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 barbamz:


Sure ... but the COC of Sandy seems to head way East in a hurry now. Maybe she doesn't want to mate with the ferocious trough, lol? Anyway she's right on the projected path.

oh wow, talk about ending the hurricane season with a bang and then unfortunately a whimper.
looks grave.
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Quoting Ameister12:
Afternoon everybody!

If anyone cares, Typhoon Son-tinh is a powerful category 3 typhoon.

I'd still take Sandy + the 5 1/2 ponts.
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Quoting Chicklit:

GFS at 70 Hrs. (3 days)
GFDL is in about the same area.
HWRF takes Sandy further north, looking like New London, CT landfall.


the Electric Boat shipyard there must be a bustle of prep. My sub was in a floating drydock there during tropical storm Carrie 1972. A LARGE pain in the fanny.
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Quoting chicagowatcher:
Any streaming news coverage of this storm yet?

Sorry (don't have access to TWC) :) Any east coast stations that anyone likes that's doing live stream coverage?

Thanks!!
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1302. LargoFl
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 36861
Cold air advection in progress over SE TX, chill in the air, heading for low 40s tomm morning. This shows how dynamic the situation is for the big event that is playing out with Sandy, gonna be one to watch
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1300. pottery
Quoting Thrawst:
Anyone heard from BahaHurican? Any info that was said?

He has not been around here for 2 days....
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1299. barbamz
Quoting Chicklit:
If you click on "fronts" you can see a melding of the systems is starting to take place.


Sure ... but the COC of Sandy seems to head way east in a hurry now. Maybe she doesn't want to mate with the ferocious trough, lol? Anyway she's right on the projected path.
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1298. Thrawst
Anyone heard from BahaHurican? Any info that was said?
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1297. LargoFl
Quoting K8eCane:


my news in wilmington said improvement by monday
yep saturday sunday and parts of monday, depending
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 36861
Gusts are beginning to reach 30 mph here. Should increase to 50-60 mph overnight and early tomorrow morning.
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1295. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 169 Comments: 53296
1294. K8eCane
Quoting LargoFl:
get ready for several days of this


my news in wilmington said improvement by monday
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Quoting Ameister12:
You thinks she's massive now, but she's only going to get bigger.


It really is a hurricane within a noreaster, just like the forecast said.
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1292. LargoFl
get ready for several days of this
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 36861
1291. 7544
looks like the above pic the clouds are expanding back building to the south all the way down to the lake again is she still expanding in size at this our thats why the winds are still very strong ove to the se fl area again tia
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1290. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 169 Comments: 53296
1289. LargoFl
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 36861
1288. Thrawst
Quoting Articuno:

Worse then Irene? :O


Yes it was worse than Irene! Will post pictures of the local beach later... dramatically different look now.
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1287. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 169 Comments: 53296
Quoting ge2655:
Winds have really picked up here (midway between Fort Lauderdale and Miami, a mile west of the ocean) since earlier this morning. There have also been more frequent and intense wind gusts blasting the trees. Beautiful clear sky but the occasional puffy clouds are zooming by from NW to SE.

Regards,
-Gary
Hollywood Florida


we are under the outflow clouds, no sunshine for us.
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1285. LargoFl
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 36861
If you click on "fronts" you can see a melding of the systems is starting to take place.
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1283. LargoFl
Quoting FLWeatherFreak91:
mid 40s in my locale. :) you get the wind, I get the cold nights
yeah to my north its gonna get cold alright, but Im going to love thoselow 70's high temps daytime
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1282. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 169 Comments: 53296

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1280. hydrus
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1279. ge2655
Winds have really picked up here (midway between Fort Lauderdale and Miami, a mile west of the ocean) since earlier this morning. There have also been more frequent and intense wind gusts blasting the trees. Beautiful clear sky but the occasional puffy clouds are zooming by from NW to SE.

Regards,
-Gary
Hollywood Florida
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1278. wxmod
Global air pollution over Greenland. MODIS satellite photo today.

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1277. guygee
As the forecast unfolds we will definitely want to watch the polar analysis such as this one to verify if the predicted massive blocking high is building over the far North Atlantic through NE Canada.
Member Since: September 16, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 3141
Product: Air Force Vortex Message (URNT12 KNHC)
Transmitted: 27th day of the month at 16:55Z
Aircraft: Air Force Aircraft (Last 3 digits of the tail number are 302)
Storm Number & Year: 18L in 2012
Storm Name: Sandy (flight in the North Atlantic basin)
Mission Number: 15
Observation Number: 14
A. Time of Center Fix: 27th day of the month at 15:37:40Z
B. Center Fix Coordinates: 29°18'N 75°44'W (29.3N 75.7333W)
B. Center Fix Location: 309 miles (497 km) to the NNE (19°) from Nassau, Bahamas.
C. Minimum Height at Standard Level: 1,071m (3,514ft) at 850mb
D. Estimated (by SFMR or visually) Maximum Surface Wind: 40kts (~ 46.0mph)
E. Location of the Estimated Maximum Surface Wind: 22 nautical miles (25 statute miles) to the ENE (64°) of center fix
F. Maximum Flight Level Wind Inbound: From 154° at 52kts (From the SSE at ~ 59.8mph)
G. Location of Maximum Flight Level Wind Inbound: 35 nautical miles (40 statute miles) to the ENE (66°) of center fix
H. Minimum Sea Level Pressure: 960mb (28.35 inHg) - Extrapolated
I. Maximum Flight Level Temp & Pressure Altitude Outside Eye: 17°C (63°F) at a pressure alt. of 1,525m (5,003ft)
J. Maximum Flight Level Temp & Pressure Altitude Inside Eye: 24°C (75°F) at a pressure alt. of 1,532m (5,026ft)
K. Dewpoint Temp (collected at same location as temp inside eye): 18°C (64°F)
K. Sea Surface Temp (collected at same location as temp inside eye): Not Available
L. Eye Character: Not Available
M. Eye Shape: Not Available
N. Fix Determined By: Penetration, Radar, Wind, Pressure and Temperature
N. Fix Level: 850mb
O. Navigational Fix Accuracy: 0.02 nautical miles
O. Meteorological Accuracy: 2 nautical miles
Remarks Section - Remarks That Were Decoded...
Maximum Wind Outbound: 71kts (~ 81.7mph) in the southwest quadrant at 16:11:00Z
Maximum Flight Level Wind: 71kts (~ 81.7mph) in the southwest quadrant at 16:11:00Z
Sea Level Pressure Extrapolation From: 850mb
Remarks Section - Additional Remarks...
SPIRAL BAND TSTMS NW SIDE OF CENTER
SONDE DATA UNAVAILABLE
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Quoting CybrTeddy:


That makes the total death toll up to 51.


There was a very persistent secondary blob of moisture - almost analagous to an earthquake aftershock - that continued to affect eastern Haiti and the D.R. after Sandy proper had moved away.
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Quoting LargoFl:
supposed to give me here..mornings low 50's this coming week after sandy finishes with us with the winds etc
mid 40s in my locale. :) you get the wind, I get the cold nights
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1273. pottery
In the meantime, in Trinidad....

Temp 93
Humid. 58%
Heat Index 107........

Y'all can send Sandy down here when you're done with her. Snow and all.
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1272. LargoFl
Quoting islander101010:
impressive cold front in the gulf moving south
supposed to give me here..mornings low 50's this coming week after sandy finishes with us with the winds etc
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 36861
Quoting chicagowatcher:
Any streaming news coverage of this storm yet?
TWC, and most local stations on the east coast.
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Quoting stormchaser19:


I don't have the link, but is true...A respectable Journalist of my country post on twitter that the deaths are risen up from 26 to 34


That makes the total death toll up to 51.
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 23568
impressive cold front in the gulf moving south
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Any streaming news coverage of this storm yet?
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1267. ncstorm
12z GFS 10m Winds at 84 hours

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1266. LargoFl
Quoting 7544:
v

yeap pretty strong winds aall over fl still from sandy look how far away she is this should give folks upnorth a hint of what they going to get be interesting to see if they will will extend the wind adv for all of fl again suppose to expire at 8pm tonight lets see but the winds are very strong
they sure are strong and we are far away from this storm
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 36861
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

Do you have a link?


I don't have the link, but is true...A respectable Journalist of my country post on twitter that the deaths are risen up from 26 to 34
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they announced the new death tolls with pictures twc
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1263. 7544
Quoting LargoFl:
v

yeap pretty strong winds aall over fl still from sandy look how far away she is this should give folks upnorth a hint of what they going to get be interesting to see if they will will extend the wind adv for all of fl again suppose to expire at 8pm tonight lets see but the winds are very strong
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1262. LargoFl
new jersey.................“We should not underestimate the impact of this storm, and we should not assume our predictions will be wrong,” Christie said.

Evacuation centers will be open for all those in need, he said. Also, everyone around the state should prepare for power outages of up to 10 days, he said.

Those on the shoreline who are not on the Barrier Islands should consider voluntary evacuation, Christie said.

New Jersey state police Col. Rick Fuentes said tropical storm-force winds of 40 to 70 mph will blow statewide, and hurricane-force winds will be blowing along the shoreline.

Fuentes reminded anyone subject to an evacuation order to obey. First responders will also be seeking shelter once tropical storm-force winds begin blowing, and may not be available for rescues.
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 36861

GFS at 72 Hrs. (3 days)
GFDL is in about the same area.
HWRF takes Sandy further north, looking like New London, CT landfall.
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1260. LargoFl
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 36861
i think sandy has a vary good ch of being retired
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1258. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 169 Comments: 53296
Quoting stormchaser19:



More bad news from Sandy....The deaths in haiti increased to 34, are saying haitian authorities

Do you have a link?
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1256. ncstorm
From the Starnews in Wilmington, NC

12 p.m. update

As tropical storm winds from Hurricane Sandy near North Carolina's coast, meteorologists say heavy, consistent gusts will likely arrive in the Cape Fear region Saturday evening.
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Local Surf from Hurricane Sandy

The Frying Pan Shoals buoy, about 35 miles southeast of Wilmington, recorded gusts up to 57 miles per hour around 10 a.m. Saturday. The minimum speed for winds in a tropical storm is 39 miles per hour.

A buoy by Jacksonville, meanwhile recorded sustained tropical storm gusts.

While rain is supposed to fall in the Cape Fear region throughout Saturday, winds probably won't pick up until nightfall said Josh Weiss, a National Weather Service meteorologist.

Weiss added that while there may be some tropical storm-like gusts before nightfall, sustained heavy winds wouldn't arrive until then.

Rainfall is already causing some problems in Wilmington, though.
The Cape Fear Fair and Expo has been cancelled for Saturday.

Skip Watkins, the event's organizer, said a later start would be considered for Sunday, depending on weather and the fairgrounds' conditions.

Standing water was also reported at Carolina Beach Avenue North and Canal Drive in Carolina Beach.

Flooding shouldn't be much of a problem for the Cape Fear region, Weiss said, adding that very little rainfall in the past couple weeks has decreased the risk.

“We're projecting one to three inches of rain in the Cape Fear region, and that shouldn't really produce any inland flooding concerns,” Weiss said. “The only concerns we have are coastal flooding tonight, and that's associated more with high tides.”
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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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