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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I cant believe I left South Carolina and came for a visit to West Virginia. I have to be the only one to do this!
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Quoting longislander102:


As a Long Islander myself, I can tell you the grocery store was packed, and a couple of gas stations had some short lines. Some of us are heeding the warnings.



I appreciate that.. btw, I'm a former resident of Mastic Beach
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Quoting reedzone:
It's not just hype... I really wish Long Islanders would stop blowing this off like it's some Noreaster... It's the second Perfect Storm.


don't worry reed
in a few days they will know
exactly what it is
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 173 Comments: 54283
Quoting reedzone:
It's not just hype... I really wish Long Islanders would stop blowing this off like it's some Noreaster... It's the second Perfect Storm.


As a Long Islander myself, I can tell you the grocery store was packed, and a couple of gas stations had some short lines. Some of us are heeding the warnings.

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Quoting guygee:
Freshwater flooding is usually the biggest killer, big power outages being more of an economic blow than an actual threat to life. Falling trees definitely will take their toll one way or another, but I would hate to be in some mountain holler when all that tropical rain comes pouring down.

People have mostly learned to get away from the surge or it would be the biggest killer by far. The fresh water flooding is not as predictable I think. Hard to know ahead of time where training rains will set up. I think people get over confident in their cars, too.
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)




ATLANTIC CO.--As South Jersey prepares for whatever Sandy has in store, many say they're not taking any chances this time around. Many people in Atlantic County say they%u2019re preparing early.

The work has begun in preparation of Sandy's arrival at the Jersey Shore. In Margate, public works crews pushed sand around to create dunes where there are none.

%u201CWe worked like three days already.%u201D In nearby Longport, people were securing patio furniture, preparing for the strong winds sandy is expected to bring. %u201CGot a lot of calls,%u201D said Pedro Belasco, a worker for C. Alexander Building & Maintenance, %u201Cgot a couple houses up here in Longport, Margate.%u201D

%u201CIm worried about two things, one - high tides, not wind, and the second one is that we lose our electric. Which is why John Baker of Ventnor Heights decided to buy a generator Friday afternoon, preparing in advance for potential power problems. %u201CIt's a smart idea for everybody to do this,%u201D he said.

At Lowe%u2019s in Egg Harbor Township, they've been flooded with customers looking for generators. Employees said people started lining up at 6:00 Friday morning, which means they quickly sold out of more than 200 of them. There should be more on the way, though, because lots of people say they want to do everything they can to be prepared. %u201CThis is for my daughter in North Jersey,%u201D said Mike Laborda of Wayne, Passaic County, %u201Cthey don't have anymore generators there at all.%u201D

Officials with Atlantic City Electric say they've been preparing for the past three days for this storm. %u201CGeting their trucks ready, we get our suppliers notified, make sure we have enough material ready for this type of magnitude or an event,%u201D said Vince Maione, Region President of Atlantic City Electric.

It's an event county officials believe could be devastating. %u201CThis is serious,%u201D said Atlantic County Executive, Dennis Levinson, %u201Cthis is a storm of historical proportions, this is the real deal.%u201D

While no evacuations have been ordered in Atlantic County as of Friday evening, officials urge everyone to be prepared for the worst - something many are taking seriously. %u201CIt's not looking good,%u201D said Laborda.
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 39055
Quoting jcpoulard:
Where can I find the GFS model (long range) ? Please !


Link
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 173 Comments: 54283
It's not just hype... I really wish Long Islanders would stop blowing this off like it's some Noreaster... It's the second Perfect Storm.
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180 hr extended pos dev


large errors apply
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 173 Comments: 54283
Quoting interstatelover7165:
Will Sandy still look like this say, 6-12 hours from now?
it is supposed to enlarge in size, maybe double or more..dont think an exact timeline can be made just yet..it has to interact with that cold fron coming across the country first i imagine, then it becomes the huge monster storm, maybe not until it gets up to the carolinas
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 39055
Quoting OHGamer:
have there been any projection maps of where there might be heavy snow falling out of this monster storm. I'm in Columbus OH and on Tues 30th have to drive about 50 miles away for a meeting so wondering if I'll be needing to refresh my winter driving skills (which, after the non-winter last year, are really lacking..good thing I'm not back home in Watertown NY with the Lake Effect).

Check your local NWS forecasts. I tried looking for Columbus, Ohio and wound up with Marble Cliff, Ohio.
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In addition to the four states mentioned above--North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, and New York--a state of emergency has also been declared for Washington, D.C.

Christopher Burt, WU's Weather Historian, just published a great entry on Sandy-like storms in the past, Late Season Tropical Storms that have affected the U.S. north of Hatteras. If you're looking for precedents, he's compiled a nice list of candidates--though even then he finishes with the following:
If "Frankenstorm" pans out to be as powerful and odd as the models currently forecast, then it may be said that this storm will be unique in the annals of American weather history.

The storm may be unique because of:

1) Its strength for a tropical-originated storm to impact the mid-Atlantic and/or New England regions at this late time of the season (after the last week of October or thereafter). This would hold true if the forecast minimum pressure falls to 955 mb (28.20") or lower as it approaches the mid-Atlantic coast on Monday or Tuesday.

2) The potential curvature of the storm track from well offshore at the 37-40 latitude and then perhaps turn west and barrel into the mid-Atlantic coastline. It is extremely rare for any storm (tropical or extra-tropical) to move westward at this latitude and make landfall in New Jersey or Delaware. Remember that there are only about three known instances of a hurricane or strong tropical storm to ever make landfall in New Jersey or Delaware at any time of the year.

4) Whether the storm is officially tropical or extra-tropical, no storm like this (if the current models are correct) has yet been observed in the records of modern meteorology.
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Where can I find the GFS model (long range) ? Please !
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162 hr extended pos dev


large errors apply
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 173 Comments: 54283
evacuate large swaths of ny city??????? please, let us know how well that goes?? just curious... oh, the daily,, oh, thats ok,,well, the waldorf astoria cut there rates by 200 $$ ,, tryin my best to get a ride up there,, have a safer weekend
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Quoting FlyingScotsman:
Tropical Storm force winds are 275 miles out? Someone tell that to Buoy 41002, which has started reporting them now 365 miles from the center of Sandy.


They don't extend out the same distance in all directions. I think that is more of an average of all quadrants...
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So far in Daytona just lovely cooling rain and light winds. If anything it is so very welcome to be able to for the first time in about 20 months to turn off the AC and let the windows cool and air things out. Love and blessings to those that have been impacted already and those still in possible danger.
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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

For comparison's sake, Ike was a 5.2 IIRC. And remember, this system is expected to intensify and become much, much larger than it is now. Irene made people complacent, even though that was destructive it didn't live up to the hype. But Isaac, only being a Category 1, did live up to expectations that it would be destructive. This is why we need a new scale, because people look at the winds and totally forget, or do not know that the number one killer is storm surge. If there's one thing I wish TWC would start doing, instead of giving winter storms names (even though I think it's a good idea) is to start issuing a scale that focuses on a combination, or average, of the storm surge, maximum rainfall rates, and wind speed.
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 24157
Will Sandy still look like this say, 6-12 hours from now?
Member Since: August 18, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 994
153 hrs dev poss in sw carb

Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 173 Comments: 54283
153 hrs centred over southern quebec

Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 173 Comments: 54283
Quoting OHGamer:
have there been any projection maps of where there might be heavy snow falling out of this monster storm. I'm in Columbus OH and on Tues 30th have to drive about 50 miles away for a meeting so wondering if I'll be needing to refresh my winter driving skills (which, after the non-winter last year, are really lacking..good thing I'm not back home in Watertown NY with the Lake Effect).


Heavy snow predicted for northern West Virginia so far.
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82. Skyepony (Mod)
As many as 7,300 customers were without power because of outages today, in Brevard County, FL. Currently there is 800.
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i know u guys are worried about sandy but that post about valerie, where is it heading?
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I've heard they moving in power restoration staff in early but I've seen this area have so many problems with wind/trees/power in recent past that I would expect a major problem with that.
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132 hr directly overhead east toronto burbs

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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:


thanks for that...looks like I'll be needing to prep for winter driving uff.
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Quoting centex:
Not heard that rain is expected to be big problem with this system. Granted some area's may very well have issues with that. This is not a normal system.
It is a tropical system right now and its genesis is from the tropics so personally I would be planning on a lot of rain, especially on the east-facing slopes of the Appalachians. Better safe than drowned.
Member Since: September 16, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 3171
Quoting centex:
Wonder what will end of being the biggest problem with Sandy, Surge, fresh water (rain) or wind. Sounds like it may be wind over large area because of all the trees it will down and extended power outages (overwhelmed power restoration staff) and tree's killing people and damaging structures, not sure about storm surge because it may depend exactly where it goes and if it impacts most vulnerable area. Don’t like how it’s expected to intensify Sun/Mon .


All of the above.
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Should I Stay in My Apartment or Condo?
Under most circumstances, you should stay in your apartment or condo during a hurricane IF AND ONLY IF:

You live on the third floor or below.
You have confidence in the strength of the construction.
You have shutters for all of the windows, doors, and sliding doors, or they have impact glass.
You are outside the evacuation zone.
If any one of these criterion is NOT met, you should secure your apartment or condo as best you can and find safe shelter elsewhere. If you are NOT in an evacuation zone and your building is well built, if possible, make arrangements to ride out the storm in a hallway, stairwell, or safe storm with no windows on the second or third storm.
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 39055
Quoting will40:
Okay, I guess I was looking at it wrong, the final point in the cone looked further North to me, thank you for the correction. Going to go back to lurking now, look and sound less stupid that way :)



you are right about the final point but where she comes ashore is south of the last tracks.. from last blog


Keep in mind she will make landfall at
Quoting AllStar17:


You are telling me that if the storm makes landfall in Delaware that Eastport, ME is LIKELY to get power outages?


Have you looked at the present and potential size of Sandy? The potential is certainly there.
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Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 173 Comments: 54283
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 173 Comments: 54283
Will Sandy still look like this say, 6-12 hours from now?
Member Since: August 18, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 994
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 173 Comments: 54283
Quoting guygee:
Freshwater flooding is usually the biggest killer, big power outages being more of an economic blow than an actual threat to life. Falling trees definitely will take their toll one way or another, but I would hate to be in some mountain holler when all that tropical rain comes pouring down.
Not heard that rain is expected to be big problem with this system. Granted some area's may very well have issues with that. This is not a normal system.
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from crown weather..........
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 39055
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
18z GFS is quite a bit farther south than the 12z GFS. Looking like a central/southern New Jersey of Maryland landfall.
my guess is still the delmar area but the models will jog back and forth this weekend as new data is recieved.
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 39055
111
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 173 Comments: 54283
For folks in Central NC from NWS Raleigh:

Link

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Quoting centex:
Wonder what will end of being the biggest problem with Sandy, Surge, fresh water (rain) or wind. Sounds like it may be wind over large area because of all the trees it will down and extended power outages (overwhelmed power restoration staff) and tree's killing people and damaging structures, not sure about storm surge because it may depend exactly where it goes and if it impacts most vulnerable area. Don’t like how it’s expected to intensify Sun/Mon .
Freshwater flooding is usually the biggest killer, big power outages being more of an economic blow than an actual threat to life. Falling trees definitely will take their toll one way or another, but I would hate to be in some mountain holler when all that tropical rain comes pouring down.
Member Since: September 16, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 3171
18z GFS is quite a bit farther south than the 12z GFS. Looking like a central/southern New Jersey of Maryland landfall.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32251
96hrs
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 173 Comments: 54283
61. 7544
is sandy moving or stalled ?
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Quoting skook:
I just flew in from Tampa to Philly. some bumps not not bad at all during the flight. hopefully I can get back to Tampa next Wednesday without any issues.
Hi, wens you may still be dealing with Sandy, its supposed to be hanging around for a few days..best advice keep in contact with the airline...good luck to you up there
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 39055
GFS at 84 hours
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 39055
have there been any projection maps of where there might be heavy snow falling out of this monster storm. I'm in Columbus OH and on Tues 30th have to drive about 50 miles away for a meeting so wondering if I'll be needing to refresh my winter driving skills (which, after the non-winter last year, are really lacking..good thing I'm not back home in Watertown NY with the Lake Effect).
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Quoting Angela Fritz:
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.
In laymen's terms, "the dams is gonna bust and the levees gonna break".
Member Since: September 16, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 3171
Wonder what will end of being the biggest problem with Sandy, Surge, fresh water (rain) or wind. Sounds like it may be wind over large area because of all the trees it will down and extended power outages (overwhelmed power restoration staff) and tree's killing people and damaging structures, not sure about storm surge because it may depend exactly where it goes and if it impacts most vulnerable area. Don’t like how it’s expected to intensify Sun/Mon .
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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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