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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Recon will probably found an 85-90 mph hurricane.

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Miami radar picking up.
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Quoting kmanislander:


Lots of quakes along that fault line to our South. I remember the Dec. 2004 quake. I was upstairs in an apartment that shook so hard my eyes could not focus.

As for this season we may see one or two more storms when the fronts come down. Lots of systems this year but not much in the way of majors.


Think we may have an slight advantage Tsunami wise because of the very deep water around us.

Do you mean Tropical type storms or NW'sters?

Certainly nothing has "defused" the Sea Temps around us and as much as I hate any Storm, I detest late Season Storms, especially the "wrong way round" ones!
Member Since: September 21, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 314
Really fascinating updated discussion from Forecaster Sipprell at NWS Taunton:

WITH GREATER CONFIDENCE...A MAJORITY OF ENSEMBLE AND OPERATIONAL
MODEL SOLNS FORECAST HURRICANE SANDY LIFTING NORTHWARD...BECOMING
POST-TROPICAL /REMAINING WARM-CORED/ AS IT LOOPS WEST TOWARDS THE
RIGHT-REAR QUADRANT OF THE AFOREMENTIONED UPPER LVL JET /SOMEWHERE
IN PROXIMITY TO THE ERN GREAT LAKES REGION/ PARENT WITH THE
NEGATIVELY TILTING TROUGH ACROSS THE GRT LAKES RGN.

BUT AM HESITANT TO BUY INTO THE MAJORITY OF SOLNS...THE STORM IS
TAKING ON A HISTORICAL PRECEDENT COMPARED TO THE CLIMATOLOGY OF
OTHER POST-TROPICAL SYSTEMS DURING THE AUTUMN MONTHS. WITH REGARDS
TO THE LITERARY DISCUSSION YESTERDAY...THE POST-TROPICAL TRACK OF
SANDY IS SLIGHTLY ANOMALOUS TO BENCHMARK TRACKS OF THE GREAT GALE OF
1878 AND HURRICANE HAZEL IN 1954 /THOUGH HAZEL DID EXHIBIT A SLIGHT
WESTWARD LEAN IT IS TRACK/.

IN ADDITION...THROUGH PERSONAL COMMUNICATION...MODEL SOLNS HAVE BEEN
KNOWN TO PREMATURELY PHASE SYSTEMS BEYOND 120 HRS /ESPECIALLY A
TROPICAL SYSTEM PHASING INTO A TROUGH/. SO LONG AS HURRICANE SANDY
MAINTAINS...THE LONGER IT MAY RESIST CROSS H5 HEIGHTS AND 1000-500
THICKNESSES...RESULTING IN A GREATER PROBABILITY OF A TRACK TO THE
RIGHT /ESPECIALLY IF IT TRACKS QUICKER AVOIDING THE TROUGH INTO THE
GREAT LAKES REGION/. BUT AS SEEN IN MODEL SOLNS...SANDY SLOWS WITH A
BLOCKING PATTERN TO THE EAST...AND SHOULD IT TRANSITION POST-
TROPICAL...SANDY WOULD BE ALLOWED TO PHASE ACROSS H5 HEIGHTS WITH A
SUBSEQUENT LEFT HOOK.

ADDITIONAL COMMUNICATION HAS BROUGHT UP POINTS CONCERNING OVER-
ZEALOUS CYCLONE DEEPENING BY MODEL SOLNS...AS WELL AS HANDLING STORM
MERGERS POORLY. SHOULD A MERGER OCCUR...THE MORE DOMINANT WAVE
SHOULD USURP THE WEAKER WAVE AND PREVAIL.

SO WHILE THERE IS UNCERTAINTY THAT MODEL SOLNS ARE EXHIBITING A TRUE
FCST AND ATTENDANT OUTCOMES...THERE IS THE OTHER MATTER CONCERNING
THE TRACK OF POST-TROPICAL SANDY AND POSSIBLE IMPACTS. IN GOING WITH
24/18Z HPC GUIDANCE WHICH LEANS TOWARDS ENSEMBLE GUIDANCE...THERE IS
GREATER WEIGHT TOWARDS SCENARIOS OF POST-TROPICAL SANDY MAKING A
CLOSE PASS /STRONG WINDS AND HIGH SEAS POSSIBLY LEADING TO COASTAL
FLOODING AND ISOLATED POWER OUTAGES/...OR A DIRECT HIT /HURRICANE
FORCE WINDS...AND WITH FOLIATED TREES...RESULTING IN DOWNED TREES
AND WIDESPREAD POWER OUTAGES...HIGH SEAS AND STORM SURGE RESULTING
IN SIGNIFICANT BEACH EROSION AND COASTAL FLOODING...ESPECIALLY
DURING PERIODS OF HIGH TIDE...SOME OF WHICH COULD BE
ASTRONOMICALLY HIGH... AND FINALLY HEAVY RAINS RESULTING IN
INTERIOR FLOODING/.

AGAIN THERE IS NO CERTAINTY THIS FAR OUT IN THE FORECAST...NUMEROUS
POSSIBILITIES REMAIN ON THE TABLE...BUT THE BEST ADVICE IS TO BE
TUNED TO THE LATEST FORECASTS...BEING PREPARED FOR EVERY SCENARIO...
BEST OR WORST CASE.
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Quoting bigwes6844:
nice! good job

I cheated. Right-click the image, view image... its right in the URL. hehehe.

Quoting DoctorDave1:
Will it be Sandy/Athena or Sandy-Athena?

Santhena.
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Quoting DoctorDave1:
Will it be Sandy/Athena or Sandy-Athena?


Sathena
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12z JMA








Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 16041
Will it be Sandy/Athena or Sandy-Athena?
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Quoting jeffs713:

Carol '54
nice! good job
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Quoting SSideBrac:


Did not feel a thing on the Brac either - think we had worse post-Ivan (Dec 14 if I recall)) - that I did feel on 3rd Floor of Comfort Suites - pool was slopped empty and tourists rattled.
Son just arrived on BA Flight from UK panicking about Tsunamis! My response - "Nowhere to run - chance is small in Cayman anyway - lets get to Mezza ASAP - at least we will be on 2nd Floor with good friends and good wine" - think he was only reassured "many drinks and a good steak dinner" later.
Anyway back to more serious matters - Sandy.


Lots of quakes along that fault line to our South. I remember the Dec. 2004 quake. I was upstairs in an apartment that shook so hard my eyes could not focus.

As for this season we may see one or two more storms when the fronts come down. Lots of systems this year but not much in the way of majors.
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 15882
Quoting bigwes6844:
Anybody wanna guess this storms name? Sandy may do this after Jamaica.

Carol '54
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From the Forecaster Discussion for Buffalo:

Long term /Sunday through Wednesday/...
the Sunday through Wednesday time frame is a prime case for not
looking at individual model output and instead focusing on ensemble
data. Not only that...in this case you cannot rely on ensemble
means...but you have to look at each of the members and watch for
trends and ensemble-member-preferred solutions. I have rarely seen
such a perfect case for chaos theory so willingly showing its ugly
face...with finely tuned models producing such extreme outcomes.

Although there are infinite solutions to the currently evolving
pattern...in general it should be quite clear that there will be an
impressive-to-extreme tropical-to-extratropical system developing
off the East Coast this weekend and into early next week...one that
will have papers written about it in years to come. It is
impossible to cover each of the varying solutions....but we can
roughly break it down into three possible outcomes:

1 - Sandy moves inland...becomes extratropical while its remnant
continues to move westward into somewhere within New York state. This produces a whole bunch of rare forecast issues...with heavy rain...higher
elevation snow...and a NE wind Monday into Tuesday.

2 - Sandy moves into New England...becomes extratropical before or
after landfall...but a secondary system forces new low development
inland with cold air moving in from the west and a surge of tropical
moisture wrapping around the dying extratropical system. This too
would produce an elevation snow event...with lots of rain and
possibly some wind too Monday and Tuesday.

3 - Sandy moves harmlessly out to sea and becomes a fantastic fish
storm. Another system evolves and spreads precipitation across the
region...or maybe this system does not even exist.

With such wildly varying solutions...we have no choice but to
forecast a chance of rain...and higher elevation snow Sunday night
through Monday night. One thing is for certain...temperatures
should be on the cool to cold side compared to Thursday and Friday.
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Quoting fmbill:
I know it's the NAM (non-tropical), but if this plays out this way, the folks in SE Florida will have a few hours of panick.

12Z NAM



18Z NAM looks to be doing a similar trick.

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18L/TS/S/CX
OVERLAND
MARK
18.10N/77.03W
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Anybody wanna guess this storms name? Sandy may do this after Jamaica.
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thanks to twc for stepping it up on your 400pm edition. done with florida coast guard.
Member Since: September 11, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 4891
Quoting kmanislander:


:-(

Not felt here based on those I have spoken with.


Did not feel a thing on the Brac either - think we had worse post-Ivan (Dec 14 if I recall)) - that I did feel on 3rd Floor of Comfort Suites - pool was slopped empty and tourists rattled.
Son just arrived on BA Flight from UK panicking about Tsunamis! My response - "Nowhere to run - chance is small in Cayman anyway - lets get to Mezza ASAP - at least we will be on 2nd Floor with good friends and good wine" - think he was only reassured "many drinks and a good steak dinner" later.
Anyway back to more serious matters - Sandy.
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The conditions in Little Exuma, Central Bahamas today. Intermittent light/heavy rain with winds out of the east around 30mph.
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Quoting WXMichael:
It looks to me like the eye has continued to form, despite Jamaica's influence.


the eye quickly crossed the island...about 1 hr overland...that's it
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The station at Kingston Airport failed to file a report at 3pm. But its 4pm numbers show a barometric pressure reading of 28.85 inches, or 977MB. The station (MKJP) also showed winds at 44mph, with showers, so the southern edge of the eyewall was already (presumably) moving over it. I'd really love to know how low it dipped in between.
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Quoting ProgressivePulse:


Land interaction can sometimes help a center consolidate.

That happened when Ernesto was making landfall in Mexico and with Isaac and Louisiana. As long as there are no mountains a storm could do that. Cuba could/should disrupt the circulation somewhat, how much depends on the terrain.
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Quoting WXMichael:
It looks to me like the eye has continued to form, despite Jamaica's influence.


Partially offshore the North coast now. This hurricane has a very large eye. 48 miles across earlier today.

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Quoting SFLWeatherman:


Those in Palm Beach Nward could get a little surprise.
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Quoting tropicfreak:


Hey there fellow Virginian! I'm watching this storm NW of you here in Richmond. As for me, I am not looking for another Isabel or Irene, I'm ready for that four letter word that begins with S and ends with W.


Yeah, I work in Richmond... oh, I gotta go... thanks!
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Quoting WXMichael:
It looks to me like the eye has continued to form, despite Jamaica's influence.


Land interaction can sometimes help a center consolidate.
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Quoting tropicfreak:


WKC is probably peeing himself out right now...

LOL
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Looks like on radar coming off Jamaica the eye reforms in a hurry slightly to the west. Be interesting to watch next few frames.
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The next recon flight just took off from Gulfport/Biloxi.
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Quoting ncstorm:
Good gracious..has anyone seen this?

through 120 hours


240 hours


Tropical moisture + baroclinic energy = LOTS of rain.
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Quoting tropicfreak:


WKC is probably peeing himself out right now...


:-(

Not felt here based on those I have spoken with.
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 15882
It looks to me like the eye has continued to form, despite Jamaica's influence.
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790. Skyepony (Mod)
I've got a bit of East Central FL specific info to Sandy updated in my blog.


Fresh OSCAT
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Good gracious..has anyone seen this?

through 120 hours


240 hours

Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 16041
Quoting trHUrrIXC5MMX:
Cayman Is quake...west of Sandy

Earthquake Details

This event has been reviewed by a seismologist.
Magnitude
5.4
Date-Time
Wednesday, October 24, 2012 at 17:56:00 UTC
Wednesday, October 24, 2012 at 12:56:00 PM at epicenter
Time of Earthquake in other Time Zones
Location
17.844°N, 81.690°W
Depth
32.7 km (20.3 miles)


WKC is probably peeing himself out right now...
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Eye now pushed offshore on northern coast

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Quoting CybrTeddy:
Won't be long until the eye emerges off Jamaica, intensification should resume.


Looks like the Northern eyewall may be doing that already. Sandy will probably remain a hurricane through the transit which will be very short.
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 15882
NYC NWS...

340 PM EDT WED OCT 24 2012

THIS HAZARDOUS WEATHER OUTLOOK IS FOR ATLANTIC COASTAL
WATERS...SOUTHERN CONNECTICUT...NORTHEAST NEW JERSEY AND SOUTHEAST
NEW YORK.

.DAY ONE...THIS AFTERNOON AND TONIGHT.

HAZARDOUS WEATHER NOT EXPECTED AT THIS TIME.

.DAYS TWO THROUGH SEVEN...THURSDAY THROUGH TUESDAY.

SUNDAY THROUGH TUESDAY...THERE IS THE POTENTIAL FOR A MAJOR
COASTAL STORM WITH HEAVY RAINFALL...HIGH WINDS...COASTAL FLOODING
AND BEACH EROSION.
THIS WILL ULTIMATELY DEPEND ON THE EVENTUAL
TRACK AND EVOLUTION OF TROPICAL CYCLONE SANDY AS IT INTERACTS WITH
A DEEPENING UPPER LEVEL LOW PRESSURE SYSTEM APPROACHING THE EAST
COAST. THE STORM MAY VERY WELL JUST MOVE OUT TO SEA...AND HAVE
LITTLE IF ANY IMPACT ON OUR WEATHER.

AGAIN...FORECAST CONFIDENCE IS STILL LOW AT THIS POINT...SINCE
SANDY IS STILL IN THE CARIBBEAN SEA...AND ANY POTENTIAL IMPACTS
ARE STILL AT LEAST SEVERAL DAYS AWAY. PLEASE REFER TO THE NATIONAL
HURRICANE CENTER FOR THE LATEST FORECASTS ON SANDY...AND MONITOR
THE LATEST NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE FORECASTS THROUGHOUT THE WEEK.
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My NWS, Detroit, MI, just released a forecast discussion and it mentions Sandy.

The last issue of this long term centers on what will become of hurricane sandy. Again, variousmodel solutions are showing very good intra model continuity in eventually retrograding the maintropical remnants westward into eastern portions of Pennsylvania by next Tuesday. Alot can happen,but the main thing to watch will be the orientation of the jet stream as a strong jetlet exits thepacnw Saturday morning and advances into the Ohio River Valley on Sunday. The more amplitude thisfeature will provide the better the chances for longer wavelength phasing and the degree ofretrogression. With the remnant old frontal axis and moisture still in close proximity to thesoutheastern Michigan early next week, felt it was ok to increase pops on Tuesday as this moisturewill be the first to arrive. Will need to wait on details with sandy.

Tuesday A chance of snow showers. Partly sunny, with a high near 43
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Looks like Sandy moving slightly west of Tropical Forecast Points on the NHC visible.
Member Since: August 28, 2006 Posts: 6 Comments: 2899
Won't be long until the eye emerges off Jamaica, intensification should resume.
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781. 7544
filling in on the nothern west side shes getting huge at this hour covering alarge area
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Quoting Tropicsweatherpr:



That is going to be the radar to watch over the next 12-24 hours.
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Quoting FunnelVortex:
THEN



NOW





Shifting west guys



should shift west alittle more
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Cayman Is quake...west of Sandy

Earthquake Details

This event has been reviewed by a seismologist.
Magnitude
5.4
Date-Time
Wednesday, October 24, 2012 at 17:56:00 UTC
Wednesday, October 24, 2012 at 12:56:00 PM at epicenter
Time of Earthquake in other Time Zones
Location
17.844°N, 81.690°W
Depth
32.7 km (20.3 miles)
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TROPICAL UPDATE #2
_____________________

NE POTENTIAL IMPACT

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Member Since: May 23, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 4957
Quoting evilpenguinshan:
MetService says the radar is down...anyone know an alternate source?



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Quoting kimoskee:


Kingston. Norbrook. Plenty wind, not so much rain. Power gone. on generator.


Wind will switch to NW soon as eye moves offshore the North coast.
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Thx!:)
Quoting Levi32:


She's not likely to get jerked around as much as Isaac because she's moving perpendicular through the island, and she's on a strengthening trend.
Member Since: May 23, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 4957

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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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