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

Share this Blog
42
+

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

Reader Comments

Comments will take a few seconds to appear.

Post Your Comments

Please sign in to post comments.

or Join

Not only will you be able to leave comments on this blog, but you'll also have the ability to upload and share your photos in our Wunder Photos section.

Display: 0, 50, 100, 200 Sort: Newest First - Order Posted

Viewing: 271 - 221

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18Blog Index

12Z GFS EXTENDED 24 OCT hr 159 TILL XXX


LARGE ERRORS APPLY
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 174 Comments: 54398
270. TXCWC
Quoting TomballTXPride:
OMG. This GFS run (12Z) totally turning it back to the coast of Maine. OMG. This is very far out, but a very scary run.



And still bombing it out as well sub 950mb
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
If this comes together, the tides are going to be a serious concern. The Ash Wednesday Storm of 1962 came on a spring tide. While not that high, a full moon tide has a lot of people concerned, rightly so. Wishing on a curve, but going to get some preparations underway.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
12Z GFS EXTENDED 24 OCT hr 150 TILL XXX


LARGE ERRORS APPLY
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 174 Comments: 54398
Quoting MTWX:


Southern plains of what??


The united states, duh
Member Since: October 20, 2012 Posts: 7 Comments: 2873
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 39248
12Z GFS final 24 OCT hr 144 TILL 144


Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 174 Comments: 54398
Product: Air Force Vortex Message (URNT12 KNHC)
D. Estimated (by SFMR or visually) Maximum Surface Wind: 65kts (~ 74.8mph)
E. Location of the Estimated Maximum Surface Wind: 17 nautical miles (20 statute miles) to the WSW (240) of center fix
H. Minimum Sea Level Pressure: 974mb (28.76 inHg)
I. Maximum Flight Level Temp & Pressure Altitude Outside Eye: 7C (45F) at a pressure alt. of 3,037m (9,964ft)
J. Maximum Flight Level Temp & Pressure Altitude Inside Eye: 17C (63F) at a pressure alt. of 3,055m (10,023ft)
K. Dewpoint Temp (collected at same location as temp inside eye): 4C (39F)
K. Sea Surface Temp (collected at same location as temp inside eye): Not Available
L. Eye Character: Closed
M. Eye Shape & Diameter: Circular with a diameter of 48 nautical miles (55 statute miles)

------

That temperature differential and the closed, circular eye are clear signs of organization and intensification. She's spinning up to full strength.
Member Since: August 18, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 460
261. MTWX
Quoting FunnelVortex:
Thunderstorms are going up over the southern plains. The moisture they pump out could get sucked into Sandy's circulation sometime soon.


Southern plains of what??
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
New center fix

Storm Number & Year: 18L in 2012
Storm Name: Sandy (flight in the North Atlantic basin)
Mission Number: 4
Observation Number: 23
A. Time of Center Fix: 24th day of the month at 15:40:30Z
B. Center Fix Coordinates: 17°15'N 76°47'W (17.25N 76.7833W)
B. Center Fix Location: 51 miles (83 km) to the S (179°) from Kingston, Jamaica.
C. Minimum Height at Standard Level: 2,875m (9,432ft) at 700mb
D. Estimated (by SFMR or visually) Maximum Surface Wind: 65kts (~ 74.8mph)
E. Location of the Estimated Maximum Surface Wind: 17 nautical miles (20 statute miles) to the WSW (240°) of center fix
F. Maximum Flight Level Wind Inbound: From 323° at 61kts (From the NW at ~ 70.2mph)
G. Location of Maximum Flight Level Wind Inbound: 24 nautical miles (28 statute miles) to the WSW (238°) of center fix
H. Minimum Sea Level Pressure: 974mb (28.76 inHg)
I. Maximum Flight Level Temp & Pressure Altitude Outside Eye: 7°C (45°F) at a pressure alt. of 3,037m (9,964ft)
J. Maximum Flight Level Temp & Pressure Altitude Inside Eye: 17°C (63°F) at a pressure alt. of 3,055m (10,023ft)
K. Dewpoint Temp (collected at same location as temp inside eye): 4°C (39°F)
K. Sea Surface Temp (collected at same location as temp inside eye): Not Available
L. Eye Character: Closed
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:
Maximum Flight Level Wind: 86kts (~ 99.0mph) in the southeast quadrant at 14:41:30Z
Maximum Flight Level Wind Outbound: 76kts (~ 87.5mph) in the northeast quadrant at 15:48:00Z
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting guygee:
Water is very warm north of Jamaica all the way to Cuba.


I was referring to the amount of time before she reached Jamaica. I should have clarified that.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
12Z GFS INIT 24 OCT hr 138 TILL 144


Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 174 Comments: 54398
Quoting GBguy88:


Sixty miles south of the Jamaican coast, moving north at 12mph...that does not equal 12 more hours until she's on top of Jamaica.
Water is very warm north of Jamaica all the way to Cuba.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting LargoFl:
winds picking up now on the east coast..........

I'm not seeing the wind increase yet
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
12Z GFS INIT 24 OCT hr 132 TILL 144


Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 174 Comments: 54398
Unfortunately it looks like it's turning back on this run.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Member Since: May 23, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 4681
Quoting GTcooliebai:
Will it turn back to the US or continue out to sea from here?

sure is a guessing game huh GT..glad i dont work for the NHC, they must be frustrated....
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 39248
Quoting guygee:
Yes, but we are lucky she does not have another 24 hours after that, added onto the 12-24 hours that she does have.


Sixty miles south of the Jamaican coast, moving north at 12mph...that does not equal 12 more hours until she's on top of Jamaica.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
east coast temps,notice the frigid air to the west.....
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 39248
Will it turn back to the US or continue out to sea from here?

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting CybrTeddy:


She does have another 12-24 hours over high TCHP.
Yes, but we are lucky she does not have another 24 hours after that, added onto the 12-24 hours that she does have.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
12Z GFS INIT 24 OCT hr 123 TILL 144


Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 174 Comments: 54398
The North Atlantic low is also getting pushed west and closer to the US. Helping to push Sandy into mid Atl.

Delaware is my guess.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
12Z GFS INIT 24 OCT hr 114 TILL 144


Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 174 Comments: 54398
winds picking up now on the east coast..........
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 39248
Thunderstorms are going up over the southern plains. The moisture they pump out could get sucked into Sandy's circulation sometime soon.
Member Since: October 20, 2012 Posts: 7 Comments: 2873
Quoting CybrTeddy:


She does have another 12-24 hours over high TCHP.



Not before she reaches Jamaica, which is what I meant.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
old rule if the eye clears out just alittle better than now 100mph
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
GFS just wont give it up, which is good for the USA
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting VirginIslandsVisitor:
Nigel,

Wishing you and yours (and everyone else in Sandy's path) all the best. Take care of yourselves over there!

Lindy

Thanks much!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting FunnelVortex:


And most hurricanes do not make landfall as CAT 4s, do they?
LOL try telling your insurance company that....
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Look at that 1034 mb. ridge south of Greenland.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
12Z GFS INIT 24 OCT hr 105 TILL 144


Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 174 Comments: 54398
Quoting GBguy88:
As we so often seem to find ourselves saying...it's a good thing she didn't have another 12-24 hours over that area of high heat potential.


She does have another 12-24 hours over high TCHP.

Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 24185
Member Since: May 23, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 4681
Quoting CybrTeddy:
Comparison's sake, 06z GFS 60 hours.


12z GFS 60 hours.


Closer and stronger seems to be the trend.


Ehm, same pic, Teddy?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
12Z GFS INIT 24 OCT hr 096 TILL 144


Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 174 Comments: 54398
As we so often seem to find ourselves saying...it's a good thing she didn't have another 12-24 hours over that area of high heat potential.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Comparison's sake, 06z GFS 60 hours.


12z GFS 60 hours.


Closer and stronger seems to be the trend.
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 24185
<
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 15842
12Z GFS INIT 24 OCT hr 087 TILL 144


Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 174 Comments: 54398
Most recent microwave pass:

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
12Z GFS INIT 24 OCT hr 084 TILL 144


Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 174 Comments: 54398
new Nam at 72 hours, same as GFS,both a lil closer to FL..
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 39248
12z GFS 90 hrs.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Would love to see how is the sky when the eye pass by! Jamaicans, please take some pics.. if possible of course. Stay safe..
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting stormpetrol:
Time: 15:40:00Z
Coordinates: 17.2333N 76.8W
Acft. Static Air Press: 696.6 mb (~ 20.57 inHg)
Acft. Geopotential Hgt: 2,917 meters (~ 9,570 feet)
Extrap. Sfc. Press: 971.3 mb (~ 28.68 inHg)
D-value: -
Flt. Lvl. Wind (30s): From 263 at 10 knots (From the W at ~ 11.5 mph)
Air Temp: 16.0C (~ 60.8F)
Dew Pt: 6.0C (~ 42.8F)
Peak (10s) Flt. Lvl. Wind: 11 knots (~ 12.6 mph)
SFMR Peak (10s) Sfc. Wind: 21 knots (~ 24.1 mph)
SFMR Rain Rate: 3 mm/hr (~ 0.12 in/hr)
(*) Denotes suspect data

Apparently a N/NNW motion at the moment.


Another attempt in that direction by Sandy. It tried that last night as well but it did not hold
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 15842
12Z GFS INIT 24 OCT hr 072 TILL 144


Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 174 Comments: 54398

Viewing: 271 - 221

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18Blog Index

Top of Page

About

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

Local Weather

Overcast
66 °F
Overcast