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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Quoting Levi32:


Debby? Isaac?


I mean the storm's general direction.
Member Since: October 20, 2012 Posts: 7 Comments: 2873
Will recon get into Sandy before landfall on Cuba?
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The 12z Euro worries me...
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Quoting Bayside:


Hey, nice to see you. Thanks for the shout out. I think the pucker factor is really going up for the whole east coast. I know a lot of people around me are well aware of this system and don't live anywhere near the proximity to the water that I do. It seems like we just did this last year... Good luck to you and yours!


I'm in Down Town Miami during the day, and only 7 miles from the bay at home. There are a few of us here watching... :-)
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Jamaica's getting pounded:

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Jamaica pokes Sandy in the eye...

(Will Sandy still be categorized as a Hurricane at 5pm?)
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Quoting FunnelVortex:


Yeah, that was the THREE DAY forecast.

Everyone knows 3 days is easy as hell to forecast.


Debby? Isaac?
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Quoting MAweatherboy1:
Good afternoon. I'm not exactly liking this, lol:



I dont like the looks of this either, if that model is correct, it will pull down a canadian airmass and give me an arctic blast.

I HATE the cold!
Member Since: October 20, 2012 Posts: 7 Comments: 2873
Quoting jeffs713:


the 3-day forecast was spot on, though.



Yeah, that was the THREE DAY forecast.

Everyone knows 3 days is easy as hell to forecast.
Member Since: October 20, 2012 Posts: 7 Comments: 2873
Good afternoon. I'm not exactly liking this, lol:

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From a Local Meteorologist here where I live.
FYI his name is Justin Berk.

"The Perfect Storm? It looks like The Day After Tomorrow here on the latest GFS model. FOR THE RECORD- many of you know I don't want to hype anything and with this storm have been trying to down play it. I am not certifying this model hitting between Boston and Portland with the equivalent of a Cat 2 hurricane, or the European hit on New York City... but the atmosphere is going to do something special. I see the storm curving out to sea and then pulling west (like I said yesterday). How far west is the question. This indicates a loop into NY State and then a little south. The arctic air reaches the coast of North Carolina... and throw in a clipper storm in Missouri??? Crazy, huh?
*I can support strong winds spread up and down the east coast... as for how much rain or will it snow- let's not go there yet. There are more important things sort out like the track first. Like I said the past few days, Thursday is when I will start to feel more confident in doing that. I hope you are here with me to follow it together, and beware of anyone hyping this. There are many other mets hesitant to approach this too soon, with good reason. For now, I am just sharing what I see with you :-)"


a link to the image because for some reason I can't post it.
https://sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-prn1/15649 5_10151206793378476_1519025376_n.jpg
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Quoting FunnelVortex:
THEN



NOW





Shifting west guys


the 3-day forecast was spot on, though.

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Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 40801
...SANDY MAKES LANDFALL IN SOUTHEASTERN JAMAICA...
3:20 PM EDT Wed Oct 24
Location: 17.9°N 76.7°W
Moving: N at 14 mph
Min pressure: 973 mb
Max sustained: 80 mph
Member Since: May 23, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 4908
Quoting CoopsWife:


Hey Bayside - we got transferred to Rhode Island (Newport) so I am watching this one right along with you. Although I am not worried this time about surge, but rainfall amounts.
Sure do miss the southern Chesapeake Bay...


Hey, nice to see you. Thanks for the shout out. I think the pucker factor is really going up for the whole east coast. I know a lot of people around me are well aware of this system and don't live anywhere near the proximity to the water that I do. It seems like we just did this last year... Good luck to you and yours!
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Quoting SFLWeatherman:
SE FL!


That is getting way to close. Hopefully the shear affects it by them.
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Quoting trHUrrIXC5MMX:


Im either 110-115..I think the storm can make it.

I'm going to guess 90. The space between Jamaica and Cuba isn't very big, and both sides have significant mountainous terrain. It *does* have good TCHP values of 100+, which works in its favor. Overall, I just think the mountains (especially the Sierra Maestra) in addition to a short period of time will work against Sandy hitting cat 3.
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Quoting ProgressivePulse:


2 miles from the beach in Jupiter myself.


Few emails from co-workers thinking all of mainland sfl under watch at the moment. For those with questions keep checking HERE.
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THEN



NOW





Shifting west guys
Member Since: October 20, 2012 Posts: 7 Comments: 2873
Quoting SyriboTigereyes:
Keeping an eye on this from here on Long Island. No one seems to know about it or care much. I shrugged it off this past weekend when I saw the far out models. But now? Who knows. Will be interesting to track this one.
very early next week will be your bad times, stay safe up there
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 40801
Keeping an eye on this from here on Long Island. No one seems to know about it or care much. I shrugged it off this past weekend when I saw the far out models. But now? Who knows. Will be interesting to track this one.
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Most recent microwave pass shows the eye and eyewall. Sandy is taking advantage of good conditions in the Caribbean and Jamaica shouldn't affect her too much at all.
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Wow SE FL 12Z GFS ENSEMBLE!! at 54HR






Member Since: May 23, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 4908
Quoting Grothar:


You think it will go through the "Windward Passage'? (private joke) How goes it Allstar?


I don't know....maybe :P. Actually, that wouldn't be a bad thing because Sandy would be EAST of the forecast track. I'm doing pretty well...and for the East Coast's sake, hope Sandy (or Post-Tropical Sandy) stays away. How about you? My avatar isn't very up to date.
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Well it doesn't look like It will be that bad in my area.Probably some wind(30mph) and rain.We don't need any more rain because we have had enough all ready..
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. 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.
. 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.

Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 40801
has levi posted any trop. tidbits lately??? off to check.... brb :)
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No doubt this will be a very tough long-term track forecast as noted by one of the NWS discussions posted below in terms of the US.

A "wobble/pause" over the Northern Bahamas and a "reverse-S" off the East Coast with a turn back towards the NW later in the forecast period is a lot for the models to digest at the moment.................

Everyone on the East Coast just needs to keep a close eye on this one for the time being as NHC makes track adjustments over the next few days.

Jamaica and Cuba/Bahamas first.
Member Since: August 8, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 9321
Quoting Bayside:


Been watching, in fact can't seem to take my eyes off of it right now. Chesapeake Bay water front in SE VA.

NOAA surge model starting to show things to come, this is where it starts to get real nerve racking!



Hey Bayside - we got transferred to Rhode Island (Newport) so I am watching this one right along with you. Although I am not worried this time about surge, but rainfall amounts.
Sure do miss the southern Chesapeake Bay...
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Is it just me or is the NHC being very conservative with the intensity of Sandy while over me? If so... that would have been a problem in terms of school closure -- luckily they did shut down schools for Tomorrow and likely will be closing Friday.
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I would say SE FL
Quoting odinslightning:
where in the world is Jim Cantore????....or maybe the question is where in the world is Jim Cantore gonna start reporting from???
Member Since: May 23, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 4908


Member Since: October 20, 2012 Posts: 7 Comments: 2873
Quoting AllStar17:


If it hits anywhere.


You think it will go through the "Windward Passage'? (private joke) How goes it Allstar?
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Rain coming!
Member Since: May 23, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 4908
Quoting jeffs713:

Gotcha. I didn't know that.



115mph is a lotta bit high, IMO.


Im either 110-115..I think the storm can make it.
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SNOW???

Quoting GeorgiaStormz:
The ECMWF places the largest snow risk over New York, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Maryland, and Virginia (a tad in southern Virginia)

Amounts range from 3-10 inches, with the highest amounts in WV, and PA

7 days so this will change a lot.
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Quoting trHUrrIXC5MMX:
TROPICAL UPDATE
__________________________
I'll be uploading another graphic on the potential NE impact shortly...

Tropical Storm Sandy



click on the pic for bigger 4x size


It's not at all out of the possibility that Sandy could make minimum CAT 3 before Cuba. She just skipped and bounced east of the mountains of Jamaica.
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Sandy is following her FIRST forecast pretty well so far.
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where in the world is Jim Cantore????....or maybe the question is where in the world is Jim Cantore gonna start reporting from???
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Quoting ncstorm:


Yeah..Allan's site has one now..

Gotcha. I didn't know that.

Quoting trHUrrIXC5MMX:
TROPICAL UPDATE
__________________________
I'll be uploading another graphic on the potential NE impact shortly...

Tropical Storm Sandy



click on the pic for bigger 4x size


115mph is a lotta bit high, IMO.
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Quoting AllStar17:
648. CloudGatherer 3:15 PM AST on October 24, 2012

Most notably:
NOTING SEVERAL ENSEMBLE MEMBERS OF THE GFS TRYING TO CAPTURE THE
SYSTEM...WHETHER AS A TROPICAL OR HYBRID STORM AND BRINGING IT
TOWARD THE COAST. HOWEVER...THE 00Z GFS OP RUN AS WELL AS SEVERAL
OTHER MODELS AND SOME OF THEIR ENSEMBLE MEMBERS KEEP THE SYSTEM WELL
OFFSHORE. ONE OF THE MORE CONSISTENT MODELS HAS BEEN THE OP RUN OF
THE ECMWF...WHICH HAS BEEN BULLISH IN WRAPPING THE SYSTEM NWWD BACK
TO THE COAST. THE CANADIAN GGEM HAS BEEN LESS CONSISTENT AND ITS OP
RUN ACTUALLY KEEPS THE SYSTEM WELL OFFSHORE THOUGH SOME OF ITS
ENSEMBLE MEMBERS SHOW SOME BACKING.
Yeah, there's a huge amount of uncertainty. We have essentially no skill at predicting the path of systems more than five days out. But on some of the model runs - the 12z and 18z - we're now moving to the outer edge of that five day envelope. This forecast came a little late to pick them up. But they're clustering more tightly on a solution, showing the storm moving a little further east early in the period, and then recurving to the west to strike the northeastern United States.

Could the track change? Sure. In fact, this far out, it's guaranteed to change. But as we move into the five-day envelope, it's not too early to start fretting.
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looks like the GFS has picked up the speed of sandy....
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 40801
Quoting hurricane23:


Keep in mind no inland metro areas are under any kind of watches for now. Coastal sections could get a warning at 5 though. Brezzy to windy aross mainland sfl is whats in the cards for the moment.


2 miles from the beach in Jupiter myself.
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Quoting SFLWeatherman:
2PM going west now!
This little kink in the models is concerning for NW Bahamas and SE Fl. It's become more pronounced since yesterday. And it looks like a good slow down in that region too. YIKES
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Quoting SFLWeatherman:
SE FL!


A lot of ensembles, and the ECMWF land this in NJ
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9737
...SANDY MAKES LANDFALL IN SOUTHEASTERN JAMAICA...
3:20 PM EDT Wed Oct 24
Location: 17.9°N 76.7°W
Moving: N at 14 mph
Min pressure: 973 mb
Max sustained: 80 mph
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Quoting HurricaneKing:
SENIOR DUTY METEOROLOGIST NWS ADMINISTRATIVE MESSAGE
NWS NCEP CENTRAL OPERATIONS COLLEGE PARK MD
1813Z WED OCT 24 2012

DUE TO THE HIGH VARIABILITY IN THE FORECAST TRACK OF
HURRICANE SANDY.. SPECIAL SOUNDINGS ARE REQUESTED
BEGINNING 18Z THURSDAY 25 OCT 2012... ALL REGIONAL
DIRECTORS HAVE APPROVED THE SPECIAL SOUNDING RELEASE
SCHEDULE BELOW.. IF THERE ARE ANY QUESTIONS CONTACT YOUR
REGION OR THE SDM...

***SPECIAL 06Z/18Z SOUNDING REQUESTS***

WESTERN REGION THROUGH 12Z SATURDAY...

CENTRAL REGION THROUGH 12Z MONDAY...

EASTERN REGION THROUGH 12Z TUESDAY...

SOUTHERN REGION THROUGH 12Z TUESDAY...

--------------------------------------

THE RELEASE SCHEDULE WILL BE EVALUATED AS THE SITUATION
EVOLVES...

Not sure if that has been posted yet.

That is telling - they want to drop a BUNCH of data into the models - asking for special soundings like this is the equivalent of flying the NOAA G-4 around a storm every 12 hours.
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Storm Surge may be an issues around the Chesapeake Bay area... Ocean City, Md floods when it rains and Baltimore's harbor is only like an inch above the water in places
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Quoting ProgressivePulse:


Which model is that? Those winds seem very high.


Keep in mind no inland metro areas are under any kind of watches for now. Coastal sections could get a warning at 5 though. Brezzy to windy aross mainland sfl is whats in the cards for the moment.

Windfield expansion may cause few occasional gusts over 40-45 mph.
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Quoting AllStar17:


Which is the correct mentality at this point. Ignore some of the people on this blog who jump to conclusions at the snap of a finger or one model run.


Thats because most of the guys in this blog (including me) are weather obsessed nerds.
Member Since: October 20, 2012 Posts: 7 Comments: 2873
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 40801

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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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