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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Not seeing the NNE movement but the NHC knows best...
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Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 39248
Lets hope Cuba does to Sandy as to what balance did to Castro

just a little humor for a very serious situation
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That's what Montego Bay is looking like at the moment and rain picking up
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Looks like Recon going in for another pass.
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164. Skyepony (Mod)
Tropical storm watch just issued for Brevard County..
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Quoting Tazmanian:
the recon found 972mb


AWFULLY low for a 80 mph storm. I think Sandy will be the next in a line of recent HUGE windfield/low windspeed storms like Irene and Debbie.
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108 people now in shelters
Link
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well here is the nam at 72 hours,lets see how wrong ...
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 39248
Quoting stormwatcherCI:
That is incorrect. Can you name any hurricane in recent years that Jamaica "killed" ? Gilbert, Ivan, Dean, Gustav all tracked over Jamaica and they all went on to become Cat 3 or higher. Jamaica will just be a hiccup to Sandy.


hurricane hurter, ivan and dean barely tracked over jamaica, gustav hit jamaica earlier on, and gilbert im not sure about.
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Quoting SLU:
Eye-yai yai!



LOL
Member Since: October 20, 2012 Posts: 7 Comments: 2873
MJO is now in phase 2.
Member Since: May 26, 2007 Posts: 47 Comments: 1313
157. SLU
Eye-yai yai!

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156. JRRP
Quoting GeorgiaStormz:


only thing i see is the NAM is wrong already. lol

LOL
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Quoting LargoFl:
just talked to DC..too warm there for snow probably same in NYC, dunno about boston and north so far...........


Are you forgetting about the canadian airmass?

Plus, the snow will most likley be farther inland.
Member Since: October 20, 2012 Posts: 7 Comments: 2873
Quoting weathermanwannabe:
Prayers out this morning for the folks in Jamaica; Kingston is so heavily populated, and with sub-standard housing for so many, that a prolonged eye wall interaction will be devastating.
ditto on that
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 39248
Quoting WxLogic:


Silly NOGAPS... but if the 12Z runs keeps at it then who knows. 12Z GFS output will be interesting to see.

The main problem here will be what Sandy will do once it hits Cuba's mountainous terrain and where the eye might reform if it fails to remain intact.
we have to watch, exactly what part of cuba sandy crosses, if she goes over the western part, might be a gulf storm and fools everyone including the NHC..interesting day or two ahead..
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 39248
Prayers out this morning for the folks in Jamaica; Kingston is so heavily populated, and with sub-standard housing for so many, that a prolonged eye wall interaction will be devastating.
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Quoting TomballTXPride:

Hence why it's hard to find a positive with this one. Either way you go, someone will be homeless. Very sad.


I wish these countries had money so they could build top-notch hurricane-resistant homes like the ones in Florida.

But sadly, thats not the case.
Member Since: October 20, 2012 Posts: 7 Comments: 2873
Vortex shows flight level winds are almost up to 100mph.
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Quoting FunnelVortex:


I think she'll be a snowicane, I dont know.

She is a threat, snowicane or not, lets just agree on that.

just talked to DC..too warm there for snow probably same in NYC, dunno about boston and north so far...........
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 39248
Quoting ncstorm:


Nogaps has the entire east coast..


Silly NOGAPS... but if the 12Z runs keeps at it then who knows. 12Z GFS output will be interesting to see.

The main problem here will be what Sandy will do once it hits Cuba's mountainous terrain and where the eye might reform if it fails to remain intact.
Member Since: August 14, 2008 Posts: 4 Comments: 4977
Quoting LargoFl:
you stay safe nigel ok

Yes indeed.
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Serial Hurricane Killer LOL. Florida, ya did it to Bundy. Do it to Sandy
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Quoting GeorgiaStormz:


Jamaica wont help a hurricane.
Jamaica is a serial hurricane-killer
That is incorrect. Can you name any hurricane in recent years that Jamaica "killed" ? Gilbert, Ivan, Dean, Gustav all tracked over Jamaica and they all went on to become Cat 3 or higher. Jamaica will just be a hiccup to Sandy.
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Quoting TomballTXPride:

No one is saying it'll kill her, as much as we would hope so. But it would be hard to imagine it would benefit her in any way other than collapsing and expanding her wind field, which may come to bit us in the butt down the road if your snowicane predictions come true.


I think she'll be a snowicane, I dont know.

She is a threat, snowicane or not, lets just agree on that.

Member Since: October 20, 2012 Posts: 7 Comments: 2873
Quoting ncstorm:


Just wait and see and look over your plans..thats all we can do..


yep. at least we do have a plan for these things. it just always gives an uneasy feeling.
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Quoting CybrTeddy:
Jamaica doesn't kill hurricanes, take Ivan and Dean for example. Might even miss Jamaica entirely, judging by the motion of the eye.


hurricane hurter....

ivan and dean clipped jamaica barely
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Quoting nigel20:
It's not lokking good for us in eastern Jamaica. It's going to bee a long day.


You guys stay safe down there!
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Quoting CybrTeddy:
Jamaica doesn't kill hurricanes, take Ivan and Dean for example. Might even miss Jamaica entirely, judging by the motion of the eye.


The last center fix shows a wobble back to a short term NNW motion but overall NNE from the first of the three fixes.
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One thing I notice is that the FIM 9 keeps this stronger further inland unlike the EURO which kills it by the time it reaches the Great Lakes. FIM 9 and Fim 8 (15km and 30km resolution respectively) are very similiar in that regard:

something below 960:


Something below 980:
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Good morning from the Dominican. Some light rain starting to come on shore with the heavy stuff expected later tonight through friday.
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000
WTNT43 KNHC 241505
TCDAT3

HURRICANE SANDY DISCUSSION NUMBER 9
NWS NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL AL182012
1100 AM EDT WED OCT 24 2012

DATA FROM THE HURRICANE HUNTER AIRCRAFT INDICATE THAT SANDY HAS
REACHED HURRICANE STRENGTH. THE AIRCRAFT JUST MEASURED A PEAK
700-MB FLIGHT-LEVEL WIND OF 86 KT...AND BLENDING THAT WITH THE PEAK
SFMR WINDS YIELDS AN INITIAL INTENSITY OF 70 KT. THE CENTRAL
PRESSURE HAS ALSO FALLEN TO 973 MB BASED ON DATA FROM THE PLANE.
CONDITIONS APPEAR FAVORABLE FOR ADDITIONAL INTENSIFICATION UNTIL
THE CYCLONE MOVES NEAR OR OVER EASTERN JAMAICA...AND THE OFFICIAL
FORECAST SHOWS SOME STRENGTHENING AT 12 HOURS. AFTER THAT TIME...
ADDITIONAL LAND INTERACTION WITH EASTERN CUBA AND STRUCTURAL
CHANGES DUE TO INTERACTION WITH AN UPPER-LEVEL TROUGH MAKE THE
INTENSITY FORECAST HIGHLY UNCERTAIN. INCREASING SHEAR SHOULD RESULT
IN LESS FAVORABLE CONDITIONS FOR INTENSIFICATION VIA LATENT HEAT
RELEASE...BUT THIS COULD BE COMPENSATED FOR BY BAROCLINIC
PROCESSES. GIVEN THE UNCERTAINTY...THE NHC INTENSITY FORECAST
REMAINS UNCHANGED AT 36 HOURS AND BEYOND...SHOWING SANDY BECOMING A
POWERFUL POST-TROPICAL CYCLONE BY THE END OF THE PERIOD.

THE INITIAL MOTION IS 015/11. THE SHORT-TERM TRACK FORECAST
REASONING REMAINS UNCHANGED FOR THE FIRST COUPLE OF DAYS...AS SANDY
SHOULD MOVE GENERALLY NORTHWARD INTO A BREAK IN THE SUBTROPICAL
RIDGE OVER THE BAHAMAS AS IT INTERACTS WITH AN UPPER-LEVEL LOW TO
ITS WEST. LATE IN THE PERIOD...THERE REMAINS CONSIDERABLE SPREAD IN
THE GUIDANCE DUE TO DIFFERENCES IN HOW MUCH SANDY INTERACTS WITH
ANOTHER TROUGH MOVING INTO THE NORTHEASTERN UNITED STATES. THE
ECMWF HAS BEEN CONSISTENT IN SHOWING MORE INTERACTION AND A TRACK
FARTHER WEST...WHILE THE GFS SHOWS SANDY TURNING EAST AND MISSING
THE TROUGH. OVERALL MORE OF THE GUIDANCE HAS BEEN TRENDING TOWARD
SHOWING MORE INTERACTION WITH THE EASTERN U.S. TROUGH LATE IN THE
PERIOD. GIVEN THIS TREND...THE NHC FORECAST HAS BEEN ADJUSTED TO THE
LEFT AT DAYS 4 AND 5...AND LIES ROUGHLY BETWEEN THE ECMWF AND THE
TVCA MULTI-MODEL CONSENSUS. NEEDLESS TO SAY...THE TRACK FORECAST
UNCERTAINTY REMAINS HIGH AT THE END OF THE PERIOD.

GIVEN THE LATEST NHC FORECAST...A HURRICANE WATCH HAS BEEN ISSUED
FOR THE CENTRAL AND NORTHWEST BAHAMAS...AND THE TROPICAL STORM
WATCH HAS BEEN EXTENDED NORTHWARD ALONG THE EAST-CENTRAL FLORIDA
COAST.

FORECAST POSITIONS AND MAX WINDS

INIT 24/1500Z 17.1N 76.7W 70 KT 80 MPH
12H 25/0000Z 19.1N 76.5W 75 KT 85 MPH
24H 25/1200Z 21.9N 76.4W 65 KT 75 MPH
36H 26/0000Z 24.4N 76.4W 60 KT 70 MPH
48H 26/1200Z 26.3N 76.7W 60 KT 70 MPH
72H 27/1200Z 28.7N 76.0W 60 KT 70 MPH
96H 28/1200Z 32.0N 73.0W 60 KT 70 MPH
120H 29/1200Z 35.5N 70.0W 60 KT 70 MPH...POST-TROPICAL

$$
FORECASTER BRENNAN
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Quoting K8eCane:



Oh Geez! Thats what Im talkin bout. The uncertainty. Wish I was 20 again but i am not. Im 54, disabled with a 12 year old son and a 72 year old mom to care for. Thats not to discount anyone elses problems for a minute. I know we all have them and right now i AM praying for people to our south.


Just wait and see and look over your plans..thats all we can do..
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9% chance that Sandy will get up to Cat 2 in 12 hours

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Quoting ncstorm:
Shift west



Nice ;)
Member Since: October 20, 2012 Posts: 7 Comments: 2873
Quoting ncstorm:


GFS keeps shifting west and making the turn later and the euro run has hurricane force winds for coastal NC..if the 12z GFS comes even farther west, our area will be looking at another ball game and a different write up from the NWS..it was 960 mb off our coast in the Euro run..



Oh Geez! Thats what Im talkin bout. The uncertainty. Wish I was 20 again but i am not. Im 54, disabled with a 12 year old son and a 72 year old mom to care for. Thats not to discount anyone elses problems for a minute. I know we all have them and right now i AM praying for people to our south.
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Jamaica doesn't kill hurricanes, take Ivan and Dean for example. Might even miss Jamaica entirely, judging by the motion of the eye.
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SPECIAL WEATHER STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE JACKSONVILLE FL
1030 AM EDT WED OCT 24 2012

AMZ450-452-454-470-472-474-FLZ024-025-033-038-GAZ 153-154-165-166-
242030-
ALTAMAHA SOUND GA TO FERNANDINA BEACH FL 20 NM TO 60 NM OFFSHORE-
ALTAMAHA SOUND GA TO FERNANDINA BEACH FL OUT TO 20 NM-
CAMDEN (COASTAL)-CAMDEN (INLAND)-DUVAL-
FERNANDINA BEACH TO ST AUGUSTINE FL 20 NM TO 60 NM OFFSHORE-
FERNANDINA BEACH TO ST AUGUSTINE FL OUT TO 20 NM-FLAGLER-
GLYNN (COASTAL)-GLYNN (INLAND)-NASSAU-
ST AUGUSTINE TO FLAGLER BEACH FL 20 NM TO 60 NM OFFSHORE-
ST AUGUSTINE TO FLAGLER BEACH FL OUT TO 20 NM-ST JOHNS-
1030 AM EDT WED OCT 24 2012

...FRINGE EFFECTS EXPECTED AS SANDY MOVES WELL EAST OF THE AREA...

TROPICAL STORM SANDY IS EXPECTED TO MOVE WELL EAST OF THE NORTHEAST
FLORIDA AND SOUTHEAST GEORGIA AREA AND COASTAL WATERS THIS
WEEKEND. AS THE STORM MOVES BY THE LOCAL AREA IT WILL BE BEGINNING
TO LOSE ITS TROPICAL CHARACTERISTICS AND WILL BE EXPANDING IN SIZE.
BECAUSE OF THAT WE WILL FEEL SOME IMPACTS IN THE COASTAL AREAS BUT
THEY WILL BE SIMILAR TO A STRONG LOCAL NORTHEASTER.

MARINE IMPACTS...
DUE TO THE PRESSURE GRADIENT BETWEEN THE STORM AND THE HIGH PRESSURE
TO THE WEST WE MAY SEE FREQUENT GUSTS TO GALE FORCE OVER THE MARINE
AREAS THROUGH THE WEEKEND. AS THESE WINDS WILL NOT BE DIRECTLY DUE TO
THE CIRCULATION FROM THE TROPICAL STORM A GALE WATCH HAS BEEN ISSUED
FOR OUR COASTAL WATERS. SEAS 20 TO 60 MILES OFFSHORE MAY REACH 20
FEET WITH LARGE BREAKING WAVES AFFECTING INLETS.

COASTAL IMPACTS...
IT WILL BECOME BREEZY TO WINDY OVER OUR COASTAL COUNTIES AS SANDY
MOVES BY THE AREA. THE STRONGEST WINDS ARE LIKELY ALONG THE
IMMEDIATE BEACHES...THE INTRACOASTAL WATERWAY AND LARGE BODIES OF
WATER SUCH AS THE ST JOHNS AND TURTLE RIVERS. WINDS ALONG THE
BEACHES COULD OCCASIONALLY GUST BETWEEN 35 AND 40 MPH FRIDAY THROUGH
SUNDAY MORNING. OBJECTS WHICH MIGHT BE BLOWN AROUND BY HIGH WINDS
SHOULD BE SECURED. HIGH SURF IN EXCESS OF 7 FEET IS LIKELY AND MINOR
TO MODERATE COASTAL FLOODING COULD OCCUR AT OR NEAR THE TIME OF HIGH
TIDE FRIDAY THROUGH SUNDAY. A HIGH RISK OF RIP CURRENTS IS LIKELY
OVER THE WEEKEND AND SURF CONDITIONS WILL BE VERY ROUGH AND
CHOPPY.

FUTHER STATEMENTS WILL BE ISSUES AS NECESSARY.

$$

SANDRIK/SHASHY
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 39248
Quoting TomballTXPride:

I will add that while she'll be going over some mountains, her time over Jamaica won't be very long. It probably will be long enough to disrupt it, or to prevent any further strengthening. Definitely Cuba's savings grace, but unfortunately at Jamaica's expense.

Hard to find a positive there.


But then, she will just restreghnthen over the bahamas!
Member Since: October 20, 2012 Posts: 7 Comments: 2873
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Shift west

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Quoting JRRP:
Interesting


only thing i see is the NAM is wrong already. lol
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Quoting GeorgiaStormz:


Jamaica wont help a hurricane.
Jamaica is a serial hurricane-killer


It will weaken it, but not kill it comletley.
Member Since: October 20, 2012 Posts: 7 Comments: 2873
Quoting JRRP:
Interesting
note the model spread, dont like the one going westward..man we need to watch this closely
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 39248

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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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