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: 56 - 6

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

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 .
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
One of the hardest things I find when you have major damage to your house is accomodation. My fav thing is having a decent tent. You can pitch it in your yard and stay with your property. Just have all your camping gear like you are going on a trip for a couple of weeks. Gives you time to get things sorted.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
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.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
new NAM at 84 hours......
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 42267
Awesome - KMHX (Newport/Morehead City NC) radar is down. Techs are enroute to see why...but not very good timing for a radar to be going down :/
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
NAEFS model at 84 hours, less and less time to prepare folks..
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 42267
Keep..that is a LOT of rain! that would still have rain over us until Tuesday..
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 16225
Quoting AllStar17:


When it says "likely," though, I think of that as "widespread". I don't think Eastport, ME would recieve widespread outages on the current path. I'm just using Eastport for an example, nothing else.
This is why I hate TWC's graphics department. They've dumbed down their operations so much that at best you get vague words. What does likely mean to you? What does likely mean to me? Better stay tuned in to find out what they really meant!

I'm so thankful this site exists in times like these. There's real information here.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
WASHINGTON D.C WILL NOT EXCAPE HURRICANE SANDY...Link
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 42267
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 178 Comments: 56141
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
img src="">


mannnn!!!!!!
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 16225
POINT PLEASANT BEACH, N.J. — From the lowest lying areas of the Jersey shore, where residents were already being encouraged to leave, to the state's northern highlands, where sandbags were being filled and cars moved into parking lots on high ground, New Jersey began preparing in earnest Friday for Hurricane Sandy.

The killer storm was feared to be capable of causing record flooding and $1 billion in damages in New Jersey alone.

The Cape May County emergency management office issued voluntary evacuation orders for Friday and Saturday for barrier islands. Those evacuation orders will become mandatory on Sunday.

In Ocean County, the beachfront town of Mantoloking also issued a voluntary evacuation order on Friday, and several other shore towns were considering doing likewise.

In Pompton Lakes, town workers were handing out sandbags to residents of flood-prone neighborhoods, and Manville planned to activate its reverse 911 system Friday night, urging people to take precautions as the storm drew nearer.

There were long lines for gasoline and groceries in Hamilton Township, outside Trenton, and hardware stores across the state reported a run on people filling propane tanks in case they needed to cook on grills. An Ace Hardware store had 150 generators in its warehouse on Thursday; by Friday afternoon, they had all been sold.

Forecasters were predicting Sandy, already responsible for dozens of deaths in the Caribbean, would hook up with two other weather systems, bringing heavy rain, high winds and flooding to the East Coast.

The National Hurricane Center on Friday predicted the storm could pass over the Cape May-Delaware area late Monday or early Tuesday. But winds and rain are likely to extend for hundreds of miles, as far west as Ohio and West Virginia.

"The takeaway message is that our region is currently in the path of a very dangerous storm," said Gary Szatkowski, a meteorologist with the Philadelphia/Mount Holly office of the National Weather Service. "Even if the eventual path changes, we will still feel dire effects from this storm."

Sandy is heading north after pounding the Caribbean. A wintry storm from the west and frigid air from Canada could merge with it next week, creating a meteorological mess. Forecasters say New Jersey could get 5 to 10 inches of rain, winds approaching 60 mph, and record-setting coastal and river flooding.

Gov. Chris Christie, who was on his way back to the state from a political trip to North Carolina, urged residents to prepare for a "serious storm."

Mary Goepfert, a spokeswoman for the state Office of Emergency Management, said the storm could be worse than Tropical Storm Irene last year.

"This is a very serious situation where it appears at this point that the western part of the state will be affected, too," she said. "If it stays on track, we'll be on northern end of the storm, which is the worst place to be. The whole state will be impacted in some way."


The calm before the storm is reflected in this Friday, Oct. 26, 2012 photo of the sun rising over the still-tranquil ocean at Point Pleasant beach N.J. The Jersey shore was busy making preparations for a massive storm making its way up the East Coast that could make a direct hit on New Jersey early next week. (AP Photo/Wayne Parry)

The Property Casualty Insurers Association of America said last year that Irene caused $915 million in insured damages in New Jersey. If Sandy is a worse storm, that figure could easily soar past $1 billion.

Residents were taking scary warnings about Sandy seriously.

Boat owners pulled their vessels out of the water. Workers removed the canopy from a boardwalk merry-go-round in Point Pleasant Beach. And boardwalk arcades were sandbagged.

Atlantic City's casinos made contingency plans for possibly having to close, like they did for three days last year when Tropical Storm Irene approached.

And utilities, still smarting over widespread criticism of their performance after Irene and a freak October snowstorm last year that left thousands without power for days on end, were calling in extra workers and lining up replacement crews from other states.

Before 7 a.m., 10 people had arranged to yank their boats out of the water at the Southside Marina in Point Pleasant Beach.

"We're taking them out as fast as we can," said marina employee Jim Martin. "We did three yesterday, we have 10 lined up today and at least six more for tomorrow, but I guarantee it'll be more than that as this thing gets closer. Last year when Irene was approaching, we did 25 in one day."

Greg Smith of Wall Township was one of those moving his boat to dry ground.

"If it wasn't for the full moon early next week, I might not move it," he said. "But the problem is nobody knows exactly where it's gonna go."

If Sandy makes landfall over the state as a hurricane it would be only the third one to do so in the last 200 years and the first since 1903.
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 42267
hey the E cost how about sending some rain and wind are way in CA i guss i this have too send the E cost a bill
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting WeatherNerdPR:
Thanks Angela and Jeff.
Sandy has quite the large windfield.

And that wind field is only going to get larger as she nears the East Coast. Heavy rain/snow, high winds for a sustained period, and somewhat leafy tress equal power outages. Power outages aren't the only wind threat though as trees will be knocked down, loose objects blown around, and even some minor structural damage.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Doesn't take much to get a power outage, back in the old days in Key West, just rain would make the power go out, not so much now. But when you have a bit of power out here power out there it adds up and takes a long time to fix. Just pray you are the first inline.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 178 Comments: 56141
The superstorm expected to develop from Hurricane Sandy probably will mean that millions of people lose power for a week as airplanes are grounded and coastal areas are flooded by tidal surge and rain.
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 42267
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.
and that is supposed to expand
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 42267
img src="">
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 178 Comments: 56141
thanks again Angela!

my dad just told me they have some flooding already in kill devil hills in the Outer banks. they're in for a long weekend.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
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.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo declares State of Emergency as Hurricane Sandy barrels through Caribbean, killing 40

Sandy could be ‘worst case’ superstorm, more powerful than Hurricane Irene; officials will decide Saturday whether to evacuate wide swaths of New York City


Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/new-york-prepa res-sandy-pounds-bahamas-article-1.1193028#ixzz2AR aISZe9
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 42267
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 42267
Angela does a decent job when she fills in for Jeff. Nice Job Angela (I have a really good friend named Angela and I messed up a while back and called her Angie... WRONG... Angela :) )
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Thanks Dr. Masters and Angela, I really hope people in Sandy's path are taking this seriously and are preparing.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

Tropical storm force winds currently extend out 275 miles from the center, and this is likely to just expand over the coming days. A combination of those winds and very heavy rainfall will cause trees to fall and will at least cause scattered power outages. If anything, that image needs to extend both the "possible" and "likely" farther south.


When it says "likely," though, I think of that as "widespread". I don't think Eastport, ME would recieve widespread outages on the current path. I'm just using Eastport for an example, nothing else.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

Tropical storm force winds currently extend out 275 miles from the center, and this is likely to just expand over the coming days. A combination of those winds and very heavy rainfall will cause trees to fall and will at least cause scattered power outages. If anything, that image needs to extend both the "possible" and "likely" farther south.



I agree..sustain winds of 40mph and greater over a 24 hour period will cause power outages..
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 16225
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 42267
Quoting AllStar17:


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

Maybe if it makes landfall in Delaware, it will continue blowing and storming for a few days as it goes cross-country....

just guessing, mind you.
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24916
Quoting AllStar17:


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

Well, the wind field will be really big and the winds will be strong enough to knock out power.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Thanks for the update. Take care and stay safe everyone in Sandy's path.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting AllStar17:


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

Tropical storm force winds currently extend out 275 miles from the center, and this is likely to just expand over the coming days. A combination of those winds and very heavy rainfall will cause trees to fall and will at least cause scattered power outages. If anything, that image needs to extend both the "possible" and "likely" farther south.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
a destructive potential of 4.8 out of 6.0,


Thanks for the update.

As a reminder, Ike was 5.2 out of 6.0. Coastal shelve is different, but shallow and long as well.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
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


I'll just repost this here as well as long as that's okay, this was my response from the other post:

Okay I see now, again, thank you. I have learned a lot over the last couple days just from reading the comments on this blog. I'm in Binghamton, NY, which got hit really hard with flooding last year so we're making preparations and keeping our fingers crossed. I expect this to have less of an impact, but better to prepare for the worst and hope for the best I suppose. Will get all my "extended power outage" shopping done this weekend.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting AllStar17:


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

Lmao
Member Since: October 22, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 2556
I saw some great looping visualizations of Sandy's interaction with the trough in the comments to yesterday's post. It was a white outline of the US with maroon shading and isobar lines delineating the two masses merging. I believe it was called the 500mb Vorticity. Does anyone know where I can find that? Specifically for the Euro model if available.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

...Why?


You are telling me that if the storm makes landfall in Delaware that Eastport, ME is LIKELY to get power outages?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Tazmanian:



thats not dr m that did the update

Angela Fritz and Jeff Masters

:P
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Methurricanes:
Looks more like a Central/North NJ consesus

Models are definitely trending north. Starting to look like NJ or even Long Island could be a likely landfall location.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting HCW:
Nice update

Looks more like a Central/North NJ consesus
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting AllStar17:


That graphic is terrible....they should have just painted the entire country in red.

...Why?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Thanks Angela and Jeff.
Sandy has quite the large windfield.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting DontNeedNoHandle:
THX Doc!



thats not dr m that did the update
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting CaicosRetiredSailor:




That graphic is terrible....they should have just painted the entire country in red.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Thanks for the blog, Angela and Dr. Masters.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
5pm forecast for Sandy remains basically unchanged...landfall in Delaware.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Thank you for the update!

Very slowly leaving the Bahamas right now:
Member Since: September 16, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 3202

Viewing: 56 - 6

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

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

Local Weather

Overcast
47 °F
Overcast

JeffMasters's Recent Photos

Lake Effort Snow Shower Over Windsor, Ontario
Sunset on Dunham Lake
Pictured Rocks Sunset
Sunset on Lake Huron