Sandy remains a hurricane, slowly leaving the Bahamas

By: Angela Fritz , 9:28 PM GMT on October 26, 2012

Share this Blog
47
+

Reuters reports that the death toll from Sandy in the Caribbean is now up to 41 people as Hurricane Sandy continues its track toward the U.S. East Coast this afternoon, slowly leaving the Bahamas. States of Emergency have been declared in North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, and New York. The hurricane is just barely still a Category 1 with surface winds of 75 mph and a minimum central pressure of 971 mb. Ocean buoys off the coasts of Florida and the Carolinas are recording sustained winds of around 45 mph this afternoon, with gusts steadily increasing and now up to 60 mph. Sandy's rainfall, which is limited to the north and northeast parts of the storm, is reaching eastern Florida, though most of it is staying offshore.

Satellite loops show an asymmetric Sandy, with almost all of the thunderstorm activity on its north side. The hurricane still has a very clear center of surface circulation which you can see on visible and infrared loops. Though the hurricane is leaving the influence of an upper level low pressure area over western Cuba, water vapor imagery shows a large area of dry air being pulled into the storm from the south, which is leading to the lack of thunderstorm activity and contributing to the weakening that Sandy is experiencing right now. The hurricane's tropical storm-force winds now extend 240 miles from the center, and could grow to 400 miles from the center by the time it reaches the East Coast.


Figure 1. Visible/infrared satellite image of Sandy as it leaves the Bahamas this afternoon. The mid-latitude trough, which Sandy will interact with over the next few days, is seen approaching from the northwest. The cold front associated with this trough is draped from upstate New York south to Louisiana, and appears as a line of clouds draped across the Midwest and South in this image.

Forecast For Hurricane Sandy

As a tropical cyclone approaches land, the worst storm surge is almost always where the winds are blowing from ocean to shore, where the wind pushes the water toward and onto the shore. In the case of Sandy's potential track, this region is on the north side of the center. In this morning's GFS scenario, Sandy's center passes over eastern Long Island, Connecticut, and Rhode Island. This would result in the highest surge north of New York City: Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and possibly Maine. The ECMWF forecast from this morning is a bit further to the south. It's suggesting Sandy's center will meet land in New Jersey. This scenario opens up New York City, Long Island, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and southern coastal Mass. to the largest surge. In general, the places that will avoid the largest storm surge are those that are south of where the center of the storm makes landfall. The National Hurricane Center's forecast is similar to the ECMWF, but most importantly, its forecast is also to not focus on the exact point of landfall because of the size of the storm, and that widespread impact is expected.

The Mid-Atlantic and Northeast coasts should be prepared for a storm surge no matter their exact location. A large portion of the coast will feel the impact of up to 60 mph winds and heavy rain. According to the most recent H*Wind analysis from the Hurricane Research Division is that storm surge has a destructive potential of 4.8 out of 6.0, which is a slight increase from previous analyses. Wind damage potential is holding steady around 2.3 out of 6.0. NOAA's HPC is forecasting rainfall totals of 5 to 10 inches in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast, and possibly more in coastal locations close to the core of the storm. Widespread power outages from Maine south to Virginia are likely, due to the combination of long-lived gale-force winds, leaves on trees, and rain that will moisten the soil and possibly increase the chances of falling trees. Snow in the Appalachians is also possible as the intense moisture meets the cold air being pulled south by the mid-latitude trough.


Figure 2. Departure of sea surface temperature from average for the Atlantic shows a large area of unusually warm waters up to 9°F above average off the U.S. mid-Atlantic coast.

Sandy to feed off near-record warm waters off the mid-Atlantic coast
During September 2012, ocean temperatures off the mid-Atlantic coast in the 5x10° latitude-longitude box between 35 - 40°N, 65 - 75° W were 2.3°F (1.3°C) above average, according to the UK Met Office. This is the 2nd greatest departure from average for ocean temperatures in this region since reliable ocean temperature measurements began over a century ago (all-time record: 2.0°C above average in September 1947.) These unusually warm waters have persisted into October, and will enable Sandy to pull more energy from the ocean than a typical October hurricane. The warm waters will also help increase Sandy's rains, since more water vapor will evaporate into the air from a warm ocean. I expect Sandy will dump the heaviest October rains on record over a large swath of the mid-Atlantic and New England.

Hurricane rains and climate change
Hurricanes are expected to dump 20% more rain in their cores by the year 2100, according to modeling studies (Knutson et al., 2010). This occurs since a warmer atmosphere holds more water vapor, which can then condense into heavier rains. Furthermore, the condensation process releases heat energy (latent heat), which invigorates the storm, making its updrafts stronger and creating even more rain. We may already be seeing an increase in rainfall from hurricanes due to a warmer atmosphere. A 2010 study by Kunkel et al. "Recent increases in U.S. heavy precipitation associated with tropical cyclones", found that although there is no evidence for a long-term increase in North American mainland land-falling tropical cyclones (which include both hurricanes and tropical storms), the number of heavy precipitation events, defined as 1-in-5-year events, more than doubled between 1994 - 2008, compared to the long-term average from 1895 - 2008. As I discussed in a 2011 post "Tropical Storm Lee's flood in Binghamton: was global warming the final straw?", an increase in heavy precipitation events in the 21st Century due to climate change is going to be a big problem for a flood control system designed for the 20th Century's climate.


Figure 3. Time series of the 15-yr running average (plotted at the end point of the 15-yr blocks) of the tropical cyclone Heavy Precipitation Index (red) and the associated 15-yr total of U.S. landfalling hurricanes from Atlantic HURDAT hurricane data base, from 1895 - 2008 (blue). Note the steep rise in heavy precipitation events from tropical cyclones over the past 20 years, which has not been accompanied by a corresponding increase in landfalling hurricanes. Image credit: Kunkel et al., 2010, Geophysical Research Letters.

Angela Fritz and Jeff Masters

Reader Comments

Comments will take a few seconds to appear.

Post Your Comments

Please sign in to post comments.

or Join

Not only will you be able to leave comments on this blog, but you'll also have the ability to upload and share your photos in our Wunder Photos section.

Display: 0, 50, 100, 200 Sort: Newest First - Order Posted

Viewing: 556 - 506

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28Blog Index

Still no turn NE yet? When is that supposed to happen. VERY breezey here in St. Augustine.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting AussieStorm:


Brother what graphics or program is that your using?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
87HR 00Z GFS
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting allancalderini:
Does it move it to CA or to Cuba?


Don't know yet the run has not finished yet....i really would not worry to much about it tho that far out....but i still post what it is. NO HARM TO SOME I HOPE!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:




Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15749
Quoting cyberian:
On my way home from work tonight I ran into Wal-Mart to grab a few things and it was a mad house. It was worse than going there on Black Friday. Then I stopped to fill up when I got close to home and the gas station was out of mid and premium, although they told me that they are getting a delivery tonight. I guess I will try to get out early in the am to fill. I live in Pike county, Pa and work in Orange county, NY.
That is just crazy, especially running out of gas, but at least everyone in your area is taking this seriously and getting prepared.

I decided to weather 2004 Hurricane Frances in south Florida with a relative. I left at night, not thinking about gas, and I was very lucky to find just one gas station with gas on my way down...I almost ran out before I got there. Just one little mistake like that can get anyone in serious trouble.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Bobbyweather:

Good for you. Here in Seoul, it's been raining since morning.

You've had enough rain already. Is it from a cold front?
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15749
72hrs out 951mb...dang!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
72HR 00Z GFS
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting AussieStorm:
Afternoon all, How is everything going over there, Got a nice blue sky day with not a cloud in the sky.

Good for you. Here in Seoul, it's been raining since morning.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Lots of food close by. With a mouth so big, she can pull in a lot, I expect.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Afternoon all, How is everything going over there, Got a nice blue sky day with not a cloud in the sky.
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15749
Sorry i posted the 12z run....LOL...been a long day!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting TampaSpin:
At the end of the GFS run ...another STORM forms in the South Central Caribbean.....here we go again.

Does it move it to CA or to Cuba?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
60HR 00Z GFS
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
On my way home from work tonight I ran into Wal-Mart to grab a few things and it was a mad house. It was worse than going there on Black Friday. Then I stopped to fill up when I got close to home and the gas station was out of mid and premium, although they told me that they are getting a delivery tonight. I guess I will try to get out early in the am to fill. I live in Pike county, Pa and work in Orange county, NY.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting GTcooliebai:
I'm looking at the trajectory that this storm takes and as it accelerates the forward momentum that it will be coming like a truck going 70 on a highway, this would definitely be capable of pushing water up the coast and well inland. Is that what you think will happen Grothar? I mean I certainly hope none of this happen and someway somehow the storm weakens or veers off to the east.


- A slower moving storm creates a larger surge as it has more time to transfer energy into the ocean.

- A larger storm creates a larger surge

- Local Bathymetry is of great influence on the storm surge, shallow = larger surge.

At the moment we have all 3 present... Worst scenario is a surge that's funneled up a river / estuary.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
51HR 00Z GFS
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Skyepony:
Been getting training from the north.
I haven't checked my rain gauge yet today, but is has been pouring off and on all night here, and still getting some hefty gusts making banging noises somewhere on my house. I need to get up on the roof tomorrow to make sure my roof cap is still nailed down tight.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Felix2007:


Way too far out. And we shouldn't be talking about 16 days from now when there's a giant storm about to bear down... lol


Just an Observation if that is ok with you!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
48HR 00Z GFS
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
36HR 00Z GFS
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
970mb.....OUCH! 5 days out or 120hrs

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting TampaSpin:
At the end of the GFS run ...another STORM forms in the South Central Caribbean.....here we go again.



Way too far out. And we shouldn't be talking about 16 days from now when there's a giant storm about to bear down... lol
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Here are the evacuation zones in NYC.

Link
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Just took the dogs out before bed and saw a lovely ring around the moon on the Piedmont. Seems like folklore and science are having a nice interaction tonight, you pros keep working the storm. Appreciate all that you do here.
Member Since: August 26, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 122
At the end of the GFS run ...another STORM forms in the South Central Caribbean.....here we go again.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
The only thing that Long Islanders are REALLY worried about is that the oh so "hype" of a Perfect Storm is going to raise gas prices and hurt the economy.. Get over yourselves!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
528. Skyepony (Mod)
Been getting training from the north.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting GTcooliebai:
I'm looking at the trajectory that this storm takes and as it accelerates the forward momentum that it will be coming like a truck going 70 on a highway, this would definitely be capable of pushing water up the coast and well inland. Is that what you think will happen Grothar? I mean I certainly hope none of this happen and someway somehow the storm weakens or veers off to the east.


It is very doubtful that this will turn east. There are many remarkable things about this if it occurs as they see it. One is that I do not recall any hurricane joining with a baroclinic low and then moving WEST. Second, I think that the size of the storm is going to be one of those rare events. The amount of water that will be pushed into the shores (and by looking at the timing) may last long enough for two high tides at full moon. The flooding along the coasts could be records. The power outages will probably equal or even surpass that of 1993. We may not see 100+ winds, but the duration will be days before it moves away.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting ThatGuyAgain:
The amount of trolls here is high... I'm not really much of a poster but I gotta say I'm a little long on my ignore list now...

You say you already have a long ignore (iggy) list? Looks like you only joined this blog last month. My iggy list just reached 180 the other day. Thankfully there doesn't seem to be a limit.

Welcome by the way. And... please everyone stay safe and follow recommendations of your local officials.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
0z GFS has begun initialization:

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting DrewE:


With Virginia being in play, Dominion Virginia Power has placed all polling locations on top priority for power restoration in the case of any outages.

Right up there with Hospitals and the like.
That is good news, some leaders actually stepping up and taking care to preserve our democracy for a change.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting ThatGuyAgain:
The amount of trolls here is high... I'm not really much of a poster but I gotta say I'm a little long on my ignore list now...


Trust me your list will grow!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
522. DrewE
Does anyone know what county Snooki lives in?

I hope Sandy makes a bumrush for her. No troll.
Member Since: October 24, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 45
Used to watch Buddy Rich on the Carson show every once in awhile. Hard to believe you could get better than that.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Maryland1:


thundersnow is one of nature's most precious gifts, seen it three times and awed, each time.


It can take one by surprise. One second while quietly watching the snow, a flash of lightning and boom.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
So all the news outlets are talking SUPERSTORM! and EXTENSIVE DAMAGE! and then saying one billion in damages are expected.

One billion ain't jack. Ivan is tenth on the list of most expensive disasters in the US and he did about 15 billion in damage. There have been around 100 one-billion dollar disasters since 1980.

Keep in mind overblown disaster predictions like this one from Isaac:

Link

Of course those in the path of Sandy should NOT drop their gaurd. Isaac is responsible for the death of a couple who drowned in their home in Plaquemines parish
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
welll, off to see the sandman, y'all play nice and have a nice evening.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Nothing is etched in stone on this track. It can still surprise us and go more north. Sunday we will know for sure I think. That very sharp turn that is forecast makes me wonder if the front stalls we have a big north shift. As we know, the weather has a mind of its own. I wouldn't be surprised if Sandy has a few more tricks up her sleeve!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
516. NJ2S
Quoting KoritheMan:


You saw it first.


That would be a worst case scenario for me in Hudson county
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Kind of an interesting illusion on the NHC Atlantic RGB in motion. Looks like a twisting column of smoke over the center of Sandy as the clouds get a little closer to the center.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
514. DrewE
Quoting guygee:
A lot of folks have been wondering about that. Maybe they will dump the garbage computer voting and computer counting of votes and go back to hand counting of ballots. I sure would have more faith in the voting process integrity if they did that, to hell with speedy results, I would rather wait a couple of days to get a fair and accurate count.
That being said I do not think that most of the states in danger are actually "in play" for this election. Virginia for sure is in play, maybe North Carolina, maybe New Hampshire too.
That is what I have been reading from the "horse race" analysts, anyways.


With Virginia being in play, Dominion Virginia Power has placed all polling locations on top priority for power restoration in the case of any outages.

Right up there with Hospitals and the like.
Member Since: October 24, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 45
The amount of trolls here is high... I'm not really much of a poster but I gotta say I'm a little long on my ignore list now...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting pottery:


I attend these classes for the discussion on Weather.
But it is little statements like the one above that make it so enjoyable.
Sheer Poetry.

Good night all .
Stay safe.


My pleasure. I get to learn more science than my liberal arts brain can handle here and offer some lifetime oceanwater homeschooled ideas, now and then. Catch up with you tomorrow.
Member Since: August 26, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 122
Quoting Maryland1:


thundersnow is one of nature's most precious gifts, seen it three times and awed, each time.


I tend to agree with Lewis Black on thundersnow: "They don't even write about that kind of weather in the Bible".

First time I ever saw it after I moved here, I was SO disconcerted. It's still freaky.

Meanwhile, everyone I know in NY/NJ/CT/RI/MA is prepped for the storm. The nice thing about working in the 'burbs is Target was not at ALL busy at 3:30 this afternoon!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Grothar:
I'm looking at the trajectory that this storm takes and as it accelerates the forward momentum that it will be coming like a truck going 70 on a highway, this would definitely be capable of pushing water up the coast and well inland. Is that what you think will happen Grothar? I mean I certainly hope none of this happen and someway somehow the storm weakens or veers off to the east.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting indianrivguy:


He tapped, they drummed.


I always liked Buddy Rich better than Gene Krupa, although Krupa was probably a more familiar name.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting indianrivguy:
speaking of arthritis pills, I was just listening to Gene Krupa, Buddy Rich and Sammy Davis Jr. lordy whoda thunk it.

Sooo, with the extensive damage expected, whats the odds it interferes with the Nov. 6 election. How much of NE will still be without power? Nosy folks wanna know.
A lot of folks have been wondering about that. Maybe they will dump the garbage computer voting and computer counting of votes and go back to hand counting of ballots. I sure would have more faith in the voting process integrity if they did that, to hell with speedy results, I would rather wait a couple of days to get a fair and accurate count.
That being said I do not think that most of the states in danger are actually "in play" for this election. Virginia for sure is in play, maybe North Carolina, maybe New Hampshire too.
That is what I have been reading from the "horse race" analysts, anyways.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Felix2007:
It's coming almost exactly right over my house... well isn't that great


I know the feeling. LOL
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Maryland1:


I endorse, wholeheartedly, your articulate and accurate sentiment, Drew. With a side of profanity for the mess it will create.


I attend these classes for the discussion on Weather.
But it is little statements like the one above that make it so enjoyable.
Sheer Poetry.

Good night all .
Stay safe.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:

Viewing: 556 - 506

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28Blog Index

Top of Page

About JeffMasters

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.