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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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.”
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 16215
Quoting stormchaser19:



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

:(
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More bad news from Sandy....The deaths in haiti increased to 34, are saying haitian authorities
Member Since: June 20, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 2169
Quoting washingtonian115:
Happy related birthday.
Thanks can`t wait I know my friends are making a surprise party at school and they think I don`t know.lol
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1252. LargoFl
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 41829
Quoting yqt1001:


Really it's more of a fault on the SSHWS scale than the media. I'm sure the people who write those titles know nothing about how the scale works.
but all the journalists took "how to sensationalize a headline 101" in journalism school
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1250. LargoFl
Quoting mdweathergirl:



Will we have sustained hurricane force winds in Maryland. i am up in in the north east part of the state (Bel Air). I really can't imagine what to expect. Will it be like being in a severe thunderstorm for a long time? I just can't wrap my mind around what it will actually be like outside. I am a little worried it will be noisy and scare my children.
they are saying now, hurricane force winds will extend out 100 miles from the center so its way too early to say who might be getting those winds..not until they know 100% for sure exactly where..its going to come into..
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 41829
Quoting Thrawst:
Lots of damage here in Nassau... just got power back and internet. Will post pictures later... worst storm since i moved here.

Worse then Irene? :O
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Quoting Thrawst:
Lots of damage here in Nassau... just got power back and internet. Will post pictures later... worst storm since i moved here.

I was watching your local tv stream a couple three days ago and the weather guy said that Nassau was only going to get 50mph winds, boy was he wrong.

Glad you made it
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Can anyone explain why Philadelphia is only projecting peak sustained 40 mph winds? Most of the models have this thing pass over or within 200 miles north/south of Philly, and being only 60 miles from the ocean would think winds would be higher .
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1245. LargoFl
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
hr69
look how tightly knit those pressure lines are
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 41829
1244. Gearsts
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1243. K8eCane
Quoting FyrtleMyrtle:
this thing is pretty weak here in MB


Starting to pick up here in Wilmington
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1242. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
hr69
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 176 Comments: 55653
1015 clamshell: Rabid news reporting is not as entertaining as the reporters might think, especially when peoples lives are in the mix, now and in the future. Deny it all they might, they have an obligation to report such news responsibly and in somewhat subdued terms as well.

Kinda like the CubanMissileCrisis... and everybody being ticked off about all the fuss that had been kicked up by the media cuz there warn't no nuclear war.
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
So the recon plane that was headed for the center of Sandy that is supposed to update on Google Earth, the recon site, etc. every 10 minutes has not updated in an hour. Doesn't sound too good.

There is a few options here.
1) recon crashed
2) being secretive
3) a bunch of failures

I hope nothing bad happened.
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this thing is pretty weak here in MB
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Quoting LargoFl:
yes I really think she is going to come in full force, there isnt really anything thats going to weaken her, not once she's up there, she's riding the warm waters of the gulf stream..well we'll see,this time monday its going to be bad..thats one thing we can count on..and those that did NOT prepare..will learn a valuable lesson for next time



Will we have sustained hurricane force winds in Maryland. i am up in in the north east part of the state (Bel Air). I really can't imagine what to expect. Will it be like being in a severe thunderstorm for a long time? I just can't wrap my mind around what it will actually be like outside. I am a little worried it will be noisy and scare my children.
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1237. LargoFl
Hatteras Cam...........
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 41829
Quoting allancalderini:
Talking about parties this coming Thursday is my birthday:)
Happy related birthday.
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So the recon plane that was headed for the center of Sandy that is supposed to update on Google Earth, the recon site, etc. every 10 minutes has not updated in an hour. Doesn't sound too good.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32707
Quoting washingtonian115:
Correct.Still having a good time.

Speaking of parties there was plenty of hurricane parties in the bars yestrday night in downtown D.C.I went to one.Hey I was getting free shots so no complaints here.
Talking about parties this coming Thursday is my birthday:)
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1233. beell
Tropical Cyclone Storm Surge Heights
That Have a 1 in 10 Chance of Being Exceeded (NGVD-1929)
Hurricane Sandy (2012) Advisory 21
For the 77 hours from 11 AM EDT Sat Oct 27 to 04 PM EDT Tue Oct 30




Storm Surge Exceedence
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1232. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 176 Comments: 55653
You thinks she's massive now, but she's only going to get bigger.
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1230. Thrawst
Lots of damage here in Nassau... just got power back and internet. Will post pictures later... worst storm since i moved here.
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1229. LargoFl
winds really gusting now around me
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 41829
1228. hydrus
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1227. LargoFl
Quoting Maryland1:


Very prepared and in a safe place, few trees and on a hill. But there are many millions of people who aren't in such safe places, my thoughts are with them. I've gone through some hurricanes, but many of us up here have no clue what is going to happen, Largo, just no clue. All we can really hope for is that the storm decides to maintain pressure. Because real weakening isn't in the cards anymore.
yes I really think she is going to come in full force, there isnt really anything thats going to weaken her, not once she's up there, she's riding the warm waters of the gulf stream..well we'll see,this time monday its going to be bad..thats one thing we can count on..and those that did NOT prepare..will learn a valuable lesson for next time
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 41829
1226. LargoFl
NAEFS MODEL AT 54 HOURS..............
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 41829
1225. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
sandy is coming
and she is going to be
one kick in the ass storm
get ready this is not a game
well maybe for sandy
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 176 Comments: 55653
Quoting LargoFl:
I sure hope your ok all thru this storm..stay safe up there ok


Very prepared and in a safe place, few trees and on a hill. But there are many millions of people who aren't in such safe places, my thoughts are with them. I've gone through some hurricanes, but many of us up here have no clue what is going to happen, Largo, just no clue. All we can really hope for is that the storm decides to maintain pressure. Because real weakening isn't in the cards anymore.
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It just occurred to me that the center of Sandy is not exposed...
Member Since: July 1, 2008 Posts: 13 Comments: 7436
1222. zawxdsk
I think based on what we will see from Sandy and what we saw with Isaac, this will be the last year of using Saffir-Simpson alone to rate hurricanes. This will be a good thing overall.

It's just not fair to compare these storms based on wind alone - especially because flooding exponentiates the destruction in modern storms.

Its hard to speculate what the new ratings system will/or should be. I'm sure they will have something to do with NHC's different impact ratings types, but its long overdue.
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Afternoon everybody!

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

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1220. K8eCane
Quoting K8eCane:
I hope and pray EVERYONE, but especially those on the blog here, stay safe thru this


I cant help but think of Stormtop, who as far as I know, we never heard from after Katrina
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1219. LargoFl
NAEFS model at 48 hours from now..........
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 41829
Quoting yqt1001:


Really it's more of a fault on the SSHWS scale than the media. I'm sure the people who write those titles know nothing about how the scale works.


Their job is to research before posting, if they can't research what the heck a Category 1 hurricane is and what a tropical storm is, I have serious doubts about their capacity as a news organization. The media does this kind of stuff to attract interest, and views.
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 24551
1217. K8eCane
I hope and pray EVERYONE, but especially those on the blog here, stay safe thru this
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1216. LargoFl
Quoting Chicklit:
night aussie. thanks for all your posts.
ditto..nite aussie
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 41829
1215. yqt1001
Quoting CybrTeddy:


And now, the headlines are 'Sandy Intensifies back to a Hurricane, Northeast on Alert'

Honestly, was there really a difference between a 70mph TS and a 75mph Hurricane? The amount of disinformation that the news dishes out to the public is amazing, no wonder people are complacent.


Really it's more of a fault on the SSHWS scale than the media. I'm sure the people who write those titles know nothing about how the scale works.
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1214. LargoFl
Quoting Maryland1:
It will be a terrible, but amazing thing to watch the pressures drop on this storm. While I still have power.
I sure hope your ok all thru this storm..stay safe up there ok
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 41829
Quoting Neapolitan:
You may be right. Within minutes of this morning's announcement that Sandy was no longer a hurricane, a number of headlines appeared along the lines of, "Sandy Now Just a Tropical Storm", or "Sandy May Be Less Of A Threat", or "Weaker Sandy May be Good News For The Northeast". IOW, the typical it's-all-about-the-headlines-not-the-veracity-of-t he-content stuff that passes for "journalism" these days.


And now, the headlines are 'Sandy Intensifies back to a Hurricane, Northeast on Alert'

Honestly, was there really a difference between a 70mph TS and a 75mph Hurricane? The amount of disinformation that the news dishes out to the public is amazing, no wonder people are complacent.
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 24551
1212. ncstorm
Quoting washingtonian115:
Correct.Still having a good time.

Speaking of parties there was plenty of hurricane parties in the bars yestrday night in downtown D.C.I went to one.Hey I was getting free shots so no complaints here.


LOL..I hear ya!
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 16215
night aussie. thanks for all your posts.
Member Since: July 11, 2006 Posts: 14 Comments: 11410
1210. LargoFl
Quoting CapeFearCane96:
If Sandy is getting pushed more ENE now does that mean when she hooks back landfall could be a little further south?
we just have to wait and see
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 41829
1209. LargoFl
My friend up in NJ just called and gave me a good analogy...he was there for Irene..he remembers all the flooding and destruction..and at the time..he was saying to himself, I hope this does not come IN.....well folks..think of it like this up..THIS time IRENE IS..coming in...he made a great point there..and he's prepared and ready..are YOU?
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 41829
If Sandy is getting pushed more ENE now does that mean when she hooks back landfall could be a little further south?
Member Since: May 28, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 17
It will be a terrible, but amazing thing to watch the pressures drop on this storm. While I still have power.
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Quoting TomballTXPride:
I honestly don't think the NHC will downgrade her back to a TS again, even if conditions aren't technically fully supporting a hurricane. My reasoning is TS Sandy sounds less formidable to the public and also she's expected to strengthen again due to an extra shot of baroclinic energy within the next 24 hours. Just a thought though.
You may be right. Within minutes of this morning's announcement that Sandy was no longer a hurricane, a number of headlines appeared along the lines of, "Sandy Now Just a Tropical Storm", or "Sandy May Be Less Of A Threat", or "Weaker Sandy May be Good News For The Northeast". IOW, the typical it's-all-about-the-headlines-not-the-veracity-of-t he-content stuff that passes for "journalism" these days.
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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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