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

dark clouds (nigel20)
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Quoting LargoFl:



That seems like an unusually large wind field. What's up with that?
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738. whitewabit (Mod)
Quoting Hurricane1956:
Very irresponsible and immature comments from 1441114.


Thats what the minus sign is for ...
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Whoo-boy ... I wonder if Sandy is the system that will close out the Caribbean and Gulf for the rest of the season! Sure would like to get some rain from Sandy over here on the SW Florida coast....
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70mph will almost hold you up if you lean into the wind, so I'm pretty sure towards the upper end of that scale, it's definitely capable of throwing bricks, they're not that heavy...
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Quoting redux:
so i live in baltimore.

one of my job sites is a demolition job, and the contractor has piles of brick and building debris everywhere.

what would this storm do to all that brick? could 65 mph winds be capable of picking them up and throwing them?

KC 2
Spotty 60-80 mph Spotty damage across affected area. Patches of shingles missing, minor roof covering, window and cladding damage to some wood frame, unreinforced masonry and light metal structures. Significant signage damage. Whole trees down causing some structural damage and power outages.
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Quoting RCThunder:
Tune in NOW 7pm Easten for live Tropics chat with ABC's Denis Phillips here in Tampa, Florida. Great Q & A session along with awesome information regarding everything you wanted to know about Tropical systems.

CLICK HERE FOR LIVE CHAT NOW
did you see his forecast for sandy?i saw it at the 5pm..he used the term..storm of the century
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What does it mean if the trough is coming in quicker than expected does this mean it could get closer to Florida and the east coast.
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Thanks for the info JR and Cybr
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Quoting hurricane23:


Link to these graphics if you don't mind.. Thanks
i do mind but ty
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Quoting 1441114:
The NHC, TWC , ACCUWEATHER, all of them are blowing smoke , and all of us are inhaling , there soot and ashes , and we are getting sick of it . The last time they were right was never ! Sandy is going to RI very soon . And she's is going strike Florida , from Tampa to Jacksonville , then the entire east coast , with final landfall in New Jersey , with major damage all along the way , yes storm of the 21st century , to date probably more to come in the future .
yyyeeeaaah have you been inhaling any smoke?
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727. redux
so i live in baltimore.

one of my job sites is a demolition job, and the contractor has piles of brick and building debris everywhere.

what would this storm do to all that brick? could 65 mph winds be capable of picking them up and throwing them?
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Quoting LargoFl:
...................GFS


Link to these graphics if you don't mind.. Thanks
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Quoting hurricanewatcher61:
Does anyone know if the hurricane hunter aircraft is in route to the storm or have they done this already? Thanks.


They're almost there.
Link
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 24630
Tune in NOW 7pm Easten for live Tropics chat with ABC's Denis Phillips here in Tampa, Florida. Great Q & A session along with awesome information regarding everything you wanted to know about Tropical systems.

CLICK HERE FOR LIVE CHAT NOW
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Quoting AussieStorm:

And your proof is what, model runs or just your gut instinct or an ability to see into the future?
Very irresponsible and immature comments from 1441114.
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GEFS spread also puts sandy into the northeast 144 hours..6 days..............
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Quoting charlottefl:
It's a funny thing. I mean for the most part, all government and city offices, schools and public services close. What is it they think is going to get accomplished on that extra day? During 2005 my place of employment was open with us under a Hurricane Warning and Wilma headed in our direction. That's where I drew the line. Called off that night, no one should be working in any type of storm warning, IMO..


Yeah I remember during Isaac, every school shut down except for mine. it was to the point where I thought they didnt care for this potential hazard.
Member Since: July 18, 2010 Posts: 50 Comments: 1911
For West Palm Beach...

Hurricane Statement

Statement as of 6:18 PM EDT on October 23, 2012

... A tropical storm watch might be necessary for portions of the
area later tonight or early Wednesday...

... Winds...
tropical cyclone watches or warnings are currently
not in effect. The latest forecast is for maximum winds to remain
close to but below tropical storm force. At this time... remain
calm and stay informed. Given the uncertainty in the forecast... a
tropical storm watch may still be needed later tonight or
Wednesday morning for portions of the area.
Member Since: September 10, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 11596
heads up NYC...NAEFS ensemble at 144 hours...............................just LOOK at the size of this monster storm huh
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Quoting TomTaylor:
Superstorm Sandy on the 00z CMC



938 mb!?

Today's lucky numbers... 926 - 936 - 938
Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14872
Quoting BahaHurican:
I'd expect most things to close down early on Thursday afternoon... by 2 p.m. Thursday the centre is expected to be over the Great Bahama Bank, which means most of the Central Bahamas will already be experiencing direct effects. I'd expect things to be going downhill here already at that point.

I'm hoping my employer will see the "wisdom" of letting us have Thursday off, but somehow I doubt that will happen... lol

Good luck with the coursework.
It's a funny thing. I mean for the most part, all government and city offices, schools and public services close. What is it they think is going to get accomplished on that extra day? During 2005 my place of employment was open with us under a Hurricane Warning and Wilma headed in our direction. That's where I drew the line. Called off that night, no one should be working in any type of storm warning, IMO..
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Quoting stormchaser19:


Hey Nigel i see that you are our reporter in Jamaica, stay safe bro!!

Will do!
Member Since: November 6, 2010 Posts: 13 Comments: 8644
Quoting 1441114:
The NHC, TWC , ACCUWEATHER, all of them are blowing smoke , and all of us are inhaling , there soot and ashes , and we are getting sick of it . The last time they were right was never ! Sandy is going to RI very soon . And she's is going strike Florida , from Tampa to Jacksonville , then the entire east coast , with final landfall in New Jersey , with major damage all along the way , yes storm of the 21st century , to date probably more to come in the future .

And your proof is what, model runs or just your gut instinct or an ability to see into the future?
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15991
NAM at 84 hours..........
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Quoting BahaHurican:
I'd expect most things to close down early on Thursday afternoon... by 2 p.m. Thursday the centre is expected to be over the Great Bahama Bank, which means most of the Central Bahamas will already be experiencing direct effects. I'd expect things to be going downhill here already at that point.

I'm hoping my employer will see the "wisdom" of letting us have Thursday off, but somehow I doubt that will happen... lol

Good luck with the coursework.


Lol, this storm already cancelled my trip to the Island School in Eleuthera. Might as well let us have those days off.
Member Since: July 18, 2010 Posts: 50 Comments: 1911
Quoting CaicosRetiredSailor:
Rainy and full overcast all day today, here in the TCI.
Hey, CRS. No rain here for us so far. However, I think I'm going to sign off from work now; I'd like to get home before any potential rain does come down.

I'll sign on again when I get home; I need to do a blog update.... if nothing else.
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Quoting BahaHurican:
This is a message I'd like to plus 1000x....

Is everything closed down, or are people still trying to do last-minute stuff there?

The road is pretty empty ATM, but it was very busy earlier today.
Member Since: November 6, 2010 Posts: 13 Comments: 8644
Evening all! :@) Hopefully our friends to the E/SE are preparing for Sandy. Makes me nervous seeing a storm in such favorable conditions headed straight for land. Looks like the islands are in for a rough couple of days. Not sure how far north those favorable conditions extend, but looking at shear maps it looks like shear has been dropping out ahead of the storm. Should be an interesting couple of days ahead...
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Quoting Thrawst:


Aye, I'm praying they close down school. need some days to catch up on coursework and check out the ocean hehe. But if someone showed them the projected wind speed by the GFS and Euro (964mb, and 967mb respectively).. they should probably at least close down friday.
I'd expect most things to close down early on Thursday afternoon... by 2 p.m. Thursday the centre is expected to be over the Great Bahama Bank, which means most of the Central Bahamas will already be experiencing direct effects. I'd expect things to be going downhill here already at that point.

I'm hoping my employer will see the "wisdom" of letting us have Thursday off, but somehow I doubt that will happen... lol

Good luck with the coursework.
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Quoting MAweatherboy1:
There's nothing I love more than watching the Euro and GFS do battle. It's amazing how the two best computer models we have can come to such drastically different conclusions.

18z GFS in one week:



12z Euro in one week:

the real scary part will come once the two join together
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Superstorm Sandy on the 00z CMC

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Quoting MAweatherboy1:
There's nothing I love more than watching the Euro and GFS do battle. It's amazing how the two best computer models we have can come to such drastically different conclusions.

18z GFS in one week:



12z Euro in one week:



Yes a lot of difference, But GFS is the best all this season let's see if the European win this battle
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HPC analyzes a front on Sandy by Friday. This shows that as the ULL amplifies it will only bring stronger shear and less favorable conditions for tropical intensification. The low itself will continue to deepen under baroclinic processes, but tropically speaking, this storm will begin to weaken.

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Rainy and full overcast all day today, here in the TCI.
Member Since: July 12, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6069
TS Patty


TD19


I don't see much difference. If there is I would say TD19 looks better than Patty did, yet they named Patty but not TD19. Wonders will never cease.
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15991
Quoting BahaHurican:
Excellent... I'm too far from the coast to get anything dramatic, but IMO that's a GOOD thing... lol

Does look like everything is going to be closed down after tomorrow night. I wonder if the schools will all close down or if some intrepid souls will try to insist their non-essential employees come to work since it's only a "TS"....


Aye, I'm praying they close down school. need some days to catch up on coursework and check out the ocean hehe. But if someone showed them the projected wind speed by the GFS and Euro (964mb, and 967mb respectively).. they should probably at least close down friday.
Member Since: July 18, 2010 Posts: 50 Comments: 1911
Quoting stormchaser19:


Hey Nigel i see that you are our reporter in Jamaica, stay safe bro!!
Plus kimoskee...
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Member Since: September 10, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 11596
Quoting MAweatherboy1:
Well this is a bit of an unexpected twist. 18z GFS in 10 days. That's Sandy:

just look at that wind field..geez its huge
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Quoting nigel20:


Hey Nigel i see that you are our reporter in Jamaica, stay safe bro!!
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Member Since: July 12, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6069
Usually they look a little more intense on visible the last couple of frames. Saying that Sandy looks to be getting healthier on the west side. Also almost looks to be moving a little west of north or north. Maybe ULL over western Cuba is getting out of the way.
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Quoting nigel20:

Hey Baha! We've been having persistent showers through out today...hopefully the effects of Sandy on Jamaica, Cuba, Haiti and the Bahamas will be pretty limited!
This is a message I'd like to plus 1000x....

Is everything closed down, or are people still trying to do last-minute stuff there?
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Quoting LargoFl:
some bad days ahead for you folks there..stay safe ok
For now I'm just hoping the TS part of the forecast bears out... we should be ok for the most part if we don't have to deal with any serious winds....

Guess it's our turn for the 24-36 hour soaking... lol
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Quoting Thrawst:


Meh I'm about a 1/2 mile from the beach, and i am right on a canal. I think my house is 10 feet above sea level.

Yeah Rain should be one hell of a soaker. gonna take pictures of the beach on Thursday :D
Excellent... I'm too far from the coast to get anything dramatic, but IMO that's a GOOD thing... lol

Does look like everything is going to be closed down after tomorrow night. I wonder if the schools will all close down or if some intrepid souls will try to insist their non-essential employees come to work since it's only a "TS"....
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Quoting pmzqqzmp:


Don't you read what the NHC has said ? That 30 kt shear will inhibit it from "blowing up". Also its very lopsided right now, with an OCD developing to the right of the center.

Will So Fla feel it ? Yes, but nothing more than what we got from Issac probably. It'll be blustery and rainy. We've had days after cold fronts that we've experienced 30-40 mph gusty days. Big deal.
Respectfully disagreed with your statement,this is nothing compare to Isaac,I believe this will be a monster of a system,just look how much space is taking,don't believe we will get a direct hit here in South Florida but the wind field will be huge!!!.Is all about how close it will come to the South east coast,in my opinion even if Sandy stay in the projected course there is going to be a big weather even for South Florida.
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Quoting MAweatherboy1:
Well this is a bit of an unexpected twist. 18z GFS in 10 days. That's Sandy:


Beginning to fall into the ECMWF's scenario, as I thought it would. The models are beginning to show the trough moving quicker than originally anticipated, giving more credence to the fact that Sandy will be phased into the trough.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 33317
The 18z GFS wants Sandy's extratropical remnants to be the next Nadine. That's her over the North Atlantic at 336 hours:

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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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