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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571. 7544
Quoting sporteguy03:

If the Nogaps is right then yeah Florida is much higher at risk for effects based on that run.


has not budge one bit on where it wants to take sandy for days
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Last comment for awhile, the Nogaps points out the scenario that was mentioned as possible by the doc. several blogs ago. I admire the NHC for not changing their track every run, and they been very good in general. Just saying looking at the Satellites in motion I can see where Nogaps gets its track from. Lastly I'm sure when all is said and done the NHC will give plenty of warning, if people are paying attention as they should be when a storm is to the south or se. Good luck to all.
Member Since: August 18, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 3112
Any bloggers on here from Jamaica? If so stay safe please!
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Quoting stormpetrol:


Never felt a thing, fortunately
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Quoting sporteguy03:

If the Nogaps is right then yeah Florida is much higher at risk for effects based on that run.
yes ive been watching that model all along..something just isnt right, the uncertainty on the NWS's part and the models as well
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 36651
Quoting clwstmchasr:


I've never researched the deforestation of Haiti. However, do you know if others countries or organizations have attempted to re-plant the forests? It would be a major project but seems necessary.


If they didn't have such a corrupt political system they would replant the mahogany.....It is a stark contrast when you stare at the DR and look at the border near Haiti....It is like night and day....
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Quoting sporteguy03:

Watch where the center passes over the Bahamas, Irene went over the Eastern Bahamas..Any deviation by Sandy west of Andros Island or near or west of Freeport going North would bring very squally conditions to Eastern Florida. That is what I am watching.


Irene was a purely tropical, tight, CAT 3. This situation "SHOULD" be a little different with Barclonic Forcing involved. All depends on when and what the interaction with the inverted trough is. If all the weather is dumped in the western semi as some of the models are indicating, it could be a very different experience. Especially if Sandy pauses/loops as the models are indicating this afternoon, some as far west as West End.
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Quoting jeffs713:


The NOGAPS has done very badly this season (for the last several seasons, actually). Its good to keep in the back of your head, but I personally don't give it much more weight than a GFS ensemble member. I follow the GFS, ECMWF, GFDL, and HWRF much more closely.


funny but the Doc mentions the Nogaps A LOT! and shall I remind you that it outperform ALL the models on Ernesto..sigh..the Nogaps just cant win for losing on this blog:)
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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)
Region
CAYMAN ISLANDS REGION
Distances
163 km (101 miles) SSW of George Town, Cayman Islands
171 km (106 miles) S of West Bay, Cayman Islands
405 km (251 miles) W of Montego Bay, Jamaica
443 km (275 miles) W of Mandeville, Jamaica
Location Uncertainty
horizontal +/- 14.6 km (9.1 miles); depth +/- 7.1 km (4.4 miles)
Parameters
NST=434, Nph=454, Dmin=730.3 km, Rmss=1.02 sec, Gp= 29°,
M-type=regional moment magnitude (Mw), Version=6
Source
Magnitude: USGS NEIC (WDCS-D)
Location: USGS NEIC (WDCS-D)
Event ID
usb000dcmr
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NAEFS at 60 hours..........
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 36651
Quoting ncstorm:


I dont like the trending to the west at all..gulp!

Nogaps has NOT falter in its path and still includes the entire east coast..this might be the model everyone should pay attention to

If the Nogaps is right then yeah Florida is much higher at risk for effects based on that run.
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Quoting SouthTampa:
I have the magic mix for long haul flights (pharmacist approved because I am a pharmacist): 4 beers, 0.5 mg Xanax and 1 Unisom (doxylamine). Too bad this is only a 2+ hr flight.


My daughter is a pharmacist...went to UNC chapel Hill and now practices in Owensboro KY
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Jamaica the roar of the storm
is yet to come
12 more hrs before its done
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 168 Comments: 53285
Quoting CybrTeddy:


Not as much as you might think for systems like this. Mountains can do far stranger things to a systems structure than weaken it. My guess is that it will weaken to 70-75mph in the passing, then strengthen to 90-100mph in the Bahamas. Not entirely sure what the NHC is thinking that it won't intensify after Cuba.

Shear is forecast to amp up as Sandy crosses Cuba, due to the incoming trough.
Member Since: August 3, 2008 Posts: 16 Comments: 5869
Quoting jeffs713:
Just take two Benadryl and put a bib on to catch your drool when you pass out.
I have the magic mix for long haul flights (pharmacist approved because I am a pharmacist): 4 beers, 0.5 mg Xanax and 1 Unisom (doxylamine). Too bad this is only a 2+ hr flight.
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Quoting ProgressivePulse:




thx wasnt much of a change if I still dont think they will upgrade our watches to warnings yet
Member Since: July 21, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1058
Quoting ncstorm:


I dont like the trending to the west at all..gulp!

Nogaps has NOT falter in its path and still includes the entire east coast..this might be the model everyone should pay attention to


The NOGAPS has done very badly this season (for the last several seasons, actually). Its good to keep in the back of your head, but I personally don't give it much more weight than a GFS ensemble member. I follow the GFS, ECMWF, GFDL, and HWRF much more closely.
Member Since: August 3, 2008 Posts: 16 Comments: 5869
Quoting pottery:

I think you need to check the History of Haiti, and not continue to believe what you have been told.
The problems in Haiti are NOT caused by the Haitian people.

It's a long story of Rape and Abuse by others.....



I never said it was the masses in Haiti...It was their leaders, there presidents....like Baby Doc....
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Quoting weatherskink:


The reduction is due to the disruption . The Sierra Maestra range is pretty imposing .


Not as much as you might think for systems like this. Mountains can do far stranger things to a systems structure than weaken it. My guess is that it will weaken to 70-75mph in the passing, then strengthen to 90-100mph in the Bahamas. Not entirely sure what the NHC is thinking that it won't intensify after Cuba.
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 23494
Quoting LargoFl:
that run sure looks like florida gets some of this storm

Watch where the center passes over the Bahamas, Irene went over the Eastern Bahamas..Any deviation by Sandy west of Andros Island or near or west of Freeport going North would bring very squally conditions to Eastern Florida. That is what I am watching.
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Quoting jeffs713:


I think y'all might get some of the outer bands, but I seriously would doubt a landfall in NC. Much better chance of a brush against OBX (brush as in 50-100 miles off the coast) while the storm is in the process of transitioning into something extratropical.

Good idea on testing the generator - generators should be tested twice per year anyway (you never know what winter may bring).



Yes i am thinking this too
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Quoting OracleDeAtlantis:
Last year, an unusual earthquake preceded hurricane Irene.

Could something similar happen this year?







nice...I never thought of that
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Quoting chrisdscane:



did the new models shift or something i had to step out for second


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Quoting ecupirate:
Crap, I guess I will go get test the generator tonight. I was really hoping that we would miss getting a hurricane this year. I don't remember getting one this late in the year for NC



Hugo was a very late storm as well....
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Member Since: July 12, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 5995
Quoting ecupirate:
Crap, I guess I will go get test the generator tonight. I was really hoping that we would miss getting a hurricane this year. I don't remember getting one this late in the year for NC


I think y'all might get some of the outer bands, but I seriously would doubt a landfall in NC. Much better chance of a brush against OBX (brush as in 50-100 miles off the coast) while the storm is in the process of transitioning into something extratropical.

Good idea on testing the generator - generators should be tested twice per year anyway (you never know what winter may bring).
Member Since: August 3, 2008 Posts: 16 Comments: 5869
Quoting stormwatcherCI:
My son-in-law is in Mandeville and has already received damage to his roof.


Higher elevations have higher wind speeds than at sea level. Landfall very soon now
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Euro, landfall on Eastern shore of VA. Pressure 939... yeah I'm definitely heading west if that occurred.
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From 1:17 pm and the Jamaican Observer online:


Sandy Gully threatens Valentine Gardens, as Sandy nears
BY KIMMO MATTHEWS

Wednesday, October 24, 2012 | 1:17 PM

KINGSTON, Jamaica — Concerns of residents along Valentine Drive, Kingston have deepened as section of the Sandy Gully that runs along their community continues to erode as a result of heavy rains.

"We concerned and just hoping and praying it won't get worse," said one resident in the area whose house hangs precariously over the eroding gully wall.


Junior Works Minister Richard Azan this morning visited the area and has assured residents that he working to put things in place to provide as much assistance to residents as possible.


Gives us an idea of how devastating this storm will be for our friends in the Kingston region of Jamaica.

Member Since: August 8, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 8712
Quoting odinslightning:


it's a friggin shame about Haiti...what a f**ked up country run by idiots and thieves for 50 years.....They had the brains of a dodo when they cut down all the mahogany and failed to replant seedlings....

Haiti reminds me of the story "The Lorax" by Dr. Seuss.....

I think you need to check the History of Haiti, and not continue to believe what you have been told.
The problems in Haiti are NOT caused by the Haitian people.

It's a long story of Rape and Abuse by others.....
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Quoting ecupirate:
Crap, I guess I will go get test the generator tonight. I was really hoping that we would miss getting a hurricane this year. I don't remember getting one this late in the year for NC


Geez no hurricane
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Quoting SouthTampa:
I've gotta fly out of TPA on Friday evening to PIT, which looks to also be on the W edge of the storm. I already don't like to fly. Time to load up on Xanax and beer!
just don't do the drinking at TPA... I tried that once and paid $13 for each lmao.

In all seriousness though, Tampa will not get much from Sandy except for a brisk NNE wind and maybe a couple of gusty showers.
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Quoting K8eCane:


NC give it to me straight up. what do you think for us?


I dont like the trending to the west at all..gulp!

Nogaps has NOT falter in its path and still includes the entire east coast..this might be the model everyone should pay attention to
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Quoting 7544:
with these new models will they up the ts watches to a warning soon for se fl tia



did the new models shift or something i had to step out for second
Member Since: July 21, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1058
Crap, I guess I will go get test the generator tonight. I was really hoping that we would miss getting a hurricane this year. I don't remember getting one this late in the year for NC
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Very close shave for Florida if the 12z ECMWF verifies.
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 23494
531. 7544
with these new models will they up the ts watches to a warning soon for se fl tia
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Prayers for Haiti and Jamaica and Cuba
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Quoting GeorgiaStormz:


The windfield will be disrupted but not too seriously, Sandy is a very big storm and wont linger over Cuba.
Wind speed reduction will be more significant than real disruption of the windfield.



The reduction is due to the disruption . The Sierra Maestra range is pretty imposing .
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Quoting kmanislander:


The North coast has very bad conditions. Received a WU mail from someone in JA. 60 MPH on the North coast, tress down. The big risk for Kingston is the eyewall. Will be a close call for that.
My son-in-law is in Mandeville and has already received damage to his roof.
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Quoting pottery:

... along with the surge as well.
Bad stuff there.
gee pottery this is awful,those poor people down there
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 36651
SEFL should not feel much from this not much rain bands past 80W and she should move nne maybe some wind
Member Since: July 21, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1058
525. 7544
all i can is wow to sandy
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Quoting burrokeet:
North-eastern party of Kingston (Barbican) still very quiet - on and off rain, with an occasional moderate gust

Strange since I am hearing that St. Mary and Portland (both on the northern side of the island) are getting battered - I would have thought we were first in line


They have the strong onshore flow from the NE. The South side will get hit hard when the eye comes ashore in the next 2 hours.
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The new Euro stays stronger inland too, weakens at the great lakes still however ,faster than the GFS and appears to still hit near NYC

It corrected intensity a tad, but not by much....
will still probably have a better pull on the cold air than the previous run.
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9718
NC looks to be in played according to the latest model runs
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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.