 24, 2012
Quoting GeorgiaStormz:


yes they are, it should get west loaded as it approaches florida, that much should not change.
By the time it approaches the NE per the Euro, it is taking on this shape, but close to shore, with snow on the western side large band:



Thanks Georgia! My son's football practice should be interesting the next few days. Working on the passing and kicking game especially!!! LOL!
Member Since: September 1, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 447
1707. washingtonian115
2:09 PM GMT on October 24, 2012
Quoting ncstorm:


breezy? got this off Midatlantic Weather Storms from Tri-state weather off of Facebook

given the current Euro run..these are the conditions that could be expected

What does that translate to ncstorm?.
Member Since: August 14, 2010 Posts: 10 Comments: 17492
1706. hurricanejunky
2:09 PM GMT on October 24, 2012
Looks like Sandy is moving slightly west of north. Maybe it's just an optical illusion?
Member Since: August 28, 2006 Posts: 6 Comments: 2899
1705. Daws
2:09 PM GMT on October 24, 2012
Good morning, here in Montego Bay the rain and wind is light witth a calm feeling.
Member Since: June 24, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 2
1704. CybrTeddy
2:09 PM GMT on October 24, 2012
What happened to recon? Haven't had a report in 30 minutes.
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 24508
1703. ncstorm
2:08 PM GMT on October 24, 2012
Quoting washingtonian115:
Mmm so is that hurricane force winds for the coast and about 30mph winds for me inland?.

Anybody seen these bloggers as of late?
VR46L and Stormtracker2K?


S2K was banned
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 16083
1701. SFLWeatherman
2:08 PM GMT on October 24, 2012
THX!:)
Quoting 1900hurricane:

The ECMWF doesn't have a 66 hr time frame, plus I don't have access to the entire run with those models. I'm just vulturing those off of Dr. Ryan Maue's twitter account. :P
Member Since: May 23, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 4967
1700. GeoffreyWPB
2:08 PM GMT on October 24, 2012
Quoting Rainwalker:
The rain is getting stronger in Spanish Town, Jamaica. There was no breeze before but there is more than an hint of some now, nothing serious though.


Take care. It's going to be a rough day...

Member Since: September 10, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 11453
1699. GeorgiaStormz
2:07 PM GMT on October 24, 2012
Quoting DookiePBC:
Are the models still showing Sandy as a west loaded storm? I know they were for a while, but it sure looks like she is loaded up on the east side to me. Not good for Haiti or the Bahamas.


yes they are, it should get west loaded as it approaches florida, that much should not change.
By the time it approaches the NE per the Euro, it is taking on this shape, but close to shore, with snow on the western side large band:

Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9738
1698. SFLWeatherman
2:07 PM GMT on October 24, 2012
Is it wobbling to the west
Member Since: May 23, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 4967
1697. 1900hurricane
2:07 PM GMT on October 24, 2012
Quoting SFLWeatherman:
Can i see that at 66HR?

The ECMWF doesn't have a 66 hr time frame, plus I don't have access to the entire run with those models. I'm just vulturing those off of Dr. Ryan Maue's twitter account. :P
Member Since: August 2, 2006 Posts: 46 Comments: 11683
1696. ncstorm
2:06 PM GMT on October 24, 2012
Quoting GeorgiaStormz:


not too bad because you are well south of the storm, the EURO clips you mostly with the edge of the precip, so I suspect just mainly breezy.
We still have a week, the GFS threatens snow on halloween but mainly snows the day after, but i suspect it would be rain anyway, and not much at that.

7 days out, cant say anything beyond "its possible" at this point. The actualy track and development of Sandy will play a huge role in all of this.


breezy? got this off Midatlantic Weather Storms from Tri-state weather off of Facebook

given the current Euro run..these are the conditions that could be expected

Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 16083
1695. Skyepony (Mod)
2:06 PM GMT on October 24, 2012
Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 196 Comments: 38769
1694. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
2:06 PM GMT on October 24, 2012
Quoting TomballTXPride:

Wrong. I didn't bait anyone.


yes you do it all the time
but you are a good blogger
and i like the comments
that you make more so
in other blogs

just got to get over the bait tactic
i see good in you
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 175 Comments: 54864
1693. HurricaneJamaica
2:05 PM GMT on October 24, 2012
Wind and rain slowly picking up in the Kingston area now. My patio door is open and is starting to swing to and fro. Just had a nice bowl of Chicken soup that I prepared when I woke up.
Member Since: August 20, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 39
1691. washingtonian115
2:03 PM GMT on October 24, 2012
Quoting 1900hurricane:

This is 850 mb winds, so there will be boundary layer mixing that applies, but this should give you an idea if you trust the ECMWF.

Mmm so is that hurricane force winds for the coast and about 30mph winds for me inland?.

Anybody seen these bloggers as of late?
VR46L and Stormtracker2K?
Member Since: August 14, 2010 Posts: 10 Comments: 17492
1690. SFLWeatherman
2:03 PM GMT on October 24, 2012
Can i see that at 66HR?
Quoting 1900hurricane:

This is 850 mb winds, so there will be boundary layer mixing that applies, but this should give you an idea if you trust the 00Z ECMWF.

Member Since: May 23, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 4967
1689. DookiePBC
2:01 PM GMT on October 24, 2012
Are the models still showing Sandy as a west loaded storm? I know they were for a while, but it sure looks like she is loaded up on the east side to me. Not good for Haiti or the Bahamas.
Member Since: September 1, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 447

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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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