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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18Z gfs INIT 25 OCT hr 006 TILL 144


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18Z gfs INIT 25 OCT hr 000 TILL 144


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Newly formed preline of front about to hit western edge of my county in C IL - quite a change coming! We hit 80 forecast low for tommorrow morning 37. Through next week - mid 50s highs, mid 30s, or lower, lows. Hope everyone in storms' path stays safe!
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Quoting bayoubug:
The ULL to WSW of Patty seems to be pumping dry air to the south a bit...The ULL is getting stronger could bring it closer to the florida coast...
She's still alive?
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Officials are still not sure how Sandy will react with this trough tonight. Even with the storm further east SEFL should remain vigilant overnight and tomorrow.

SANDY WILL
CONTINUE TO MOVE IN A NORTH DIRECTION ACROSS THE BAHAMAS TONIGHT
WITH THE TROUGH AXIS REMAINING ACROSS THE STRAITS OF FLORIDA TO
THE FLORIDA KEYS. THE MAIN CONCERN WILL FROM THIS FEATURE WILL HOW
IT INTERACTS WITH THE TROPICAL SYSTEM AND THE DIURNAL CYCLE OF
ENHANCED CONVECTION OVERNIGHT ACROSS THE GULF STREAM. THE RAPID
REFRESH DOES INDICATE SOME OF THIS ACTIVITY INTENSIFYING AROUND
MIDNIGHT BUT REMAINING OFFSHORE OF THE SOUTHEAST COAST AND THIS
TREND WILL NEED TO BARE WATCHING.
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This could be a triple phaser!
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Quoting bigwes6844:
take sum pics GRO!

I may have just caught a picture of Gro and his significant other... ;-)

Member Since: September 26, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 351
Quoting bigwes6844:
take sum pics GRO!


I don't know how to upload them from my camera.
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We're all looking ahead to what's going to happen on the East Coast in the next few days, and understandably so, but let's not forget so quickly what happened to Cuba last night. Based on some of these pictures, and some reports I've read, the damage there—particularly in Santiago de Cuba—is immense.
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what is locally considered a 1 in 100 year event is not the same as what is a 1 in 100 year event in the country, or the world. In the country it happens every year. And every month or day in the world.
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Quoting Methurricanes:
but remember a 1/100 year event is 1 kind of event that should happen in a particular place, so 1/100 year events happen a lot, just different kinds of disasters in different places.


It's probably just for public safety... winds gusting above 40 means falling palm fronds. That's a hazard! (Tongue only partially in cheek... falling big royal palm fronds can totally take you out)

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Winds are starting to pick up here... I'm starting to wonder how many pple out there who DIDn't batten up are wishing they did...

Maybe 1 in 10 or 11 people put up shutters this time, mainly ones who have premade or omnipresent ones. I have a feeling that not only did Nassuvians not expect a "real" hurricane, but they also are in large part suffering from "end of the month blues"... and payday is next week...
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Those of us in New York City and Long Island are bracing for the worst. We are rain deficient and nature always seems to create a balance when necessary, as dangerous as they may be. Please take in those Halloween decorations before they become flying missiles and brace yourself for the "Frankenstorm" of 2012!!
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Quoting Grothar:


We just took a walk on the beach. The winds are very strong and getting steadier.
take sum pics GRO!
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Quoting barbamz:


Woah, Gro, the beach at your site really doesn't look very welcoming right now.
Live stream cam
Pity, that there isn't a sound on this cam. Most be a real roar.


We just took a walk on the beach. The winds are very strong and getting steadier.
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Quoting PalmBeachWeather:
zoo............Hasn't been too bad at all just north of you.A few feeder bands but really not too much wind


Suppose to be driving up to Port St. Lucy tomorrow afternoon -- hope the weather gets better. Will check in with you in the morning -- see how the conditions are.
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Quoting zoomiami:
Nasty weather in South dade, sheets of wind and rain while driving north on the turnpike.

Sorry for those closer to the storm, but glad we aren't getting more.
zoo............Hasn't been too bad at all just north of you.A few feeder bands but really not too much wind
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Could the dry air maybe help separate Sandy from her Caribbean competition to the SE?

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Link
Maryland Prepardness Is in the link above.
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Wowww!!!!!It's really expanding
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I've been hearing some reports locally that imply that the wind field is expanding; officials from both Bimini and Grand Bahama have reported TS strength winds and heavy rains in the last couple of hours. The guy from Bimini sounded particularly concerned. I guess the impacts were not expected.

Additionally, reports from Inagua suggest that while they definitely didn't get the worst of Sandy, it was obvious Sandy was still holding its own handily as it came off Cuba. They've been without power since this morning, and a confiscated craft has sunk near the entrance to the boat basin there...
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Nasty weather in South dade, sheets of wind and rain while driving north on the turnpike.

Sorry for those closer to the storm, but glad we aren't getting more.
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Tropical Cyclone Murjan and Tropical Storm Son-tinh
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Little update on things happening in Pennsylvania preparing for Sandy...
- PennDot (Pennsylvania Dept. of Transportation) is around cleaning out storm drains and is preparing salt just in case of snow
- The mayors of some small towns have said people have to take their halloween decorations inside
- Some towns are cancelling their trick or treat times
- I just went to a local store and the employees are stocking heavily on desired items.....
- Governor Tom Corbett is expected to release a statement talking about the state's preparations and prepardness
- Also Nuclear Stations along the Susquehanna River are going over their plans for a tropical system/Nor' Easter
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Quoting oracle28:


Likewise, he has the right to ask WHY he is wishcasting for his area.

Unless you are the blog police, in which case, I apologize officer CybrTeddy.

Barometric Pressure.


Well for one, it's rude and unnecessarily hostile to open up all guns and start claiming someone wants a bad hurricane to hit them.

And for two, I have yet to earn the blog cop badge ;)
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Has anyone taken a look at the latest Marine Advisory on Sandy? It's calling for a 760-mi. gale diameter three days out (that's converted to statute miles). And it's supposed to grow larger after that!

This could give Igor a run for its money....
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Quoting RitaEvac:




You gotta be kidding me, Sandy is going to be knocking on my front door on Tuesday at 2PM
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Quoting dayrongarcia:


Still going north, I don't understand why you want a storm so bad in your area.
This storm has been beating along, twisting from NE to NW [NNE / NNW] all along. The overall motion has been slightly east of N over the last 24 hours, but a shift towards the west is expected.

You need to relax.
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

The advisory is out. Just sayin'

BULLETIN
HURRICANE SANDY ADVISORY NUMBER 14
NWS NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL AL182012
500 PM EDT THU OCT 25 2012

...SANDY NEAR CAT ISLAND IN THE CENTRAL BAHAMAS...
...WIND FIELD EXPANDING...


SUMMARY OF 500 PM EDT...2100 UTC...INFORMATION
----------------------------------------------
LOCATION...24.5N 75.6W
ABOUT 60 MI...95 KM SE OF ELEUTHERA IN THE BAHAMAS
ABOUT 125 MI...200 KM ESE OF NASSAU IN THE BAHAMAS
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...105 MPH...165 KM/H
PRESENT MOVEMENT...N OR 360 DEGREES AT 20 MPH...32 KM/H
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE...963 MB...28.44 INCHES
Interesting... it is wobbling to the west...
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Quoting weatherbro:
Call it the Hallocane!!!


LOL!

WunderGirl12
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Things are starting to change under there. This pass is almost dead even with the most recent sat frame.



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Quoting Chicklit:


So the research question becomes how many 1/100 year events have taken place in each year since say 1972?


It seems like every year we have a "1/100 year event."
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Quoting Grothar:


The cones shifted just a little west in the 5 PM run.


Woah, Gro, the beach at your site really doesn't look very welcoming right now.
Live stream cam
Pity, that there isn't a sound on this cam. Most be a real roar.
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Quoting Grothar:


The BAM models are just single trajectory models. They are not really true track forecast models. That is why they are normally quite different than the other models.
yeah good word quite different!LOL
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Call it the Hallocane '12!!!
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Quoting Methurricanes:
but remember a 1/100 year event is 1 kind of event that should happen in a particular place, so 1/100 year events happen a lot, just different kinds of disasters in different places.


So the research question becomes how many 1/100 year events have taken place in each year since say 1962?
Member Since: July 11, 2006 Posts: 14 Comments: 11208
...NOTE THAT THE TROPICAL CYCLONE WIND SPEED PROBABILITIES ARE NOT DESIGNED TO HANDLE THE TYPE OF STRUCTURAL CHANGES ANTICIPATED WITH SANDY DURING THE FORECAST PERIOD. AS A RESULT...THESE PROBABILITIES
WILL UNDERESTIMATE THE ACTUAL RISK OF STRONG WINDS AWAY FROM THE CENTER OF SANDY...

(from HURRICANE SANDY DISCUSSION NUMBER 14
NWS NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL AL182012
500 PM EDT THU OCT 25 2012) Post 653
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Murjan....

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Quoting Neapolitan:
I wouldn't worry about it; it's just coincidence. Yep, nothing but coincidence...
but remember a 1/100 year event is 1 kind of event that should happen in a particular place, so 1/100 year events happen a lot, just different kinds of disasters in different places.
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Quoting PalmBeachWeather:
Gro......I never laugh at you.I was up at 4:30 am riding my bike........ I was too tired to laugh.....Thanks Gro..Just kidding..I love you Gro
I'm sure lots of parents freekin' out here in Palm Beach county with the school closings.........
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Is it analogous to consider consider late-forecast period Sandy like one of those majorly deep & strong storms that can sometimes form from Atlantic hurricanes as they approach western Europe? It seems to me like it's one of those, except moving northwest instead of northeast.
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Quoting aprinz1979:


Is that what they call AGW now?
Yes, but only if by "they" you mean "the scientifically illiterate". ;-)

Anyway, 2012 ACE as of the 5:00PM EDT TWO:

ACE

ACE
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wind field expanding
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Quoting Dakster:
Was trying to link the cone for you... for some reason I am not getting the right link to copy..

www.nhc.noaa.gov has the cones...


The cones shifted just a little west in the 5 PM run.
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Quoting violet312s:


Check your airline, they may be offering "no fee" ticket changes.

Also keep in mind many airlines will get their planes out of harms way so expect many cancellations as they re-position them elsewhere. You'll be cutting it really close.

Yeah, good points. I'm trying to get in touch with a real person at the airline now.

Look, I have to take the blame for all this. We've been to Brazil 3 times (my wife's home.) Every time we barely make it out during a blizzard or something strange. I think it's me.
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Quoting Grothar:


Hey, Doug. How come when I was saying it this morning at 6 AM everyone was laughing at me? Don't they take me seriously? :)
Gro......I never laugh at you.I was up at 4:30 am riding my bike........ I was too tired to laugh.....Thanks Gro..Just kidding..I love you Gro
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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.