Sandy remains a hurricane, slowly leaving the Bahamas

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

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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

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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.
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Still thinking this succa storm is going to do the unexpected, it didnt care about moutains, it bombed to a cat 2, just a typical female storm.
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504. DrewE
Quoting Maryland1:


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


Profanity? Psht, more like colorful language!
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Quoting Grothar:


I go back and forth a few times a month so no biggy. But in a way, I would have like to have been there for this. I was on Long Island for the blizzard, in I think 2006. Never saw one like it. Lightning and thunder and winds over 70 mph.


thundersnow is one of nature's most precious gifts, seen it three times and awed, each time.
Member Since: August 26, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 122
Quoting cheetaking:
969 mb? What the hell? Satellite appearance has been getting worse and worse all day, its entire south side is ingesting dry air, it no longer has any eyewall whatsoever, and there's not even any significant heavy thunderstorms left. And yet the pressure just dropped by 2 mb. Unbelievable.

This is confusing...but Sandy is not fully trpoical...instead intensifying its pressure like a nor'easter or non-tropical cyclone...

Nor'easters use upper divergence from a jet stream or upper trough to intensify...and they don't need t-storms like a tropical cyclone does.

On the other hand...a tropical cyclone NEED t-storms to intensify. The t-storms build a bubble of vertical warm air that creates an upper-level high pressure...and that upper-level high pressure's divergence is what makes a tropical cyclone intensify...
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Quoting DrewE:


Sorry about your cancelled trip! These things come in just at the right time to ruin your day!


I go back and forth a few times a month so no biggy. But in a way, I would have like to have been there for this. I was on Long Island for the blizzard, in I think 2006. Never saw one like it. Lightning and thunder and winds over 70 mph.
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 27208
Quoting DrewE:


Honestly, it's a terrifying situation no matter what happens or where she goes. We are all about to be in the middle of a giant cluster...you know the rest.


I endorse, wholeheartedly, your articulate and accurate sentiment, Drew. With a side of profanity for the mess it will create.
Member Since: August 26, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 122
You know...if their was ever a Subtropical Hurricane (a system with a shallow warm core supported by a cold core upper trough...yet has hurricane force winds)...I think Sandy is that...

I know that meteorologists will tell you their are only Subtropical Storms...not Subtropical Hurricanes...
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Quoting Grothar:


I didn't know Sammy Davis jr. played the drums.


He tapped, they drummed.
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Quoting Grothar:


Enjoy the moment. It may not happen again. :)
True, Maestro, True.
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Quoting pottery:

I did!
And it gladdens my heart to know that I know something you didn't !

:):))


Enjoy the moment. It may not happen again. :)
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 27208
495. DrewE
Quoting Grothar:


The models have been inching a little further North with each run. We have a home in Northeast Pennsylvania. I was supposed to have been on Long Island tomorrow and be there for a week, but had to cancel. Good thing I did.


Sorry about your cancelled trip! These things come in just at the right time to ruin your day!
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Quoting pottery:

It was there for a while, then went away.
I saw it and thought "why did he remove it? Second thoughts?"


I could have sworn they were there.
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 27208
493. DrewE
Quoting Maryland1:


Understood, but it is moving along a nice warm ocean, which can't hurt, especially on the rainfall generation side, which is one of our main worries. At least when the noreaster's bomb out, they are playing in colder water.


Honestly, it's a terrifying situation no matter what happens or where she goes. We are all about to be in the middle of a giant cluster...you know the rest.
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Quoting Grothar:


I didn't know Sammy Davis jr. played the drums.

I did!
And it gladdens my heart to know that I know something you didn't !

:):))
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 27208
URGENT - WINTER WEATHER MESSAGE
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE CHARLESTON WV
1046 PM EDT FRI OCT 26 2012

...THE FIRST SIGNIFICANT SNOWFALL OF THE SEASON...

.THE REMNANTS OF HURRICANE SANDY WILL LIKELY MOVE INTO NORTHERN
WEST VIRGINIA...TO INTERACT WITH A STALLING COLD FRONT...AND ITS
ASSOCIATED UPPER LEVEL TROUGH.

WVZ038-046-047-271100-
/O.CON.KRLX.WS.A.0004.121029T0600Z-121031T0000Z/
WEBSTER-POCAHONTAS-RANDOLPH-
INCLUDING THE CITIES OF...COWEN...MARLINTON...ELKINS
1046 PM EDT FRI OCT 26 2012

...WINTER STORM WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM LATE SUNDAY NIGHT
THROUGH TUESDAY EVENING...

* LOCATIONS...POCAHONTAS...RANDOLPH...WEBSTER COUNTIES.

* HAZARD TYPES...HEAVY SNOW...AND STRONG GUSTY WINDS.

* SNOW ACCUMULATIONS...10 TO 14 INCHES.

* TIMING...FIRST SNOWFALL OF THE SEASON WILL START LATE SUNDAY
NIGHT. THE HIGHEST ACCUMULATIONS WILL OCCUR MONDAY THROUGH
TUESDAY.

* IMPACTS...THE HEAVY WET SNOW MAY BRING DOWN TREE LIMBS...
CAUSING POWER OUTAGES OR FLUCTUATIONS. UNTREATED ROADS MAY
BECOME VERY SLICK ACROSS THE HIGHER WINDWARD TERRAIN.

* WINDS...NORTHWEST 20 TO 30 MPH WITH GUSTS UP TO 55 MPH.

* TEMPERATURES...IN THE LOWER 30S.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

A WINTER STORM WATCH MEANS THERE IS A POTENTIAL FOR SIGNIFICANT
SNOW...SLEET...OR ICE ACCUMULATIONS THAT MAY IMPACT TRAVEL.
CONTINUE TO MONITOR THE LATEST FORECASTS.
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489. DrewE
Quoting Grothar:


The models have been inching a little further North with each run. We have a home in Northeast Pennsylvania. I was supposed to have been on Long Island tomorrow and be there for a week, but had to cancel. Good thing I did.


I know what the models are saying, and I'm usually wrong, heh, but I'm getting a strong vibe that this baby is going to track into the Delmarva or Virginia/Maryland.
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Quoting DrewE:


Water temperatures won't guide this storm, it's most likely going to have a cold core by the time it's a couple of hours from shore.

Even if it were to land as a purely tropical entity, water temperatures wouldn't dictate the direction unless it had seriously debilitated from here until the left hook towards the coast. Tropical depressions tend to follow where the most convection is.


Understood, but it is moving along a nice warm ocean, which can't hurt, especially on the rainfall generation side, which is one of our main worries. At least when the noreaster's bomb out, they are playing in colder water.
Member Since: August 26, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 122
Quoting Grothar:
I guess my comment didn't take in post 474. I just put it in.

It was there for a while, then went away.
I saw it and thought "why did he remove it? Second thoughts?"
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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.


I didn't know Sammy Davis jr. played the drums.
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 27208


Big Wind Field Sandy...
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I guess my comment didn't take in post 474. I just put it in.
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 27208
483. DrewE
Quoting Maryland1:


Water temp, Cape May is 7 degrees higher than normal. All the way up from NC, the water is very warm for this time of year. Was 77 degrees at Oregon Inlet when I was fishing down there 10 days ago. Stream is warmer.


Water temperatures won't guide this storm, it's most likely going to have a cold core by the time it's a couple of hours from shore.

Even if it were to land as a purely tropical entity, water temperatures wouldn't dictate the direction unless it had seriously debilitated from here onwards until the left hook towards the coast. Tropical depressions tend to follow where the most convection is.
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Quoting cheetaking:
969 mb? What the hell? Satellite appearance has been getting worse and worse all day, its entire south side is ingesting dry air, it no longer has any eyewall whatsoever, and there's not even any significant heavy thunderstorms left. And yet the pressure just dropped by 2 mb. Unbelievable.
And that is why satellite appearance can be deceiving, my theory is those winds have finally mixed down to the surface to reflect the lower pressure of the system.
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Quoting DrewE:


I'm thinking Cape May or just slightly south of there.

Though that would literally be worst case scenario for VA-Long Island.


The models have been inching a little further North with each run. We have a home in Northeast Pennsylvania. I was supposed to have been on Long Island tomorrow and be there for a week, but had to cancel. Good thing I did.
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 27208
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.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
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Quoting KoritheMan:
One thing's for certain: I'll definitely have an interesting time writing a TCR for Sandy...

She may have some more surprises up her sleeve too.
She's been pretty unique so far... her size, timing, keeping her profile through Jam. and Cuba, and now she wants to mate with a winter storm????
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Quoting DrewE:


I'm thinking Cape May or just slightly south of there.

Though that would literally be worst case scenario for VA-Long Island.


Water temp, Cape May is 7 degrees higher than normal. All the way up from NC, the water is very warm for this time of year. Was 77 degrees at Oregon Inlet when I was fishing down there 10 days ago. Stream is warmer.
Member Since: August 26, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 122
476. DrewE
Quoting vegegrower:
The actual track compared to the forcast tracks have sandy further east by now any comments?


Personally, I believe she is going to make landfall right on the Delmarva Peninsula, or even right over the Chesapeake Bay.

The models are going to shift quite a bit north and south from here until around T-12 hours, most likely.
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Quoting vegegrower:
The actual track compared to the forcast tracks have sandy further east by now any comments?


They did nudge the forecast eastward for the first 24-36 hours, but left it unchanged afterward.
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My guess is Sandy will make landfall between Ocean County and Monmouth County.

Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 27208
We are continuing to get tropical storm force gusts with regularity here in the Turks and Caicos tonight.
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472. whitewabit (Mod)
Quoting pottery:

No power, maybe.


Most likely ..
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The actual track compared to the forcast tracks have sandy further east by now any comments?
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One thing's for certain: I'll definitely have an interesting time writing a TCR for Sandy...
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469. DrewE
Quoting Grothar:
This is just a wild guess, but I think Sandy will make landfall between Ocean County and Monmouth County in New Jersey. Just a wild guess.



I'm thinking Cape May or just slightly south of there.

Though that would literally be worst case scenario for VA-Long Island.
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It's coming almost exactly right over my house... well isn't that great
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Quoting whitewabit:


Haven't seen him on ..

No power, maybe.
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
"AN
INTERESTING NOTE IS THAT THE DROPSONDE DATA INDICATES THAT THE
STRONGEST WINDS IN THE CONVECTION AT FLIGHT-LEVEL ARE SIGNIFICANTLY
LESS THAN THOSE NEAR THE SURFACE."


I don't understand that part
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465. whitewabit (Mod)
Quoting pottery:
Anyone heard from Baha today?


Haven't seen him on ..
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Quoting Articuno:

What part of MD you in? (are you?)

I'm in the pasadena area.


Frederick: But I have enough friends down your way that have been busy pulling boats and used to live down there. Be safe.
Member Since: August 26, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 122
Quoting Grothar:
This is just a wild guess, but I think Sandy will make landfall between Ocean County and Monmouth County in New Jersey. Just a wild guess.



You saw it first.
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969 mb? What the hell? Satellite appearance has been getting worse and worse all day, its entire south side is ingesting dry air, it no longer has any eyewall whatsoever, and there's not even any significant heavy thunderstorms left. And yet the pressure just dropped by 2 mb. Unbelievable.
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This is just a wild guess, but I think Sandy will make landfall between Ocean County and Monmouth County in New Jersey. Just a wild guess.

Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 27208
Quoting Grothar:


What annoys me are those plastic slides on the salami packages that never close, and the tight twist seals on the arthritis pill bottles.

Well, if you eat enough salami, which is basically Steroids, AntiBiotic and Growth Hormone, you wont need the arthritis pills.....

That's the Good News.
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Have any of you heard of this "Sandy" storm? Sounds bad.
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So much for it being downgraded. I did think it was beginning to make that transition until I saw the shortwave image.

...SANDY REMAINS A HURRICANE AS IT MOVES SLOWLY NORTHWARD AWAY FROM THE BAHAMAS... 11:00 PM EDT Fri Oct 26 Location: 27.7°N 77.1°W Moving: N at 7 mph Min pressure: 969 mb Max sustained: 75 mph
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NHC is showing a strengthening Category 1 hurricane hitting the shore of New Jersey/Delaware. Uncertain though of whether or not it will be fully tropical at this time.
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 24574
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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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