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 Grothar:


I'm right across from there. Our lights have been flickering for about two hours.

What is this flickering you speak of.... I'm in w oakland pk and we haven't had one flicker. Luckily I have the clapper in one of my rooms and I walked in there decided to test it so I could feel like you rich'uns close to the ocean...... ;-)
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non tropical model reference only
00Z nam FINAL 26 OCT hr 012 TILL 84


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non tropical model reference only
00Z nam FINAL 26 OCT hr 000 TILL 84


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Quoting EYEStoSEA:


You keep it safe over there, Gro...ya here :)


There is a stranger among us. How you doing? It would be nice if you would drop a line sometime. We miss all miss you.
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Quoting TomballTXPride:

Everything turns political one way or another.


It certainly could if there were a substantial disaster and a poor response, as in Katrina.

If it is bad enough, some people might not get to the polls a week later because they have more pressing issues to deal with: If a tree has crashed through your roof and you are living in temp headquarters, it might seem like just too much bother to try and find where the polling place is if it has been moved, get there, etc.

Too, it's a subtle point, but a lot of bible-belters easily slip off into a 'millenial thinking' psychological state, and could easily transfer the perceived emotional intensity of the storm into a warning from god, or somesuch like that. There are people like that on both sides of the ailse though, so the effect would be hard to measure directly what with all the others ... people in Appalacia would possibly act loopier than usual but how would you ever measure that? I mean ... how do you tell even anecdotal the difference in behavior at 6 standard deviations out from the mean, and seven?
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18z GFS ensemble models have shifted south targeting Deleware now
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.
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25.350N 75.917W
From 86 at 17 knots
(From the E at ~ 19.5 mph)

The center is still south of this location.
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Quoting SecretStormNerd:
Hey everyone! Long time lurker here checking in from greenacres/lake worth fl :-) been lurking, or should I call it stalking, since 2005 actually. Anyway, hi!


Hey neighbor...also live in Lake Worth / Greenacres.

Haven't found the local coverage to be too oppressive yet. I'm still just laughing that they dismissed school early.
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Sandy looks a little bit healthier in the last few frames IMO. I wonder if it will be the same, stronger or weaker at 11 p.m.?
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Quoting Grothar:


I'm right across from there. Our lights have been flickering for about two hours.


You keep it safe over there, Gro...ya here :)
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Sandy *is* the weather for the entire Caribbean right now:



The front sweeping across the middle U.S. towards Sandy dropped 4.5" of snow for us last night and we're getting more from a reinforcing front tonight. There were reports of some late season lightning in Utah. When Colorado gets good precipitation from a system you know it's energetic...

No matter what happens, this is going to be one heck of a collision to watch...

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Quoting HrDelta:
I haven't been on hear in a while, but I have a question. Was Sandy a 115 mph Category 3 at landfall in Cuba?

yeah
in error 1230 am last evening got upgraded to strong cat 2
at 130 am a reported gust of 115 mph was reported then lowered to 114
advis came out with that info stating cat 3 cane
then in a few minutes an update was issued
reducing it to 110 mph
cat 3 status was removed
and cat 2 status reposted

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Quoting iamajeepmom:


Yeah I believe that...down the road from Shooters..friends on north side of Oakland bridge lost power several hours ago. Flickering lights has encouraged me to crank down ac and freezers :)


I'm right across from there. Our lights have been flickering for about two hours.
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Quoting Civicane49:
Hurricane Sandy:



Oh, Cyclops Sandy has returned! After eating everything in sight and becoming extraordinarily large. Her circulation and outflow has grown to such an extent that she's shearing systems all over the basin haha.

Gah, this is going to be an interesting next few days in terms of developments, especially considering that she looks to be restrengthening. I should stock up on booze in preparation for her arrival in Ontario; there are a few model runs that take the centre of her over me after she digs inland a bit.
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I've been looking at satellite and also at the 850mb vort on the CIMSS page and I have to say that area b/w the keys and Cuba associated with the upper level low is beginning to get a surface reflection with it. It seems interesting as close as it is to Sandys circulation. Could it possibly be the nor'easter part of Sandy?
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Palm Beach Cam .... trees tossing lightly, but the wind sounds nasty!

Link
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Remember there is quite high shear, likely blowing off the MLC to the NNE. The plane an hour and thirty minutes ago said 24.8 75.8




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I've already heard talk of Sandy somehow effecting the election. Who else thinks that in addition to the weather aspect that this event becomes somehow a POLITICAL factor?? I don't know how or what, but it happened with Issac!
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Quoting Grothar:


We just had a wind gust on our gauge that read 56 mph or 48.6 kts.


Yeah I believe that...down the road from Shooters..friends on north side of Oakland bridge lost power several hours ago. Flickering lights has encouraged me to crank down ac and freezers :)
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Quoting Dovienya7:


TWC seems to be downplaying the possibility of anything major in the DC area. They aren't even showing us on some of their maps.
They're to busy up new Jersey's and NYC a__.
Quoting TomballTXPride:

You mean like the 920 and 930MB stuff. Yeah, then probably smart. Just don't let McLuvACane find out. Keep this on the down low.
Yeah that stuff.Ridiculous.
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:




Thanks keep. That is exactly what is supposed to happen. The only thing is, I have never seen it where the hurricane or TS is moved back inland.
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I haven't been on hear in a while, but I have a question. Was Sandy a 115 mph Category 3 at landfall in Cuba?
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567. JRRP
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Quoting guygee:
I would guess it is closing in on 26N 76W, right on the NHC track but maybe a little ahead of schedule.
I noted some 20mph forward speeds earlier today... originally we weren't supposed to see hurricane conditions over Eleuthera until now, or even later. If the centre is already that far north, we may be clear of hurricane conditions altogether by noon tomorrow... though TS conditions prolly would linger.
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Quoting washingtonian115:
Good evening ncstorm.The models have it out for my area in Particular.First is the Delmarva next the D.C metro and surrounding areas.


TWC seems to be downplaying the possibility of anything major in the DC area. They aren't even showing us on some of their maps.
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Hurricane Sandy:

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Quoting Grothar:


It won't make a difference. It is supposed to almost get wrapped around by another low and the pressure drop would be enormous. I don't even know if they have a name for that. It isn't just Sandy that will cause the event. There are another couple of factors.


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Quoting TomballTXPride:

I think the latest model runs absolutely has scared Wash right out of her wits. She's not acting herself. I guess I'd be concerned myself. But try cheering her up.
No just not beleiving the doom and gloom the models are showing.
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One of my favorite satellite/radar sites to look at is this composite hosted by South Florida Mgmnt here.

You can see that Sandy is right on its forecast track by the NHC as there is just the center line shown without the cone. You'll see the pink line jump around a bit as the NHS updates their prediction.
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Quoting aquak9:
(hugs zoo)


AQUA!!! When did you sneak in?
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Quoting guygee:
I would guess it is closing in on 26N 76W, right on the NHC track but maybe a little ahead of schedule.


See post 545
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Quoting SecretStormNerd:
Is anyone else in south fl tired if the local stations and their 24/7 coverage of almost tropical storm conditions. Every year it's worse than the previous.
Compared to what, regular programming? No, I would still love the 24/7 coverage of weather even if it was a sunny day. Only time I even watch TV except for an occasional movie.
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Quoting Grothar:


Looks like it's getting closer to Florida. It is really very windy with very high gusts. It has been getting worse since late afternoon.


Yep. It could get a little more closer before moving north-northeastward.
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Quoting Abacosurf:
How far off the ocean are you Groth?


I am right on the Intracoastal. Maybe 3/4 of a mile.
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552. j2008
Quoting Grothar:
Looks like she is finally reorganizing, should expect some strengthening if this continues.
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Quoting SecretStormNerd:
Is anyone else in south fl tired if the local stations and their 24/7 coverage of almost tropical storm conditions. Every year it's worse than the previous.
They have actually been pretty low key in the Miami TV stations. During Issac all regular programming was pre-empted. For Sandy, just a few minutes at the beginning of each news show.
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Quoting TomballTXPride:

Didn't Irene do that. And look at the damage she still did. No matter how you split it, it still looks ugly, unless this thing goes OTS, but that's looking very unlikely now.


what's why I said it... maybe that could happen
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Quoting trHUrrIXC5MMX:
What if Sandy keeps weakening (wind-wise) and arrives in NYC as a TS?


It won't make a difference. It is supposed to almost get wrapped around by another low and the pressure drop would be enormous. I don't even know if they have a name for that. It isn't just Sandy that will cause the event. There are another couple of factors.
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Quoting aquak9:
(hugs zoo)
[hugs aqua AND zoo]

Group hug!
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Quoting Grothar:


We just had a wind gust on our gauge that read 56 mph or 48.6 kts.
How far off the ocean are you Groth?
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Quoting BahaHurican:


Any guesses on the centre location???


Product: NOAA Vortex Message (URNT12 KWBC)
Transmitted: 26th day of the month at 01:10Z
Aircraft: Lockheed WP-3D Orion (Reg. Num. N42RF)
Storm Number & Year: 18L in 2012
Storm Name: Sandy (flight in the North Atlantic basin)
Mission Number: 7
Observation Number: 19
A. Time of Center Fix: 26th day of the month at 0:43:10Z

B. Center Fix Coordinates: 2452'N 7552'W (24.8667N 75.8667W)

A little over an hour ago
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Quoting ncstorm:
Good Evening Everyone!
Good evening ncstorm.The models have it out for my area in Particular.First is the Delmarva next the D.C metro and surrounding areas.
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Quoting zoomiami:


Glad you seem to be doing Ok Baha. The weather here is really miserable, very windy, rain bands causing lots of water. Its amazing to me that this storm is so far away and we are getting so much weather from it. We have gotten less weather from storms that are 50 miles away.
Thanks 4 the kind thoughts, zoo.... We got most of our rain earlier today... but I expect we'll see more as the centre pulls north...

I agree though. This is weird storm...

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Apparently Sandy is turning into a Butterfly. lol
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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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