Hurricane Sandy remains a Category 2, continues on its track toward the East Coast

By: Angela Fritz , 9:48 PM GMT on October 25, 2012

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Hurricane Sandy is tracking north through the Bahamas this afternoon as a Category 2 hurricane. Maximum wind speeds in the hurricane are 105 mph, with a minimum central pressure of 963 mb. Sandy's center is moving through the eastern Bahamas, about 100 miles southeast of Nassau. The hurricane's eye is still not apparent on satellite nor was it clear in the data from today's Hurricane Hunter mission. Gusts in Nassau have reached 39 mph so far today as the hurricane approaches from the south. Buoys west of Nassau have been recording surface winds up to 39 mph, as well. On Abaco Island, just over an inch of rain has fallen today, and almost an inch of rain has fallen in Miami, where rain started last night.

Sandy's appearance on satellite is a bit ragged this afternoon as it approaches very high wind shear (40-50 knots). The hurricane is obviously already undergoing structural changes this afternoon, caused in part by an upper level low over western Cuba. This low is prohibiting Sandy's outflow on the west side, and as a result, the storm appears asymmetrical with a large area of outflow and circulation to the north, and only a tail of circulation on the southeast of the hurricane. Visually, Sandy is a huge storm. Based on clouds alone, Sandy stretches from Jacksonville, Florida, east to Bermuda, and south to the southern Caribbean Sea. Sandy's radius of outer closed isobar is 350 miles, though tropical storm-force winds only extend around 200 miles from the center.


Figure 1. High resolution MODIS visible satellite imagery of Hurricane Sandy early this morning.

Forecast For Hurricane Sandy
As Sandy moves north, it will grow larger and the hurricane's energy will spread out even more, which will lead to a slight decrease in maximum wind speed. Models agree on this steady decrease in intensity over the next few days, though beyond that, the intensity forecast is still in question since Sandy could begin to gain non-tropical energy as it transitions into a non-tropical storm. The track through Saturday evening remains well understood by the models: Sandy will move north with a slight turn to the west before being yanked north-northeast again by the approaching mid-latitude trough. It's at this point in the forecast that the models diverge, though all but the HWRF are forecasting the unfortunate turn back to the west and into the Northeast U.S. Furthest south along the East Coast is the ECMWF, which forecasts a turn into Maryland/North Carolina on Monday. The GFS forecast is a bit further north than the ECMWF, pushing Sandy onshore near Long Island late Tuesday night. However, this represents a large shift south from earlier GFS runs, and puts the Mid-Atlantic into play more than it was in earlier forecasts. The forecast from the National Hurricane Center appears to be a compromise between the ECMWF and the GFS. The Center is forecasting Sandy to approach the New Jersey coast on Tuesday afternoon.

There are many questions surrounding this hurricane and its forecast, but I find it important to convey that Sandy's impacts will be widespread, no matter the location of "landfall." Risk to the Mid-Atlantic seems higher this afternoon, and as Jeff noted in his morning blog, Sandy will be a very large and possibly non-tropical storm as it approaches the coast, with gale-force winds extending up to 300 miles from its center. This increases the probability of storm surge extending far from the center of the storm, which, combined with the timing of a full moon tide, is a big concern, along with freshwater and river flooding from heavy, extended periods of rain.

Angela


Figure 2. Today's "extra" 18Z (2pm EDT) weather balloon launched from the Peachtree City office of the National Weather Service. The National Weather Service is launching extra weather balloons all over the country to improve the quality of forecasts as Sandy approaches. Thanks to NWS Meteorologist Alex Gibbs for snapping this shot just before launch!

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Quoting WXHAMVA:


SE Virgina here ... near VA Beach


Chesapeake, VA here.
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Quoting washingtonian115:
People here in D.C aren't really worried to much and some don't even know a storm is coming.There asking "Sandy who,what?".


Everyone I know is aware of Sandy, but yeah, they are definitely downplaying the possibility of a severe storm. After Irene and a couple of other storms, they think this is just the meteorologists crying "Wolf!"

I can understand, but like I said last night, it never hurts to have some extra non-perishable food and bottled water around.
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1090. WXHAMVA
Quoting ncstorm:


wow..today is friday, not too much time left for them to become informed..


My Ex lives in northern VA and she said they are being told no big deal ... it going to hit NYC. I suggested she should be aware regardless of what she might hear.
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I did a blog on Sandy and her impacts, check it out.

I'm going to school, bye everyone.
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Quoting Maryland1:


sorry, mental midget slip. Meant east. Now to work and then for supplies, with the rest of the gang.
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1087. air360
Quoting AztecCe:
im in NE NC lol


Sorry, I was typing it out before I refreshed it again...lol...of course you can be added to the coverage team! haha :)
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seeing pictures of the damage in s.e cuban i believe they will upgrade sandy to a major after evaluation
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1085. WXHAMVA
Quoting AztecCe:
im in NE NC lol


SE Virgina here ... near VA Beach
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Quoting dader:


You act like the NorthEast never has to deal with any weather. While we don't deal with tropical storms often, we have winter Nor'Easters with wind, rain, and floods that would rock the Keys like nothing in recent history. Maybe people up here just deal with things with a bit less panic than Floridians.

No slams necessary on our Florida brothers and sisters, recent memory has 4 storms in one year that tore the heck out of the state. And I remember flying over Homestead after Andrew. Looked like God had run a giant weedeater across the land. I just hope that this turns west, because somepeople are going to lose a lot in this.
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Quoting ncstorm:


One of my local stations is downplaying the event like tropical force winds are no big deal..I guess no one told him you can have power outages and this is supposed to last from Sat till tuesday..

to put so much faith in computer models that still are having issues can make for one big FAIL


We had sustained tropical storm force winds for about 2 straight days in the northshore area of greater New Orleans during Isaac. Afterward, we had trees and branches down in quite a number of places, some on top of houses and cars, and we didn't have power for 3+ days.
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1082. maeko
All it takes is ONE. ONE devastating storm that kills just ONE person that you may know. We haven't had a major disaster here in Charleston, SC since Hugo in 1989, but those that were here will NEVER take their eyes off any storm that could be a threat. A storm only has to beat the odds once, but you have to be lucky EVERY season.
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Good Morning. Just noting that this is quite a notable possible finish to this Season. Pretty incredible to see a hurricane just offshore (when we normally have a TS this time of the year in spite of the sheer levels), a transition from a warm cored system to a cold or possible hybrid low, and this track moving it into the NE Coast.

Whether tropical/non-tropical/hybrid/ or extra-tropical, a deepening low as it approaches landfall near hurricane force winds (at the core) embedded within a Nor-Easter type frontal system. One for the record books with the impacts yet to unfold.

My Daughter is at Yale in New Haven and they are treating it like any regular strong Nor'Easter which they have seen many times in past years. Strong older buildings, tunnels from dorms to classes, and, Yale has their own independent power plant from the City so for them, life as usual during a "winter" storm.

The problem is that the cities and towns "off campus" do not have the same amenities or independent power supplies. I hope that folks in the NE will stock up on supplies and food in light of the anticipated power outages.

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1080. AztecCe
Quoting air360:


Looks like between obxlocal in NE NC coast, myself in mid NC coast, and ncstorm in SE NC we have NC pretty well covered haha
im in NE NC lol
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You know it's going to be bad if the UKMET, the most conservative of the bunch, is showing a sub-950mb cyclone coming towards the coast.


Absolutely perfect model consistency and agreement on this now. The ECMWF, CMC, GFS, NOGAPS, UKMET, HWRF, GFDL, NAM, are all showing this going sub-950mb as it approaches the United States. Just because Sandy looks ugly now, doesn't mean it's going to stay that way. What you're seeing is the beginning of the transition to a more hybrid type system, as it is facing 40-50kts of shear. However, it's telling though that it is still generating 85mph+ surface winds according to the recon (NHC is going with 80) and the pressure is also dropping. If you want to write off the models that's fine, but they're pretty accurate when they're in agreement like this with consistency. What's more, the professionals at the NHC seem to agree on the track at least.
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1078. air360
Quoting ncstorm:


waiting and watching here as well..stay safe up there..


Looks like between obxlocal in NE NC coast, myself in mid NC coast, and ncstorm in SE NC we have NC pretty well covered haha
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1077. ncstorm
Quoting TomballTXPride:

Folks are gonna come on here and try to downplay the event all day. And it's not intentional, it's just human nature for folks to have varying opinions about the storm. Yes, some go with their gut more than a scientifc perspective. But ten of thousands probably read the blog and to try to get the message out that you would only want them to see the storm as you do is silly.

Common sense. You head the official warning from authorities, the NWS or NOAA, not a weather blog where folks come together from all walks of life to share their stories and views on what might be Frankstorm.


I am the first to tell people to go to their local NWS and NHC but sadly that is not the case..you can read right now on this page where people are asking how it will be in their area..downplaying the fact that people dont come here for information is one of the reasons as to why I posted my comment..just dont do it and you wont have to explain human nature vs irresponsibility
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Quoting ncstorm:
well my area is under a tropical storm watch..here's hoping that Sandy makes that right turn as predicted and not come inland to SE NC..fingers cross over here..


I am crossing my fingers too over near Charlotte. Looks like we will be missed by the front and the tropical system at the moment.
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1075. ncstorm
Quoting washingtonian115:
People here in D.C aren't really worried to much and some don't even know a storm is coming.There asking "Sandy who,what?".


wow..today is friday, not too much time left for them to become informed..
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1074. dader
Quoting LargoFl:
see..when those 65-70 mph winds come by you, tree's falling, windows shattering, winds howling, we'll see how much laughter comes then..you have never experienced a storm like this..actually landfalling by you, years past they kept going up the coast, so you havent actauuly experienced something like this...just ask pat over in new orleans what it was like..well some people just have to learn, words wont teach them..


You act like the NorthEast never has to deal with any weather. While we don't deal with tropical storms often, we have winter Nor'Easters with wind, rain, and floods that would rock the Keys like nothing in recent history. Maybe people up here just deal with things with a bit less panic than Floridians.
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1073. AztecCe
Quoting obxlocal:


We're in Nags Head, NC. Keeping our eyes on tis one. Local news/media not saying much....
Im in NE NC do you think we'll get struck bad here?
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Quoting AussieStorm:

Maybe they are not handling the phasing to well.



Factor in the much higher than average water temps and you might have some explanation. Cape May is 67 degrees today, normal is 58 for this time of year. A lot of energy in a very conducive environment. When our winter storms bomb out, they don't get to play with water like this. Which is what all of us up this way need to understand. This one could be very different.

Link
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1070. ncstorm
Quoting obxlocal:


We're in Nags Head, NC. Keeping our eyes on tis one. Local news/media not saying much....


waiting and watching here as well..stay safe up there..
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People here in D.C aren't really worried to much and some don't even know a storm is coming.There asking "Sandy who,what?".
Member Since: August 14, 2010 Posts: 10 Comments: 16437
1068. ncstorm
For those of yall who are downplaying this event, please dont do that..this makes people complacent and they not knowing any better are reading your comments thinking the models are wrong and you are right..By you commenting on this blog, you have a HUGE responsibility and the last thing you would want on your conscience is that you misinformed people of an event that could lead to drastic life changing events..lets just wait and see what happens..
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For West Palm Beach...

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1066. LargoFl
Quoting washingtonian115:
51 degrees is sooo cold.Brrr freezing lol.I won't beleive it till I see it.
see..when those 65-70 mph winds come by you, tree's falling, windows shattering, winds howling, we'll see how much laughter comes then..you have never experienced a storm like this..actually landfalling by you, years past they kept going up the coast, so you havent actauuly experienced something like this...just ask pat over in new orleans what it was like..well some people just have to learn, words wont teach them..
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 37042
Very windy on the island in stuart,fl. Going to check out the beach erosion.
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1063. WXHAMVA
Quoting TomballTXPride:

That's my other thought. Could this be the transition where she begins acquiring some sub-tropical characteristics. Seems a bit early though as the energy to sustain tropical characteristics extend up to North Carolina's latitude. But an earlier transition would also bode well for the Mid-Atlantic. In a huge way!! A weaker storm then.


I'm certainly not the expert but it appears to me that the GFS has this correctly timed in it's model.

Link
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Good morning all.

Just checking in from the south shore of Long Island New York to see what you all think about the storm.

I wonder how bad it will be here?
Member Since: August 27, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 145
Quoting TomballTXPride:
All I must say is ridiculously overdoing strength.
I agree that sub-930 pressures, while entirely possible, are almost certainly overdone. But even with pressures substantially higher than that--say, 960 mb or so--Sandy would likely wreak havoc over an area that's home to tens of millions of people.

From a strictly meteorological perspective, Sandy is going to be a fascinating study in storm dynamics. But watching her from a human viewpoint, I'd be extremely happy were she to suddenly and unexpectedly curve out into the open Atlantic.
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Sandy is beginning to take on a more non-tropical look as expected.
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Quoting ncstorm:


One of my local stations is downplaying the event like tropical force winds are no big deal..I guess no one told him you can have power outages and this is supposed to last from Sat till tuesday..

to put so much faith in computer models that still are having issues can make for one big FAIL


We're in Nags Head, NC. Keeping our eyes on tis one. Local news/media not saying much....
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1058. LargoFl
NAM at 84 hours,the time to prepare is rushing by,with each update the storm will be getting closer to you folks....
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 37042
Quoting LargoFl:
I have to laugh this morning, here you have a hurricane, soon to mix with a cold front and become a hybrid thats possibly something never seen before and even the experts dont really know how furious this storm is going to be when she comes ashore..and here you have people IN its path..ignoring the warnings with sarcasm..I am really worried about the reports we will be reading about afterwards..the destruction and loss of life etc..power outages lasting for maybe weeks on end..all the while a freezing cold front really dropping the temps, and all those millions possibly without power,fresh water and HEAT....I just really cant believe it
51 degrees is sooo cold.Brrr freezing lol.I won't beleive it till I see it.
Member Since: August 14, 2010 Posts: 10 Comments: 16437
Quoting TomballTXPride:
Significant collapse of convection due to high shear. This may be good news.

Link

I wouldn't count on it. As Sandy moves farther north it will begin increasingly entangled with an extreme baroclinic zone, and we should see a significant uptick in convection.
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Quoting trHUrrIXC5MMX:
exposed LLC




Exposed, stretched, tilted, decoupled? When you look at satellite it appears to have shed a mid level circulation or two. Shear is just plowing right through this thing.

It looks like to me it's already transitioning from a purely tropical entity to whatever hybrid that it is about to become...
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1053. barbamz
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Quoting washingtonian115:
It's been really wet up here.So we don't need any more rain or else we will have very bad flooding.George town will be under water like it was during Isael.D.C mets getting nervous.Offff course the morning crew on fox 5 aren't taking any thing serious.I'm looking at you Tucker!.


I could use the rain, we're dry on the Piedmont, but not 6 inches of it in one shot. The spring bulbs don't need to be planted in a river. Isabel was not kind, this will be worse on the multiple high tide cycles.
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Quoting TomballTXPride:

00Z HWRF 108 hours.



06Z HWRF 96 hours.



00Z GFDL 96 hours



All I must say is ridiculously overdoing strength.

Maybe they are not handling the phasing to well.
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15932
1049. LargoFl
I have to laugh this morning, here you have a hurricane, soon to mix with a cold front and become a hybrid thats possibly something never seen before and even the experts dont really know how furious this storm is going to be when she comes ashore..and here you have people IN its path..ignoring the warnings with sarcasm..I am really worried about the reports we will be reading about afterwards..the destruction and loss of life etc..power outages lasting for maybe weeks on end..all the while a freezing cold front really dropping the temps, and all those millions possibly without power,fresh water and HEAT....I just really cant believe it
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 37042
1048. WXHAMVA
Quoting TomballTXPride:
Significant collapse of convection due to high shear. This may be good news.

Link



Or does this indicate the transformation? Just Asking
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Quoting washingtonian115:
It's been really wet up here.So we don't need any more rain or else we will have very bad flooding.George town will be under water like it was during Isael.D.C mets getting nervous.Offff course the morning crew on fox 5 aren't taking any thing serious.I'm looking at you Tucker!.


Tucker Barnes doesn't want to have to deal with the same stuff he did with Irene:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zgVRhqsiq4Y
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Quoting TomballTXPride:
Significant collapse of convection due to high shear. This may be good news.

Link



the storm is really falling apart
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exposed LLC


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Quoting o22sail:


Yea, I'm just south of you, in Richmond, and feeling just as sarcastic.
This is about the last thing we need right now.
It's been really wet up here.So we don't need any more rain or else we will have very bad flooding.George town will be under water like it was during Isael.D.C mets getting nervous.Offff course the morning crew on fox 5 aren't taking any thing serious.I'm looking at you Tucker!.
Member Since: August 14, 2010 Posts: 10 Comments: 16437

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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.