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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NC looks to be in played according to the latest model runs
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Quoting ncstorm:
934mb on the coast of NC per the Euro
12z GFS is farther west

Yeah sunshine and roses over here..





that run sure looks like florida gets some of this storm
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 42267
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 take two Benadryl and put a bib on to catch your drool when you pass out.
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Quoting ncstorm:
934mb on the coast of NC per the Euro
12z GFS is farther west

Yeah sunshine and roses over here..







NC give it to me straight up. what do you think for us?
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Go to Chat!!
Member Since: May 23, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 4984
That eye wall, per the most recent floater loop, looks like it is headed right towards Kingston.

Link
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She looks to be onshore now, I imagine unfortunately some my be in for a rude surprise by the south side of this storm.
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934mb on the coast of NC per the Euro
12z GFS is farther west

Yeah sunshine and roses over here..





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Last year, an unusual earthquake preceded hurricane Irene.

Could something similar happen this year?





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Euro is stronger earlier on, but is closest to florida more towards jacksonville than miami compared to the previous run.

Its landfall is closer to 940mbs than 930mb, so this might be the beginning of correcting the overdeepening.
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9760
going to be some massive beach erosion on the east coast beaches.........
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 42267
Quoting tropicfreak:
Hoping that Sandy stays away from central VA....not liking the looks of it at all though.

Also, the persistence of these really cold cloud tops over the past day or so has really amazed me. Those thunderstorms have never really waned.


Concerned for Haiti too, with that set-up.
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Quoting CloudGatherer:
Northeastern building codes are actually fairly good these days - fully capable of absorbing the winds a system like this would bring. The issue isn't buildings designed to code over the past few decades. It's that much of the building stock is significantly older. There are structures that are poorly maintained, or which were modified in ways that didn't preserve their designed strength. In Florida and on the Gulf Coast, such structures are regularly tested by strong systems. That's a little less common in the northeast, and when a really strong system hits, it may have more of an impact.

But it's not structural failure that I'm worried about.

The real damage will come in two other ways - surge flooding, and power outages. It doesn't much matter how strong your columns are, or what the designed wind loads might be, if there are six feet of water in your lobby. And the northeastern coast is extremely vulnerable to storm surge flooding. The other issue is that our strongest storms tend to be wintertime nor'easters. They hit after the leaves have fallen off the trees. If Sandy pays us a visit, though, it'll hit while we're at peak autumn foliage. Very pretty, but the leaves are mostly still attached. And that'll bring down powerlines across an enormous region, and take weeks to fully restore power.



yah don't get me wrong i'm not talking about severe wind racking and partial/full collapse of all structures, I am speaking in terms of total number of claims and the average bell curve dollar amount of a loss. shingles are not nailed down with as many nails, and thats just the tip of the iceberg.

i strongly agree with your statement about the age of buildings....i can't tell you how many losses I handled in Irene that were actually original Sears & Roebuck kit houses built at the turn of the 20th century.....

and your right, with the number of trees in the New England states there will be a TON of downed trees....They all love the trees up there, and I can't blame em.....the smell of the sugar maples is incredible, to say the least.....
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Quoting LargoFl:
wow look at those waves..does that come crashing ashore when the eye hits?.........................

... along with the surge as well.
Bad stuff there.
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Hoping that Sandy stays away from central VA....not liking the looks of it at all though.

Also, the persistence of these really cold cloud tops over the past day or so has really amazed me. Those thunderstorms have never really waned.

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Quoting nigel20:
There are reports of damage roofs, downed power lines and fallen trees in Portland (eastern Jamaica)

Sorry to hear that....

Probably the heaviest rains are not there yet, so brace for that.
Sounds rough on the North coast.
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wow look at those waves..does that come crashing ashore when the eye hits?.........................
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 42267
Latest 12z CMC is equally as disturbing as the last GFS:



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503. eddye
ppl come join us in tropics chat 2 talk about sandy
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Quoting stormwatcherCI:
I think they will get the worst of it once the eye pulls north of them.


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.
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T.C.F.W
18L/TS/S/CX
MARK
17.25N/76.83W
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Well I'll be the first to say the NHC has done a fine job this year, but I still see a high pressure coming of the se coast, before the trough that Sandy will either be merged with or repelled by. If you put the Eastern US water vapor loop in motion at the NHC, you will see what I am speaking of. To me it shows the reason behind the little hiccup in motion that the last GFS in motion showed around the northern Bahamas.These motions are very hard to predict, if they occur.
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Quoting Grothar:


I am sure the east coast will get plenty of high winds and rain. With the pressure gradient, even the west coast should feel very strong winds.
..yeah we'll see what happens, thursday night the models should be better at where she is going to go..
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 42267
Quoting Grothar:


I am sure the east coast will get plenty of high winds and rain. With the pressure gradient, even the west coast should feel very strong winds.
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!
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Quoting kmanislander:


The eye will be ashore in about 2 hours.
I think they will get the worst of it once the eye pulls north of them.
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There are reports of damage roofs, downed power lines and fallen trees in Portland (eastern Jamaica)
Member Since: November 6, 2010 Posts: 12 Comments: 8489
Quoting SFLWeatherman:
12Z ECMWF looks even FURTHER WEST than its previous run through 96 hours

I just have this real Bad feeling florida wise, yeah i know, but just the same, till this is off georgia im not taking my eyes off sandy, each new model run comes lil closer
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 42267
Quoting stormwatcherCI:
Just make sure you stay safe.


The eye will be ashore in about 2 hours.
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Quoting CoopsWife:
Plenty of us (even recent Southern transplants like me) in Southern New England are paying attention. With so many working boats (ie, livelihood) folks up here on the coast pay closer attention to the weather than you might think.

That being said - yes, our coastal homes are built more for a N'orEaster than those inland are, but by the same token, a lot of them have made it through many a storm. On Aquidneck Island about 85% of our housing is pre 1940. And about 40% of our housing is pre 1900. So they have weathered a few storms.

Still - it's good to be aware, even a week out. And getting the summer furniture put away a week or so early won't hurt a bit. :)
stay safe up there and real glad your informed
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 42267
Quoting weatherskink:


It'll be interesting to see the evolution from it's E Cuba disruption and transition . To me , the wind field looks like it could be seriously disrupted with the topography of E Cuba on it's current course .


Actually, the wind field will probably expand exponentially due to the land interaction.
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 24580
Quoting odinslightning:



thats just the half of it....on the Gulf Coast we follow Miami/Dade county building codes and regulations, which are twice if not three times as stringent as building code in the Northeast....The northeast building code is stringent when it comes to installing Ice and Water Shield, but they dont build nearly as strong as we do....

a cat 2 in the Northeast corridor can cause as much damage as a very strong cat 3 to minor cat 4 down here....


everyone in the northeast needs to be aware of the situation...dont evac yet, dont panic, but be prepared to get prepared.....

the worst case scenario is everyone blows this off thinking Irene was an overhyped situation last year.....Most people (as to be expected) have no idea about weather and variables like we do and most of them have no idea that it was the Texas High across the entire state of Florida that saved them.....This time, no dry air like last year.....
Northeastern building codes are actually fairly good these days - fully capable of absorbing the winds a system like this would bring. The issue isn't buildings designed to code over the past few decades. It's that much of the building stock is significantly older. There are structures that are poorly maintained, or which were modified in ways that didn't preserve their designed strength. In Florida and on the Gulf Coast, such structures are regularly tested by strong systems. That's a little less common in the northeast, and when a really strong system hits, it may have more of an impact.

But it's not structural failure that I'm worried about.

The real damage will come in two other ways - surge flooding, and power outages. It doesn't much matter how strong your columns are, or what the designed wind loads might be, if there are six feet of water in your lobby. And the northeastern coast is extremely vulnerable to storm surge flooding. The other issue is that our strongest storms tend to be wintertime nor'easters. They hit after the leaves have fallen off the trees. If Sandy pays us a visit, though, it'll hit while we're at peak autumn foliage. Very pretty, but the leaves are mostly still attached. And that'll bring down powerlines across an enormous region, and take weeks to fully restore power.
Member Since: August 18, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 460
12Z ECMWF looks even FURTHER WEST than its previous run through 96 hours

Member Since: May 23, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 4984
Quoting nigel20:

It has gotten really dark. Still no wind, but that should change soon.
Just make sure you stay safe.
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Quoting CybrTeddy:


Bingo, that's my thoughts exactly. As a system traverses land, we see systems 'jump' or 'jerk' around due to the land interaction. That could play a huge role with in the future track of Sandy.

In this case, she may bump to the right (east) instead, as it is the path of least resistance. Doesn't make sense to bump left, into the mountains.
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Quoting seer2012:
Possible left turn reaction caused by interaction with the land mass and may happen again over Cuba,IMO


Bingo, that's my thoughts exactly. As a system traverses land, we see systems 'jump' or 'jerk' around due to the land interaction. That could play a huge role with in the future track of Sandy.
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 24580
Quoting JerseyCapewxguy:



If this thing moves inland in Delware, that would be a doomsday scenario for the Jersey coast. Not that I'd want anyone else to have to endure this, but people along the NJ coast better hope this thing goes inland north of New Jersey, thus giving the New Jersey coast an off-shore wind component.


If this goes onshore north of new jersey, it either hits Long Island, Cape Cod, or New Hamphire( as the GFS is showing).

The New Hampshire scenario brings plenty of snow, maybe even an inch to NJ, and the other scenario's depend on how late Sandy comes to give it time to pull the cold air out of Canada, and how strong the pull is(dependend on how strong the storm is)
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9760
Quoting Seflhurricane:
everything remains the same except we now have a due north motion no more nne
Possible left turn reaction caused by interaction with the land mass and may happen again over Cuba,IMO
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Quoting Grothar:



Awful scenario for NJ right there...

Almost certainly record tidal flooding if that scenario panned out.
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Quoting stormwatcherCI:
I hope so. He went down to put some finishing touches on his house and now worried about damage> I told him it is better the house get damage than he lose his life.

It has gotten really dark. Still no wind, but that should change soon.
Member Since: November 6, 2010 Posts: 12 Comments: 8489
At what time does the next HH depart?
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481. flsky
Soaked Jamaica braces for Hurricane Sandy
Link
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Plenty of us (even recent Southern transplants like me) in Southern New England are paying attention. With so many working boats (ie, livelihood) folks up here on the coast pay closer attention to the weather than you might think.

That being said - yes, our coastal homes are built more for a N'orEaster than those inland are, but by the same token, a lot of them have made it through many a storm. On Aquidneck Island about 85% of our housing is pre 1940. And about 40% of our housing is pre 1900. So they have weathered a few storms.

Still - it's good to be aware, even a week out. And getting the summer furniture put away a week or so early won't hurt a bit. :)
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Quoting Abacosurf:
The North Atlantic low is also getting pushed west and closer to the US. Helping to push Sandy into mid Atl.

Delaware is my guess.



If this thing moves inland in Delaware, that would be a doomsday scenario for the Jersey coast. Not that I'd want anyone else to have to endure this, but people along the NJ coast better hope this thing goes inland north of New Jersey, thus giving the New Jersey coast an off-shore wind component.
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478. MTWX
Weather for Jamaica
CitiesPlace Alerts Temp. Humidity Pressure Conditions Wind Updated
Kingston 79 °F 94% 28.97 in Heavy Rain NE at 26 mph 1:00 PM EST Save
Montego Bay 79 °F 83% 29.56 in Light Showers Rain East at 32 mph 10:00 AM EST Save
Morant Point 79 °F 94% 28.97 in Heavy Rain NE at 26 mph 1:00 PM EST Save
Negril Point 76.8 °F 87% 29.56 in Light Showers Rain South at 8.0 mph 1:07 PM EST Save
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Quoting nigel20:

hopefully he'll be safe.
I hope so. He went down to put some finishing touches on his house and now worried about damage> I told him it is better the house get damage than he lose his life.
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Link
streaming of current conditions in Jamaica
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The final track/adjustments are going to be a little difficult to nail down until after the storm re-emerges North of Cuba. Looking at the latest loops, any wobbles to the left would give the core less time over water (and more time over Jamaica and then Cuba) disrupting the circulation and depth of the storm as it moves into the Bahamas. That current 5-Day track might look a lot different downstream in 24 hours.

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Quoting weatherskink:


It'll be interesting to see the evolution from it's E Cuba disruption and transition . To me , the wind field looks like it could be seriously disrupted with the topography of E Cuba on it's current course .


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.

Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9760
Quoting CloudGatherer:
The absolute worst-case scenario for this storm - in terms of economic impact and damage - is that it slams into the densely-populated DC-NYC-BOS megalopolis. And when emergency response managers run their simulations, they always have an imaginary storm making landfall during an astronomical high-tide. Well, if the model runs materialize, that's just exactly what we're going to get.

Take, for example, Long Island. In 1938, when the Long Island Express slammed into its shore, Nassau and Suffolk Counties held about 600,000 people. Today, their combined population is closer to 2.7 million - and much of the growth has come in the shore areas. The high tide will be 9.8ft on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. If a Category 2 storm were to hit, Montauk would be an island - as it was in '38 - and at least a hundred thousand people would fine their homes flooded. If it were the sort of broad, very low pressure Cat 2 that the models are showing, then the impact might be far more severe.

And that's just Long Island. Go anywhere along that corridor, and the story's the same. The northeastern shoreline bristles with development, like an overgrown hedge that hasn't been pruned in decades. I hope this thing blows out to sea. Because sooner or later, a strong hurricane will again make landfall in the northeast. And it's not going to be pretty.



thats just the half of it....on the Gulf Coast we follow Miami/Dade county building codes and regulations, which are twice if not three times as stringent as building code in the Northeast....The northeast building code is stringent when it comes to installing Ice and Water Shield, but they dont build nearly as strong as we do....

a cat 2 in the Northeast corridor can cause as much damage as a very strong cat 3 to minor cat 4 down here....


everyone in the northeast needs to be aware of the situation...dont evac yet, dont panic, but be prepared to get prepared.....

the worst case scenario is everyone blows this off thinking Irene was an overhyped situation last year.....Most people (as to be expected) have no idea about weather and variables like we do and most of them have no idea that it was the Texas High across the entire state of Florida that saved them.....This time, no dry air like last year.....
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Quoting Grothar:


Most likely not a Hurricane again, but I expect the windfield to increase in size. When these storms mix with baroclinic lows, they can still be very powerful.


It'll be interesting to see the evolution from it's E Cuba disruption and transition . To me , the wind field looks like it could be seriously disrupted with the topography of E Cuba on it's current course .
Member Since: September 3, 2004 Posts: 0 Comments: 99
Quoting LargoFl:
GRO with every model run i think we in florida are going to feel this storm in some shape or form,NWS has adjusted the warnings for east coast for possible tropical storm force winds..tomorrow might be stronger wording, me im getting ready, just in case..cant hurt any


I am sure the east coast will get plenty of high winds and rain. With the pressure gradient, even the west coast should feel very strong winds.
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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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