Hurricane Sandy pounding Jamaica, may hit U.S. this weekend; TS Tony forms

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:21 PM GMT on October 24, 2012

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Hurricane warnings are flying for Jamaica and Eastern Cuba, as an intensifying Hurricane Sandy plows north-northeast at 13 mph towards landfall. The Hurricane Hunters are in the storm, and measured surface winds of hurricane strength--75 to 80 mph--in the storm's northeast quadrant near 9:25 am EDT. Sandy's pressure at the time of the 9:28 am center fix was 973 mb, and the temperature in the eye had warmed 2°C since the 7:48 am fix, a sign of strengthening. Intermittent rain squalls from Sandy have been affecting Jamaica since Monday night, and Kingston, Jamaica has picked up 2.12" of rain from Sandy as of 9 am EDT. Winds in Jamaica have been below 20 mph as of 10 am EDT, but will start to rise quickly in the next few hours. The Hurricane Hunters found a large 55 mile-diameter eye that was open to the WNW this morning, and it is likely that Kingston will receive high winds of 55 - 65 mph from the western eyewall, which will cause considerable damage to Jamaica's capital. The eastern tip of Jamaica will likely see the eye pass overhead, and will receive the strongest winds. The eye is beginning to appear on visible satellite loops, and Sandy is showing an increasing degree of organization as it closes in on Jamaica. Sandy is the tenth hurricane of the 2012 hurricane season, which is now tied for eighth place for most hurricanes in a year since record keeping began in 1851.


Figure 1. Morning microwave satellite image of Tropical Storm Sandy taken at 8:45 am EDT. The large 55-mile diameter eye was just south of Jamaica. Image credit: Navy Research Lab, Monterey.

Near-term forecast for Sandy
Wind shear is forecast to be in the moderate range and ocean temperatures will be a warm 28°C through Thursday morning, which will favor intensification. However, Sandy doesn't have much time left over water before it encounters the high mountains of Jamaica this afternoon, which should interrupt the intensification process. The strongest Sandy is likely to be at landfall in Jamaica is a 90 mph Category 1 hurricanes. After encountering Jamaica, Sandy won't have time to re-organize much before making landfall in Eastern Cuba near 10 pm EDT tonight, and the strongest the storm is likely to be then is a 90 mph Category 1. Passage over the rugged terrain of Cuba should weaken Sandy's winds by 20 - 30 mph, and it will be difficult for the storm to regain all of that lost strength in the face of the high wind shear of 20 - 30 knots it will encounter Thursday and Friday. I expect that Sandy will be a 60 - 70 mph tropical storm as it traverses the Bahamas.


Figure 2. MODIS satellite image of Tropical Storm Sandy taken at 11:45 am EDT Tuesday, October 23, 2012. At the time, Sandy had top winds of 50 mph. Image credit: NASA.

Sandy: a potential billion-dollar storm for the mid-Atlantic and New England
On Friday, a very complicated meteorological situation unfolds, as Sandy interacts with a trough of low pressure approaching the U.S. East Coast and trough of low pressure over the Central Atlantic. The Central Atlantic trough may be strong enough to pull Sandy northeastwards, out to sea, as predicted by the official NHC forecast, and the 06Z GFS, 00Z UKMET, 00Z Canadian, and 06Z HWRF models (00Z is 8 pm EDT, and 06Z is 2 am EDT.) However, an alternative solution, shown by the 00Z ECMWF, 06Z GFDL, and 06Z NOGAPS models, is for Sandy to get caught up by the trough approaching the Eastern U.S., which will inject a large amount of energy into Sandy, converting it to a powerful subtropical storm that hits the mid-Atlantic or New England early next week with a central pressure below 960 mb and sustained winds of 60 - 70 mph. Such a storm would likely cause massive power outages and over a billion dollars in damage, as trees still in leaf take out power grids, and heavy rains and coastal storm surges create damaging flooding. The full moon is on Monday, which means astronomical tides will be at their peak for the month, increasing potential storm surge flooding. A similar meteorological situation occurred in October 1991, when Hurricane Grace became absorbed by a Nor'easter, becoming the so-called "Perfect Storm" that killed 13 people and did over $200 million in damage in the Northeast U.S.


Figure 3. The Wednesday 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 a minority of the forecasts taking Sandy to the northeast, out to sea, and the majority now 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.

When might Sandy arrive in the mid-Atlantic and New England?
The models vary significantly in their predictions of when Sandy might arrive along the U.S. coast. The 06Z NOGAPS model predicts Sandy's heavy rains will arrive on North Carolina's Outer Banks on Saturday, then spread into the mid-Atlantic and New England on Sunday. The 00Z ECMWF model predicts that Sandy's rains won't affect North Carolina until Sunday, with the storm making landfall in New Jersey on Monday night. The GFDL model is in-between these extremes, taking Sandy ashore in Delaware on Monday morning. The trough of low pressure that Sandy will be interacting with just moved ashore over the Western U.S. this morning, and got sampled by the 12Z (8 am EDT) set of land-based balloon-borne radiosondes for the first time. One of the reasons the models have been in such poor agreement on the long-term fate of Sandy is that the strength of this trough has not been very well known, since it has been over the ocean where we have limited data. Now that the trough is over land, it will be better sampled, and the next set of 12Z model runs, due out this afternoon between 2 pm - 4pm EDT, will hopefully begin to converge on a common solution. I'll have an update this afternoon once the 12Z model runs are in.


Figure 4. Morning satellite image of Tropical Storm Tony.

Tropical Storm Tony forms in the middle Atlantic
Tropical Storm Tony formed Tuesday night in the middle Atlantic, becoming the nineteenth named storm of this very busy 2012 Atlantic hurricane season. Tony has a modest area of heavy thunderstorms, as seen on visible satellite images, but is battling dry air , wind shear, and ocean temperatures that have fallen below 26°C. Tony will not threaten any land areas, and will likely be dead by Thursday night.

Tony's place in history
Tony is the Nineteenth named storm of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season, tying this year with 1887, 1995, 2010, and 2011 for third busiest Atlantic season since the HURDAT historical data base began in 1851. With five more weeks left before the November 30 end of hurricane season, 2012 is likely to move into second place for most named storms before the year is out, as all six prior Atlantic hurricane seasons with nineteen or more named storms have had at least one named storm form after October 24. Here, then, is a list of the seven busiest Atlantic hurricane seasons on record:

2005 (28 named storms)
1933 (20 named storms, according to a new re-analysis)
2012 (19 named storms)
1887 (19 named storms)
2010 (19 named storms)
2011 (19 named storms)
1995 (19 named storms)

It's pretty remarkable that we've now had three straight years with nineteen named storms in the Atlantic. But how many of these storms might not have been counted in the pre-satellite era (before 1960)? Here's a list of weak and short-lived storms from 2010 - 2012 that stayed far out sea, and would likely have gone unnoticed in the pre-satellite era:

2012:
Tropical Storm Joyce
Tropical Storm Oscar
Tropical Storm Tony

2011:
Tropical Storm Jose
Tropical Storm Franklin

2010:
Tropical Storm Gaston

Even if we correct for the possible over-count of approximately two named storms per year during the 2010, 2011, and 2012 hurricane seasons, compared to the pre-satellite era, there is nothing in the HURDAT data base that compares to the type of activity we've seen the past three years. One likely contributor to the unusual string of active years is the fact hurricane season has gotten longer, perhaps due to warming ocean temperatures. I discussed in a 2008 blog post that Dr. Jim Kossin of the University of Wisconsin published a 2008 paper in Geophysical Research Letters titled, "Is the North Atlantic hurricane season getting longer?" He concluded that yes, there is a "apparent tendency toward more common early- and late-season storms that correlates with warming Sea Surface Temperature but the uncertainty in these relationships is high".

Jeff Masters

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I'm trying to shed light on Kirk's little brother, who's trying to emulate him:

Link

EDIT: That's an image.
2nd EDIT: And it's forbidden. Ugh.
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Quoting FunnelVortex:


If it is going to go into the great lakes, we could see some snow here in Wisconsin. Depends on how far it goes in.


Where in Wisconsin are you Funnel? I used to live in the Milwaukee County area. Moved to Florida in 1982
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NAEFS model at 60 hours, most of florida in green..500vort
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 33211
Quoting Autistic2:
Very windy here in saint Augustine.
also very windy here in Miami Dade County
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Quoting CaicosRetiredSailor:



We should start to see some stronger winds in the next couple of hours.
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Very windy here in saint Augustine.
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From 11am advisory:

MAX SUSTAINED WINDS 70 KT WITH GUSTS TO 85 KT.

[radius of]
64 KT....... 20NE 20SE 0SW 0NW.
50 KT....... 50NE 60SE 30SW 30NW.
34 KT.......110NE 120SE 60SW 60NW.

Small wind field
Member Since: July 12, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 5984
25 miles over Jamaica and then about another 180 miles (approx 13 hours) over water before striking Cuba. If the mountains in Jamaica don't disrupt it too much then there should be time for it too strengthen some more..... interesting. Although the trek over Jamaica would look to be over their highest mountains. At work here so sorry if I repeated what someone already wrote as I haven't had a chance to go over the entire blog.

Is it enough to disrupt further strengthening or not....that is the question....
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NAEFS model at 54 hours................
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 33211
Quoting Levi32:


I mentioned it in the written section. Video was recorded before the 12z came in.


Oh ok, haha didn't read it, went straight to the video. Great analysis btw.
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Quoting GeorgiaStormz:
Brad Panovich12:46 PM - Public

Well I don't think we will be forgetting #Sandy or what ever we end up calling it. The impacts will start as a Hurricane, then a tropical storm, then a Nor'Easter then end in a Blizzard and an Arctic outbreak. Did I miss anything? WOW!


Soo are we suppose to call Sandy the apocalypse storm of 2012 or something?.All the snow stays north of me.Still finding that hard to believe though.Sunny and in it's low to mid 80's here.
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sat view looks about 100mph still hoping for a wobble east
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Quoting Stormchaser2007:
Is this legitimate?

URPN12 KNHC 152047
VORTEX DATA MESSAGE EP032012
A. 15/20:22:50Z
B. 14 deg 42 min N
096 deg 18 min W
C. 700 mb 2902 m
D. 98 kt
E. 198 deg 6 nm
F. 314 deg 90 kt
G. 224 deg 16 nm
H. 976 mb
I. 6 C / 3058 m
J. 16 C / 3056 m
K. 7 C / NA
L. CLOSED WALL
M. C29
N. 12345 / 07
O. 0.02 / 2 nm
P. AF305 0103E CARLOTTA OB 20
MAX OUTBOUND AND MAX FL WIND 99 KT N QUAD 20:29:30Z
;


Wrong system.
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 23009
2pm advisory winds will likely be 90 MPH and making ladfall in jamaica
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Levi answered my question in the latest Tropical Tidbit. Thanks Levi!
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Brad Panovich12:46 PM - Public

Well I don't think we will be forgetting #Sandy or what ever we end up calling it. The impacts will start as a Hurricane, then a tropical storm, then a Nor'Easter then end in a Blizzard and an Arctic outbreak. Did I miss anything? WOW!


Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9450
tropical storm Warinings will likely be issued for southeastern florida later today
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Quoting washingtonian115:
Jamacia knows how to handle hurricanes.I'm sure they'll come out not so bad with Sandy.


Do not think that the Wind is going to be the main problem for Jamaica - it is much more likely to be rainfall amounts and the subsequent flooding & possible mud slides in parts of the island. I will be able to tell, in the longer term, the amount of flooding by the amount of debris washed up on my beach.

As for Haiti - the projected rainfall amounts are horrendous - the possibilities of flooding and mud slides are severe and then to top it all off - the potential, post-storm, for further spread of already existing Cholera is high.
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Quoting reedzone:


Levi, gotta update ur video, the GFS now phases the storm with the trough.


I mentioned it in the written section. Video was recorded before the 12z came in.
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Quoting Levi32:
Good afternoon.

Blog update:

Tropical Tidbit for Wednesday, October 24th, with Video


Levi, gotta update ur video, the GFS now phases the storm with the trough.
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Member Since: July 12, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 5984
Is that an eye feature or a dry air slot? I'd lean toward an eye feature. Looks like the 22 mb drop in the last 24 hours is finally appearing on the satellite presentation. Very potent storm developing...
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.
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Quoting GeorgiaStormz:
If the Euro pans out, the area in Sandy with gale force winds will have a diameter of 1,100 MILES

GFS isn't much better....fall foliage still on, could be interesting wind-wise.


In that case, I'm not too far south. I'm about 200 miles due south of Toronto. I guess I had better gas up the snow blower and make sure it still runs.
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Quoting GeorgiaStormz:
If the Euro pans out, the area in Sandy with gale force winds will have a diameter of 1,100 MILES

GFS isn't much better....fall foliage still on, could be interesting wind-wise.
Well doesn't look like it'll be to bad here in my area.Can't say the same for others though.
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346. MTWX
Would be nice if the GMO radar was still active!!
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If the Euro pans out, the area in Sandy with gale force winds will have a diameter of 1,100 MILES

GFS isn't much better....fall foliage still on, could be interesting wind-wise.
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9450
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
i reckon i get the salt boxes filled up and the blowers prep over the weekend if models hold


Me, too (sigh) Hope I'm too far south.
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Link
Quoting WarEagle8:
Would you please share your local radar with us? I tried to find it on-line, at it said, temporarily out for Kingston. God be with you!
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Jamacia knows how to handle hurricanes.I'm sure they'll come out not so bad with Sandy.
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Quoting GeorgiaStormz:
I wonder if Jim Cantore will pop up in SW Florida, he left from his N GA vacation (I suspect he was at TWC headquarters a few miles from me).

It's never good when Cantore goes somewhere.


Jim Cantore is ALWAYS a sign of trouble.
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Quoting CaicosRetiredSailor:




I minused you by accident... I meant to plus you. I'm sorry!

That is not a happy scenario for Jamaica at all.
Sandy, Jamaican me nervous!
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Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 163 Comments: 52096
Quoting evilpenguinshan:
she's looking good, the eye is clearing on visible loops, nice convection on the west side even>

Go Sandy!
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Had a gut feeling about a late October storm, Grand Bahamas here.
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Quoting HurricaneJamaica:


Strange. I have been hearing from folks that their relatives in Portland have stuff blowing away and a report I have seen from St Ann indicates TS Force winds. Hmmmm. Radar shows the worst is yet to come though.
Would you please share your local radar with us? I tried to find it on-line, at it said, temporarily out for Kingston. God be with you!
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I wonder if Jim Cantore will pop up in SW Florida, he left from his N GA vacation (I suspect he was at TWC headquarters a few miles from me).

It's never good when Cantore goes somewhere.
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9450
Quoting MrstormX:
A turn left looks more likely now IMO, but I'm thinking Sandy will no longer be a tropical system. She should become frontal in nature, and potentially be a very strong extratropical cyclone for NH, ME and NS. That seems to be the HPC reasoning right now as well, but I expect the intensity to be upped here by their next graphic update.


They address this in their extended range discussion. It'll be interesting to see how high they go.

PRELIMINARY EXTENDED FORECAST DISCUSSION
NWS HYDROMETEOROLOGICAL PREDICTION CENTER COLLEGE PARK MD
949 AM EDT WED OCT 24 2012

VALID 12Z SUN OCT 28 2012 - 12Z WED OCT 31 2012


...CHANCES INCREASING FOR A MAJOR STORM IMPACTING THE MID ATLANTIC
AND NORTHEAST...


PRELIMINARY UPDATE...

USED THE 00Z/24 GEFS MEAN TO UPDATE THE PRELIMINARY FRONTS AND
PRESSURES FOR DAYS 3 THROUGH 7. WITH ALL THE ACTION ALONG THE EAST
COAST, THE CENTRAL AND WESTERN UNITED STATES ARE AWASH IN PACIFIC
AIR, WITH AN ENSEMBLE MEAN SERVING THOSE REGIONS WELL, CONSIDERING
THE INHERENT TIMING ISSUES IN THE MORE OPEN FLOW THERE. THE USE OF
THE MEAN FOR THE EAST AND ADJACENT ATLANTIC OCEAN FACILITATES MORE
LEEWAY TO ADJUST SANDY'S TRACK AS NEEDED BASED ON LATER FORECASTS
FROM THE NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER, AS WELL AS THE PROBLEMATIC
POST-TROPICAL PHASE OF THE CYCLONE.

WITH REGARD TO SANDY'S ULTIMATE FATE VIS A VIS THE AMPLIFIED POLAR
TROUGH OVER THE EAST, THERE IS INCREASING CONSENSUS AMONG THE
GUIDANCE FROM THE VARIOUS MODELING CENTERS, PARTICULARLY WITH
REGARD TO THE WHOLE OF THE INDIVIDUAL ENSEMBLE MEMBERS. THE
DETERMINISTIC SOLUTIONS, IN THE CASE OF THE 00Z/23 GFS AND GEM
GLOBAL, ARE OUTLIERS TO THE MAJORITY OF THEIR ENSEMBLE BROTHERS
AND SISTERS, WITH THE LION'S SHARE OF THE ENSEMBLE GUIDANCE
INDICATING A WHOLESALE INCORPORATION OF SANDY'S POST-TROPICAL
CIRCULATION INTO THE UPPER VORTEX CLOSING OVER THE CONTINENT. THE
ENTIRE ATLANTIC BASIN SEEMS DESTINED TO BECOME DOMINATED BY BLOCKY
HIGHS AND LOWS, WITH DECREASING WIGGLE ROOM FOR EVEN LARGE
FEATURES LIKE SANDY. THE BLOCKING IS KEY TO THE OPPORTUNITY FOR
THE INTERACTION BETWEEN THE ATLANTIC STORM OF TROPICAL ORIGIN AND
THE NORTH AMERICAN VORTEX OF POLAR ORIGIN. SOME OF THE MORE
AGGRESSIVE DETERMINISTIC MODELS THAT SPIN UP A TREMENDOUSLY DEEP
SURFACE LOW BACK ALONG THE MID ATLANTIC COAST AND LONG ISLAND
INCLUDE THE 00Z/24 ECMWF, 00Z/24 NOGAPS, AND 06Z/24 GLOBAL
HURRICANE MODEL. IF IT BECOMES CLEARER WITH THE ADVENT OF THE
12Z/24 GUIDANCE THAT A LARGE HYBRID LOW IS LIKELY DAY 6, WILL
ADJUST THE FINAL PROGS TOWARD A DETERMINISTIC SOLUTION, WHICH
WOULD ROUND THE CIRCULATION OF THE MANUAL FORECAST AND DEEPEN THE
PRESSURE SIGNIFICANTLY.
THE LUNAR CYCLE WILL PROVE TO BE A FACTOR
IN THE POTENTIAL FOR COASTAL FLOODING, WITH HIGH TIDES MOST
ANOMALOUS FROM THAT EFFECT ALONE SUNDAY THROUGH TUESDAY AFTER THE
FULL MOON ON SUNDAY.


CISCO
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Quoting HurricaneJamaica:


Oh no. We have not even gotten the eyewall yet...she is still offshore according to radar imagery.

Yeah, I saw that as well.
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Reminds me of a song I don't want her, you can Keeper she's to fat for me. Sorry keeper for the poor comedy attempt.
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331. Daws
Good day Montego Bay conditions deteriating, intermitant heavy squalls with moderate winds
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Quoting nigel20:

Hey HJ! We have not seen any wind as yet, but we're having light to moderate showers.


Strange. I have been hearing from folks that their relatives in Portland have stuff blowing away and a report I have seen from St Ann indicates TS Force winds. Hmmmm. Radar shows the worst is yet to come though.
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Member Since: July 12, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 5984
Quoting hydrus:
It will be intersting to see how all this pans out. It is this type of situation that makes studying weather so intriguing to me.
i reckon i get the salt boxes filled up and the blowers prep over the weekend if models hold
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 163 Comments: 52096
Quoting FunnelVortex:


Sounds like you are in the eye.



Oh no. We have not even gotten the eyewall yet...she is still offshore according to radar imagery.
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:


looks like the season ends right over my head
It will be intersting to see how all this pans out. It is this type of situation that makes studying weather so intriguing to me.
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Tony gets absorbed into the bowling ball low to sandy's east in the middle of the atlantic and as it gets wrapped around to the west side of the low it makes the low elongated enough to have a small chance to try to grab Sandy.

But it fails and tony becomes fully integrated into the bowling ball cutoff which weakens and drifts southwest to africa.

How ironic it is that the path of Sandy is directly affected by Tony....so I suspect if Tony pulls a Kirk ( I am 1000% sure it wont), then Sandy could get grabbed by the low elongated by Tony's remnants and go to sea. Otherwise I think the low will be too weak to grab Sandy from a trough negatively tilted that is perfect for slamming Sandy into the NE.
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9450
Good afternoon.

Blog update:

Tropical Tidbit for Wednesday, October 24th, with Video
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If the model trends hold true with significant impacts on the US Eastern Seaboard(following the Greater Antilles and Bahamas) which could include significant beach erosion, this may end up being one of the costliest storms of the season (in late October).
Member Since: August 8, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 8255
Quoting GTcooliebai:
168 hrs. Sandy or her Extratropical/Nor'Easter counterpart is centered over Toronto.



looks like the season ends right over my head
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 163 Comments: 52096
Florida and the Bahamas may be in for a beating. Sandy stalls for a while before heading north again. This is the latest GFS.
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About JeffMasters

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