Sandy slams Cuba, intensifies over the Bahamas

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:39 PM GMT on October 25, 2012

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Hurricane Sandy shrugged off wind shear of 20 knots and passage over the southeastern tip of Jamaica yesterday afternoon, explosively deepening into a top-end Category 2 hurricane with 110 mph winds. Sandy made landfall in Southeastern Cuba around 1 am EDT this morning near Santiago de Cuba, which experienced sustained winds of 78 mph, gusting to 114 mph. Winds at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba peaked at 58 mph, gusting to 72 mph, at 3 am local time this morning, and the base received 3.51" of rain from Sandy as of 8 am EDT this morning. Punta Lucrecia, Cuba on the north coast of Cuba received 8.42" of rain from Sandy as of 8 am EDT. Cuban state media is reporting that one person was killed on Cuba, and damage was heavy, with thousands of homes damaged or destroyed. Damage was also substantial on Jamaica, where one person was killed, and power was knocked out for 70% of the island's residents. One death has been reported in Haiti due to flooding.

Sandy survived the crossing of Cuba's high mountains with its inner core relatively intact, and is now re-intensifying over the warm waters of the Central Bahama Islands. The latest 9:30 am center fix from the Hurricane Hunters found a central pressure of 965 mb, down 3 mb in 1.5 hours. The eye is intermittently visible on satellite loops, and Sandy appears to be holding its own against the high 30 knots of wind shear affecting it.


Figure 1. Hurricane Sandy approaching landfall in Southeast Cuba as seen by Cuban radar at 10:15 pm EDT Wednesday, October 24, 2012. Image credit: Cuban Institute of Meteorology.


Figure 2. Morning satellite image of Sandy.

Forecast for Sandy
Wind shear is expected to rise to 40 - 55 knots by Friday, as Sandy interacts with a trough of low pressure to its west. The high shear should disrupt Sandy's inner core and reduce the maximum winds. However, the trough will also inject energy into Sandy, and the hurricane's winds will spread out over a wider area of ocean, keeping the storm surge threat high. This large wind field will likely drive a storm surge of 5 - 8 feet in the Bahamas. Sandy will make its closest pass by Nassau around 8 am EDT Friday.

The latest set of 00Z (8 pm EDT) and 06Z (2 am EDT) computer model runs are in substantial agreement for the next 3 days, but Sandy's future is as clear as mud after that. Sandy will continue to punish the Bahamas today and Friday, as it tracks north to north-northwest. Sandy will probably come close enough to the Southeast U.S. on Saturday afternoon to spread heavy rains to the coasts of South Carolina and North Carolina. However, the 4 - 6 day computer model forecasts for Sunday - Tuesday diverge widely. The GFS model, which has been one of our two top models for predicting hurricane tracks the past two years, has been very inconsistent with its handling of Sandy. Runs of the GFS model done 6 hours apart, at 8 pm last night and 2 am EDT this morning, were 300 miles apart in their position for Sandy on Tuesday, with the latest run predicting a landfall in Maine on Wednesday morning. On the other hand, the ECMWF model, our other top model for predicting hurricane tracks, has been very consistent in its handling of Sandy. The ECMWF model has Sandy hitting Delaware on Monday afternoon, the same forecast it has had for three consecutive runs. The other models tend to follow one extreme or the other, and NHC is picking a solution somewhere in the middle of these two extremes. An extra set of balloon-borne radiosondes is going to be launched at 2 pm EDT Thursday all across the U.S., which should help this evening's model runs. Extra radiosondes will be launched every 6 hours through Saturday afternoon.


Figure 3. This Maximum Water Depth storm surge image for the Bahamas shows the worst-case inundation scenarios for a Category 2 hurricane with 105 mph winds, as predicted using dozens of runs of NOAA's SLOSH model. For example, if you are inland at an elevation of ten feet above mean sea level, and the combined storm surge and tide (the "storm tide") is fifteen feet at your location, the water depth image will show five feet of inundation. No single storm will be able to cause the level of flooding depicted in this image. Sandy's maximum storm surge may reach levels portrayed in this image for some islands in the Bahamas. See wunderground's storm surge pages for more storm surge info.

The Northeast U.S. scenario
If Sandy makes landfall farther to the north near Maine and Nova Scotia, heavy rains will be the main threat, since the cold waters will weaken the storm significantly before landfall. The trees have fewer leaves farther to the north, which will reduce the amount of tree damage and power failures compared to a more southerly track. However, given that ocean temperatures along the Northeast U.S. coast are about 5°F above average, there will be an unusually large amount of water vapor available to make heavy rain. If the trough of low pressure approaching the East Coast taps into the large reservoir of cold air over Canada and pulls down a significant amount of Arctic air, the potential exists for the unusually moist air from Sandy to collide with this cold air from Canada and unleash the heaviest October rains ever recorded in the Northeast U.S., Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick. This Northeast U.S. scenario would probably cause damages near $100 million dollars.

The mid-Atlantic U.S. scenario
Landfall Monday along the mid-Atlantic coast on Monday, as predicted by the ECMWF and NOGAPS models, would likely be a billion-dollar disaster. In this scenario, Sandy would be able to bring sustained winds near hurricane force over a wide stretch of heavily populated coast, causing massive power outages, as trees still in leaf fall and take out power lines. Sandy is expected to have tropical storm-force winds that extend out more than 300 miles from the center, which will drive a much larger storm surge than its winds would ordinarily suggest. The full moon is on Monday, which means astronomical tides will be at their peak for the month, increasing potential storm surge flooding. Fresh water flooding from heavy rains would also be a huge concern. Given the ECMWF's consistent handling of Sandy, I believe this mid-Atlantic scenario has a higher probability of occurring than the Northeast U.S. scenario. However, it is likely that the models are overdoing the strength of Sandy at landfall. The models have trouble handling the transition from tropical storm to extratropical storm in these type of situations, and I expect that the 940 mb central pressure of Sandy predicted at landfall Monday in Delaware by the ECMWF model is substantially overdone.

Jeff Masters

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Quoting Huskymaniac:
Can anyone explain why the models posted on this site don't include ECMWF if that is supposed to be so good?



not sure but I know a lot of them dont.
WU maps and models has the best and most detailed ECMWF for free....not sure why the euro track isnt in the model plots though.
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This may have been posted already, but saw Dr. Jeff quoted on foxnews.com. This little site has come such a long way!
NE Fl is blustery and looks like we'll stay that way for a couple of days. Stay safe out there y'all.
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It's alive!

It's FRANKENSTORM!
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They also have some video, so you can see famed met Basil Dean for yourself...
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 20 Comments: 23982
Quoting CosmicEvents:
My old neck of the woods.
Any shot you could stop into Raay-Noor's and ship down some chicken and salad dressing before the storm hits?


Oh sure, no problem! Or how about a burger from All American in Massapequa? lol
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Member Since: May 23, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 5128
This is one day when I miss our radar here in Nassau....
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 20 Comments: 23982
Quoting skycycle:
Can anyone share good webcams from the Bahamas that we might take a look at? How do you think the islands will cope with Sandy?
You can listen to ZNS radio online. Broadcasters there are giving updates and taking calls from island administrators and residents throughout the island.

Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 20 Comments: 23982
Quoting guyjr:
I wonder if the damage estimate due to trees with leaves still attached is a bit overdone? This year, the leaves have been falling about two weeks ahead of where they were last year, due to the early spring we had up here in NJ. I distinctly remember last year's foliage filled trees during the blizzard, and this year a lot of those trees were rapidly shedding their leaves as of last weekend.


Of course the combination of heavy rains and high winds may make that all a moot point.
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Quoting stormchaser19:


What a ending of the season 2012 sandy is doing


lots will be done yet
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Quoting longislander102:


Hello! I am just north of Sunrise Highway on the Nassau/Suffolk border. Just far enough away from any direct coastal flooding.

Good luck with the boat!
My old neck of the woods.
Any shot you could stop into Raay-Noor's and ship down some chicken and salad dressing before the storm hits?
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Quoting bourgeoisdude:


I don't think they allow other sites to use that model's data. You can only get it directly from their site.


Ummmmm, ECWMF is avalible on the Wundermap
Member Since: October 20, 2012 Posts: 7 Comments: 3071
000
WTNT33 KNHC 251747
TCPAT3

BULLETIN
HURRICANE SANDY INTERMEDIATE ADVISORY NUMBER 13A
NWS NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL AL182012
200 PM EDT THU OCT 25 2012

...CENTER OF SANDY MOVING BETWEEN LONG ISLAND AND GREAT EXUMA...


SUMMARY OF 200 PM EDT...1800 UTC...INFORMATION
----------------------------------------------
LOCATION...23.5N 75.4W
ABOUT 25 MI...40 KM E OF GREAT EXUMA ISLAND
ABOUT 125 MI...200 KM SE OF ELEUTHERA
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...105 MPH...165 KM/H
PRESENT MOVEMENT...N OR 5 DEGREES AT 20 MPH...32 KM/H
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE...963 MB...28.44 INCHES


WATCHES AND WARNINGS
--------------------
CHANGES WITH THIS ADVISORY...

NONE

SUMMARY OF WATCHES AND WARNINGS IN EFFECT...

A HURRICANE WARNING IS IN EFFECT FOR...
* THE RAGGED ISLANDS IN THE SOUTHEASTERN BAHAMAS
* THE CENTRAL BAHAMAS
* THE NORTHWESTERN BAHAMAS

A TROPICAL STORM WARNING IS IN EFFECT FOR...
* FLORIDA EAST COAST FROM OCEAN REEF TO FLAGLER BEACH
* LAKE OKEECHOBEE
* THE REMAINDER OF THE SOUTHEASTERN BAHAMAS

A TROPICAL STORM WATCH IS IN EFFECT FOR...
* FLORIDA EAST COAST FROM NORTH OF FLAGLER BEACH TO FERNANDINA BEACH
* FLORIDA UPPER KEYS FROM OCEAN REEF TO CRAIG KEY
* FLORIDA BAY

INTERESTS ELSEWHERE ALONG THE EAST COAST OF THE UNITED STATES SHOULD
MONITOR THE PROGRESS OF SANDY.

A HURRICANE WARNING MEANS THAT HURRICANE CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED
SOMEWHERE WITHIN THE WARNING AREA. PREPARATIONS TO PROTECT LIFE AND
PROPERTY SHOULD BE RUSHED TO COMPLETION.

A TROPICAL STORM WARNING MEANS THAT TROPICAL STORM CONDITIONS ARE
EXPECTED SOMEWHERE WITHIN THE WARNING AREA.

A TROPICAL STORM WATCH MEANS THAT TROPICAL STORM CONDITIONS ARE
POSSIBLE WITHIN THE WATCH AREA.

FOR STORM INFORMATION SPECIFIC TO YOUR AREA IN THE UNITED
STATES...INCLUDING POSSIBLE INLAND WATCHES AND WARNINGS...PLEASE
MONITOR PRODUCTS ISSUED BY YOUR LOCAL NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE
FORECAST OFFICE. FOR STORM INFORMATION SPECIFIC TO YOUR AREA OUTSIDE
THE UNITED STATES...PLEASE MONITOR PRODUCTS ISSUED BY YOUR NATIONAL
METEOROLOGICAL SERVICE.


DISCUSSION AND 48-HOUR OUTLOOK
------------------------------
AT 200 PM EDT...1800 UTC...THE CENTER OF HURRICANE SANDY WAS
LOCATED NEAR LATITUDE 23.5 NORTH...LONGITUDE 75.4 WEST. SANDY IS
MOVING TOWARD THE NORTH NEAR 20 MPH...32 KM/H...AND THIS MOTION IS
EXPECTED TO CONTINUE TODAY. A TURN TOWARD THE NORTH-NORTHWEST AND A
DECREASE IN FORWARD SPEED ARE EXPECTED TONIGHT. ON THE FORECAST
TRACK...THE CENTER OF SANDY WILL CONTINUE MOVING THROUGH THE CENTRAL
BAHAMAS TODAY AND TONIGHT AND MOVE NEAR THE NORTHWESTERN BAHAMAS ON
FRIDAY.

MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS REMAIN NEAR 105 MPH...165 KM/H...WITH HIGHER
GUSTS. SANDY IS A CATEGORY TWO HURRICANE ON THE SAFFIR-SIMPSON
HURRICANE WIND SCALE. SOME WEAKENING IS FORECAST DURING THE NEXT 48
HOURS...BUT SANDY IS EXPECTED TO REMAIN A HURRICANE AS IT MOVES
THROUGH THE BAHAMAS.

HURRICANE FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO 30 MILES...45 KM...FROM
THE CENTER...AND TROPICAL STORM FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO 205
MILES...335 KM. ELEUTHERA IN THE BAHAMAS RECENTLY REPORTED A
SUSTAINED WIND OF 39 MPH...63 KM/H.

THE LATEST MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE REPORTED BY AN AIR FORCE RESERVE
HURRICANE HUNTER AIRCRAFT IS 963 MB...28.44 INCHES.


HAZARDS AFFECTING LAND
----------------------
WIND...HURRICANE CONDITIONS WILL CONTINUE SPREADING ACROSS THE
CENTRAL THIS AFTERNOON...AND ARE EXPECTED TO REACH THE NORTHWESTERN
BAHAMAS TONIGHT AND FRIDAY. TROPICAL STORM CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED
TO REACH THE WARNING AREA ALONG THE EAST COAST OF FLORIDA LATER
TODAY AND SPREAD NORTHWARD THROUGH FRIDAY. TROPICAL STORM
CONDITIONS ARE POSSIBLE IN THE WATCH AREA FRIDAY NIGHT. WINDS WILL
GRADUALLY SUBSIDE OVER EASTERN CUBA THIS AFTERNOON.

RAINFALL...SANDY IS EXPECTED TO PRODUCE TOTAL RAINFALL AMOUNTS OF
6 TO 12 INCHES ACROSS HAITI AND THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC...WITH
ISOLATED MAXIMUM AMOUNTS OF 20 INCHES POSSIBLE. THESE RAINS MAY
PRODUCE LIFE-THREATENING FLASH FLOODS AND MUD SLIDES...ESPECIALLY
IN AREAS OF MOUNTAINOUS TERRAIN. RAINFALL TOTALS OF 3 TO 6 INCHES
ARE EXPECTED OVER PORTIONS OF THE BAHAMAS...WITH ISOLATED MAXIMUM
AMOUNTS OF 12 INCHES POSSIBLE. RAINFALL TOTALS OF 1 TO 3 INCHES ARE
POSSIBLE ACROSS THE FLORIDA KEYS INTO SOUTHEAST AND EAST-CENTRAL
FLORIDA.

STORM SURGE...THE COMBINATION OF A DANGEROUS STORM SURGE AND THE
TIDE WILL CAUSE NORMALLY DRY AREAS NEAR THE COAST TO BE FLOODED BY
RISING WATERS. THE WATER COULD REACH THE FOLLOWING DEPTHS ABOVE
GROUND IF THE PEAK SURGE OCCURS AT THE TIME OF HIGH TIDE...

HURRICANE WARNING AREA IN THE BAHAMAS...5 TO 8 FT
FLORIDA COAST WITHIN WARNING AREA...1 TO 2 FT

SURGE-RELATED FLOODING DEPENDS ON THE RELATIVE TIMING OF THE SURGE
AND THE TIDAL CYCLE...AND CAN VARY GREATLY OVER SHORT DISTANCES.
FOR INFORMATION SPECIFIC TO YOUR AREA...PLEASE SEE PRODUCTS ISSUED
BY YOUR LOCAL WEATHER OFFICE.

WATER LEVELS WILL BEGIN TO SUBSIDE IN CUBA AND JAMAICA THIS
AFTERNOON.


NEXT ADVISORY
-------------
NEXT COMPLETE ADVISORY...500 PM EDT.

$$
FORECASTER BRENNAN
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Quoting Huskymaniac:
Can anyone explain why the models posted on this site don't include ECMWF if that is supposed to be so good?


I don't think they allow other sites to use that model's data. You can only get it directly from their site.
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330. JLPR2
Quoting JRRP:

ese lleva turbonadas... tengan cuidado aqui en santo domingo sopla una brisa fuerte


Its been breezy and cloudy with gusts to 20mph, impressive for a storm so far away. If that band moves over us then I guess many will wonder if the storm moved east. XD
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Quoting BahaHurican:
Ah... it is really good to see some more Bahamians in the blog today!


Oh, no, sorry, Long Island in New York State. LOL
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328. JRRP
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Quoting AVL:
Some Earl Gray and storm watching. Could it be better? Maybe?


Add a maple clove cookie.
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Quoting WXMichael:
I hadn't noticed, but on the water vapor image, there is a low west of Sandy.


Water Vapor Loop

Can see the dry air creeping in when its in motion. Sucked the moisture out of the southwestern part of the storm. I understand now what is moving it more north northwest.

Lindsey Link


It appears that as Sandy moves more North the Dry air tends to stay on the other side of Cuba's mountains.
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Can anyone explain why the models posted on this site don't include ECMWF if that is supposed to be so good?
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Quoting longislander102:


Hello! I am just north of Sunrise Highway on the Nassau/Suffolk border. Just far enough away from any direct coastal flooding.

Good luck with the boat!
Ah... it is really good to see some more Bahamians in the blog today!

LOL.....
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 20 Comments: 23982
Quoting SFLWeatherman:
If you're wondering about how this compares to Irene last year, heres the forecast for Sandy and last years track of Irene. Sandy is expected to stay 200 miles away, Irene was 180 miles off shore...


Great Post - Do you have a link, or can you post the Northern part too? TIA
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Hurricane force winds in Ragged Island, Exuma and Long Island are currently being reported.

Power is off in Exuma. The ZNS reporter is reporting 85+ mph winds in the area, and earlier reports stated that conditions in Long Island are quickly deteriorating.

Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 20 Comments: 23982
318. JRRP
Quoting JLPR2:


Yikes! Zoinks! XD
If that holds together then PR could feel Sandy more than Rafael.

ese lleva turbonadas... tengan cuidado aqui en santo domingo sopla una brisa fuerte
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Quoting Gearsts:
I live in Aguadilla :O


if the moisture stream gets between the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, that would help Sandy and the Dominican Republic...Also its a lot easier to get moisure over Puerto Rico than Hispaniola.
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Has anyone noticed that it looks like the center has gone from the lower third of Long Island to just north of the southern tip of Great Exuma? If so, this is a turn to the NW (like in the direction of 10 o'clock)...similar to the direction of this slash \.
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314. JLPR2
Quoting Gearsts:
I live in Aguadilla :O


Yikes! Zoinks! XD
If that holds together then PR could feel Sandy more than Rafael.
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I hadn't noticed, but on the water vapor image, there is a low west of Sandy.


Water Vapor Loop

Can see the dry air creeping in when its in motion. Sucked the moisture out of the southwestern part of the storm. I understand now what is moving it more north northwest.

Lindsey Link
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Quoting SFLWeatherman:
If you're wondering about how this compares to Irene last year, heres the forecast for Sandy and last years track of Irene. Sandy is expected to stay 200 miles away, Irene was 180 miles off shore...


Thanks for that info..
I'm curious about comparative wind fields between the 2 at that point..
20 Miles difference isn't very much in positioning .. :)
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I just heard from a friend of mine who was very thankful that Palm Beach County decided to close school 3 hours early today and all day tomorrow. Apparently on the way home from school a gust of wind messed up her daughter's hair. There's no telling how messy it would have been if they left 3 hours later!!
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Quoting stormchaser19:


What a ending of the season 2012 sandy is doing
be careful we still have a ways to go yet before its officially closed, remember just a week or so ago..folks were saying the season was over..now look what we got lol
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308. JRRP
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I live in Aguadilla :O
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Quoting TXCWC:
Map from Crownweather site showing current NHC forecast
i can just imagine, having grown up there..for 86mph wind gusts blowing thru the concrete and steel canyons there, wow
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Quoting LargoFl:
this storm is amazing,really is, supposed to get weaker and she gets stronger


What a ending of the season 2012 sandy is doing
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If you're wondering about how this compares to Irene last year, heres the forecast for Sandy and last years track of Irene. Sandy is expected to stay 200 miles away, Irene was 180 miles off shore...
Member Since: May 23, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 5128
Member Since: July 11, 2006 Posts: 14 Comments: 11501
Quoting SFLWeatherman:
958MB now!!!
this storm is amazing,really is, supposed to get weaker and she gets stronger
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New EURO should be out soon, interested to see what that may show since the GFS seems to be coming around
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Quoting Chicklit:

I think that trough on the west side is feeding her and the ridge is suppose to lift out/weaken.


That's my understanding too Chicklit..
I think timing is our issue now..and then..??
Very interesting to watch this play out.. :)
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lower convergence


upper divergence
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Quoting flsky:
I was just asked to be on standby for a FEMA declaration in NY!
good luck up there
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296. 7544
cloud deck expanding now to over west of andros island hmmm
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Dr. Masters co-founded wunderground in 1995. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990. Co-blogging with him: Bob Henson, @bhensonweather

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