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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ZNS reports they've lost contact with Ragged Island.
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 22872
Quoting Patrap:
12z Late Cycle NHC model tracks

Sandy

Dynamic Models (More sophisticated models)



Looks like that shallow recurve with the backbending into the NEUS is looking more and more likely it seems.
Member Since: August 2, 2006 Posts: 47 Comments: 11859
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 46345
Hurricane Sandy,

RGB Loop

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 431 Comments: 131960
Quoting LargoFl:
Hiya Pat how's the puppies?


Only Puppy left is Issac, the Buck Male Pick o da litter.



Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 431 Comments: 131960


Looks like Florida dodged another one, but will the NE US?
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Quoting HarryMc:
I was looking back at Hurricane Irene last year. Link Irene Wisc.edu So far Sandy has her bullseye about where Irene hit the hardest; lots of flooding back then. Hope that doesn't happen again.
Long Island is the commonality... so far... the angle of approach is way different, which means that the islands worst ravaged by Irene last year - Acklins and Crooked Island - are not being as badly impacted by Sandy. Exuma, which fared relatively well last year, is likely to take more of a beating. And down the road, Cat Island and Eleuthera are also likely to be as adversely impacted as they were last year...

I'm just hoping the track does stay east of the latter two islands [thank goodness for that eastward jog over Cuba] because most of New Providence's residents are not prepared for even cat 1 winds.
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 22872
12z Nam at 84 hours
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 46345
The neighbor is back
Member Since: July 14, 2008 Posts: 2 Comments: 9689
Quoting TomballTXPride:
YEAH RIGHT. 925mb Happy Halloween NYC.


That looks almost identical to yesterday's 18Z run.

Member Since: August 2, 2006 Posts: 47 Comments: 11859
Quoting Patrap:
12z Late Cycle NHC model tracks

Sandy

Dynamic Models (More sophisticated models)


Hiya Pat how's the puppies?
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 46345
Miami
NEXRAD Radar

Base Reflectivity 0.50° Elevation
Range 248 NMI

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 431 Comments: 131960
12z Late Cycle NHC model tracks

Sandy

Dynamic Models (More sophisticated models)


Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 431 Comments: 131960
As if we needed the perfect embodiment of the storminess of this election season. Seemingly directed roughly towards DC, no less.

On a side note, Sandy is sporting a pretty rad mohawk.
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Quoting BahaHurican:
This is almost, ALMOST, as bad as "Sandy on the beaches".... lol



Sandy Hook will lure in Sandy
Member Since: July 14, 2008 Posts: 2 Comments: 9689
Hi Guys! I post from time to time but always lurk. Anyway in East central FL the official forecast is for tropical storm force conditions later tonight and tomorrow. Does anyone here think it may scoot a bit further to the northwest before making its turn and substantially making my day worse? Gro, Didn't you cross the atlantic in the 15oo's through one of these? :)
Member Since: October 29, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 181
Quoting RitaEvac:


and gaining speed, moving 20mph
yes it may be up there before tues if it doesnt slow down
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 46345
Beg your pardon, Bride of Frankenstorm
Link Shortwave Loop

Sounds like the Bahamians love their bread!
Link ZNSBahamas
Member Since: July 11, 2006 Posts: 14 Comments: 11459
NAEFS at 132 hours, this is going to be bad............
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 46345
Quoting LargoFl:
NAEFS at 108 hours, losing time to prepare folks....


and gaining speed, moving 20mph
Member Since: July 14, 2008 Posts: 2 Comments: 9689
Quoting PensacolaDoug:
It's alive!

It's FRANKENSTORM!
This is almost, ALMOST, as bad as "Sandy on the beaches".... lol

Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 22872
NAEFS at 108 hours, losing time to prepare folks....
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 46345
Quoting bahamacast:
yes 28.45

That makes sense looking at the NHC intermediate advisory. Sounds pretty rough out there. Stay safe!
Member Since: August 2, 2006 Posts: 47 Comments: 11859
I was looking back at Hurricane Irene last year. Link Irene Wisc.edu So far Sandy has her bullseye about where Irene hit the hardest; lots of flooding back then. Hope that doesn't happen again.
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This why TWC had Puerto Rico highlighted in yellow stating "Aware" other day

Member Since: July 14, 2008 Posts: 2 Comments: 9689
Quoting 1900hurricane:

Do you mean 28.45 in HG? That would be about 963 mb.
yes 28.45
Member Since: September 4, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 33
What would the odds be that a storm could make landfall on Long Island in the Bahamas followed by a landfall in Long Island, New York? I'd say about 1 in 1000.
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Also the gulf stream has shifted 125 miles north this year, posted about this about a week or so ago
Member Since: July 14, 2008 Posts: 2 Comments: 9689
Here is the 1 p.m. news report on ZNS TV....Link

If I knew how to make it play in the blog, I'd embed it...

I also notice they have a live-stream feature, if u can get it working...
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 22872
If only the radar extended further out...

Member Since: August 2, 2006 Posts: 47 Comments: 11859
Quoting BahaHurican:
LOL... couldn't resist... the storm is hitting the BAHAMIAN Long Island right now.... and I live in Nassau... you gave me a good set up... lol



LOL... stay safe!
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Quoting bahamacast:
Eye just went by Great Exuma 110mgh. Wind went from east to north west still at 100mph not much rain lots of trees down pres. 29.45.

Do you mean 28.45 in HG? That would be about 963 mb.
Member Since: August 2, 2006 Posts: 47 Comments: 11859
Quoting bahamacast:
Eye just went by Great Exuma 110mgh. Wind went from east to north west still at 100mph not much rain lots of trees down pres. 29.45.
100 mph is dangerous..Thank you for the posts and stay safe.
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Quoting Maryland1:


Was just fishing out there, a 10 days ago. Water temps at Oregon Inlet were 77 degrees, I know the stream was warmer. Now, all that nice warm water awaits, how unpleasant that may be to us. It just isn't going to wither in that water and combined with the front, is an amazing, ugly scenario.


Stream seemed to be in much closer to shore for this time of the year.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
METRO PALM BEACH-METRO BROWARD-METRO MIAMI DADE-
FAR SOUTH MIAMI DADE-
INCLUDING THE CITIES OF...CORAL SPRINGS...SUNRISE...DAVIE...
HOLLYWOOD...PEMBROKE PINES...HIALEAH
114 PM EDT THU OCT 25 2012

...WIND ADVISORY REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 8 PM EDT FRIDAY...

* TIMING...TODAY THROUGH FRIDAY EVENING.

* WINDS...NORTH TO NORTHWEST WINDS OF 20 TO 30 MPH WITH GUSTS IN
EXCESS OF 35 MPH.

* IMPACTS...LOOSE ITEMS CAN GET BLOWN AROUND ALONG WITH A FEW
TREES GETTING UPROOTED. THERE COULD ALSO BE SOME POWER
OUTAGES. HIGH PROFILE VEHICLES CAN ALSO GET BLOWN AROUND
ESPECIALLY ON OVERPASSES AND BRIDGES.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

A WIND ADVISORY MEANS THAT SUSTAINED WINDS OF AT LEAST 30 MPH
OR FREQUENT GUSTS IN EXCESS OF 35 MPH ARE EXPECTED. WINDS THIS
STRONG CAN MAKE DRIVING DIFFICULT...ESPECIALLY FOR HIGH PROFILE
VEHICLES. USE EXTRA CAUTION. MAKE SURE TO SECURE LOOSE OBJECTS AS
THEY CAN BE BLOWN AROUND BY WINDS THIS STRONG.

&&

$$
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 46345
TROPICAL STORM FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO 205
MILES.
Member Since: July 14, 2008 Posts: 2 Comments: 9689
Quoting LargoFl:
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


Yeah, true. But it will be over for most parts of the US. Puerto Rico might still have to keep a weather eye out until December but the mainland should be safe following Sandy.

This is because in about three days a huge pool of cold air will be moving in over nearly all of the Eastern US, including here in Florida. Our local Tampa Bay area temps will be in the 40s overnight, starting on about Monday or so. Afternoon highs will struggle to make it to the 70s. The forecast this far out is always conservative when it comes to the temperatures, and even so, the trend has been a few degrees downward each day, looking ahead to beyond the weekend.

The water temps in the Gulf of Mexico will crash and will cool over the near shore areas of the Atlantic as well. Plus all of that stirred up ocean there will also inhibit any further storm activity. What this means is that anything from now on that forms over the Caribbean will fizzle out before it can do damage in the US. It is the same pattern that we see every year. Sandy is just the catalyst to enhance this big shot of deep autumn air, in her wake.
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Quoting Melagoo:
notice how close its coming to the coast
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 46345
Eye just went by Great Exuma 110mgh. Wind went from east to north west still at 100mph not much rain lots of trees down pres. 29.45.
Member Since: September 4, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 33
Quoting Melagoo:

Looks like it's a beer storm.

It weaves and staggers its way north.
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Quoting longislander102:


Oh, no, sorry, Long Island in New York State. LOL
LOL... couldn't resist... the storm is hitting the BAHAMIAN Long Island right now.... and I live in Nassau... you gave me a good set up... lol
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 22872
Quoting RitaEvac:


A proclaimed prophet says Wall Street will be underwater next week


It has been underwater for the last 2 weeks.
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Quoting GeorgiaStormz:



not sure but I know a lot of them dont.
WU maps and models has the best and most detailed ECMWF for free though....not sure why the track isnt in the model plots
well i dont post it because the sites i have..all have it in flash and i cant get the url for it so i dont post it..wish i could pick up a flash pic
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 46345
Quoting FunnelVortex:


Ummmmm, ECWMF is avalible on the Wundermap


I must be confused with another model. I could have sworn it was that one though. That's why I usually just lurk and refrain from posting here--I really don't know much about the tropics except pretending to understand what I read here :)
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Quoting PensacolaDoug:
It's alive!

It's FRANKENSTORM!
LOL that name is gonna stick for sure
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 46345
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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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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