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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1106. BDAwx
Remember that although tropical storm force winds extend up to 450miles away from the center, not everywhere between the storm and 450miles will have tropical storm force winds. These winds will probably be in bands far removed from the center.
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Quoting Doppler22:

Wow, I'm in the action section

Hey, you are much closer to Sandy than I will be so for me to be under a category shows how big Sandy will be. Here is the CPC 3-7day hazards outlook.
Member Since: March 16, 2012 Posts: 127 Comments: 7927
Quoting Tazmanian:
holy we cows


HURRICANE FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO 105 MILES...165 KM...FROM
THE CENTER...AND TROPICAL STORM FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO 450
MILES...725 KM.
Is this for real??
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Quoting benirica:
Here's some trivia...
If this turn out to be, and I hope we are all wishing and praying for it not to be, a catastrophic event that unfolds next week with longterm effects in New England.

What are the odds the government will call a state of emergency and postpone federal elections?

Has this ever happened?

It is not out of the picture to assume that a catastrophe less than a week before elections could leave dozens of communities inaccessible and uncommunicated. What would be done to guarantee these people have a chance to use their right to vote?
we were discussing this some last night. Each precinct has the right to delay voting for up to 14 days, but if any precinct delays it's voting, the results from those areas may be deemed questionable and could be thrown out. This is going to cause a political mess.
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Quoting washingtonian115:
Looks like it will be more of a New jersey hit.Maybe some wind for me but not a lot.Heard it could be similar to Irene for my area and Irene wasn't that bad so I heard.

Irene was fairly bad for me... id like to avoid a repeat... and i really dont want to loose power
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Quoting wxchaser97:

Wow, I am in the alert section.

Wow, I'm in the action section
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Building a new center.
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1098. K8eCane
Sounds like its starting to pick up a bit outside here in Wilmywood ( Wilmington) NC
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Here's some trivia...
If this turn out to be, and I hope we are all wishing and praying for it not to be, a catastrophic event that unfolds next week with longterm effects in New England.

What are the odds the government will call a state of emergency and postpone federal elections?

Has this ever happened?

It is not out of the picture to assume that a catastrophe less than a week before elections could leave dozens of communities inaccessible and uncommunicated. What would be done to guarantee these people have a chance to use their right to vote?
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Quoting Wunderwood:


You are correct, however, the wave heights in the ocean mean that water will remain contained in flooded areas for a longer period of time. Wave heights are the catalyst for the destructive flooding that may occur.




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How much would 6ft of surge do to NY?

That is less than irene brought right?
Seawalls can handle that I suppose.

What is the deal with new Jersey coastal cities, are those well protected?

Also Sandy may hook a hard left from going north to west just before landfall, so if the surge is moving north, the winds might not be driving it in as strongly as they would, it might just be rolling in on its own.
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North Jersey here and not happy about it. Up a hill and inland, and far enough away from any major bodies of water that I'm hoping I won't have any direct impacts from waterways, but with all the uncertainties and the trees still covered in leaves (and with my power company, JCP&L, which is famed for its relentless incompetence,) I can't say I'm feeling very good.

We have plenty of bottled water and canned/shelf stable food, loads of batteries, flashlights, first aid supplies, an extra battery pack for my cell phone, a little transistor radio--it's really the best that I can do. I hope everyone else in my area is similarly prepared. I'm frankly dreading this. Stay safe out there, everyone!
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Quoting Wiebel:


Wave height near the coast is limited by local depth. Wave height does not exceed 0.6 to 0.7 times local depth.

Atlantic wave height doesnt tell us much about near shore waves.


You are correct, however, the wave heights in the ocean mean that water will remain contained in flooded areas for a longer period of time. Wave heights are the catalyst for the destructive flooding that may occur.
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I think it might be possible for Sandy to make a run for cat 2 again..
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1089. guygee
Quoting yonzabam:


Leaving aside the 'geoengineering' bit, which I assume is more of this secret government weather manipulation idiocy, how will pollution affect warming?
Depends on what kind of pollution. Carbon soot particulates contribute to warming. Sulfer emissions contribute to cooling. I think the scientific consensus is that before the majority of industrialized societies passed clean air laws the net effect of pollution was cooling (not counting CO2 as a pollutant..consistent with most laws but not reality).
Member Since: September 16, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 3140
1088. LargoFl
“This storm will affect millions and cost billions,” AccuWeather forecaster Marshall Moss told the Daily News.

“This is really going to be a huge storm and something unprecedented in meteorological terms,” he predicted.

Emergency preparations were already under way in the city, with the MTA considering a total shut down of buses and subways if worst predictions hold when the storm blows into the region late Sunday. City officials were mulling the evacuation of as many as 375,000 New Yorkers.

Experts say the storm shows no sign of slowing its current northward track up the Atlantic, and its impact will rattle states along the Eastern Seaboard from Florida to Maine.

The brunt of the bad weather is expected to hit the city late Monday and early Tuesday.

“The storm is so large the impact is going to be felt over hundreds of miles and many states at the same time,” Dennis Feltgen, an expert with the National Hurricane Center, told the Daily News.

“At this point, whether it’s a hurricane or a tropical storm when it makes landfall really doesn’t matter,” he said.


Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/sandy-tro pical-storm-threatens-east-coast-article-1.1193631 #ixzz2AVshIghQ
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Quoting Grothar:

Wow, I am in the alert section.
Member Since: March 16, 2012 Posts: 127 Comments: 7927
My husband works for entergy and is a lineman for the co. They will be leaving soon to help put the lights back on as soon as the storm passes.. I wish all the men and women who leave their families to go help others a safe trip. And please be careful !!!! To all of you in the path of the storm please leave if you can. If you cannot leave have your supplies ready, it will take time to get to you .
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State of Emergency has been declared for New Jersey.
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Quoting Tazmanian:
holy we cows


HURRICANE FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO 105 MILES...165 KM...FROM
THE CENTER...AND TROPICAL STORM FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO 450
MILES...725 KM.


Yikes!!!!!!!!80 mph winds
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1082. LargoFl
The message up and down the Eastern seaboard couldn't be clearer: Be prepared for days without electricity, as a storm that could be one for the history books.
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1081. Wiebel
Quoting Wunderwood:
Wave heights in the Atlantic may approach 50-60 feet. This will be a catastrophic STORM! Don't focus on labels, but on the coming unprecedented danger facing our fellow Americans in the Northeast.


Wave height near the coast is limited by local depth. Wave height does not exceed 0.6 to 0.7 times local depth.

Atlantic wave height doesnt tell us much about near shore waves.
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1080. LargoFl
Quoting Wunderwood:
The folks on this board who continually compare this to a category 1 hurricane need to be advised that this storm may eventually have a barometric reading 30 millibars lower than the Perfect Storm of '92. The wave action produced will cause severe coastal flooding and power outages may last for weeks. Wave heights in the Atlantic may approach 50-60 feet. This will be a catastrophic STORM! Don't focus on labels, but on the coming unprecedented danger facing our fellow Americans in the Northeast.
yes i wish they would dump that Cat-1 designation..its going to lull people into thinking its not that bad
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Quoting wxmod:
"Hurricanes are expected to dump 20% more rain in their cores by the year 2100, according to modeling studies (Knutson et al., 2010)."

This quote from the blog above is based on modeling that doesn't take pollution or geoengineering into account. Therefore the model is flat out wrong.


Leaving aside the 'geoengineering' bit, which I assume is more of this secret government weather manipulation idiocy, how will pollution affect warming?
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Quoting divdog:
very nice image. Whats next from sandy. Do u know are there 3 big players or just 2 with this storm. I understand the hurricane and a cold front which is involved and is there something else that could make this a storm to remember..don't know much just asking.
Thanks

There is a blocking high in the NATL.
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The folks on this board who continually compare this to a category 1 hurricane need to be advised that this storm may eventually have a barometric reading 30 millibars lower than the Perfect Storm of '92. The wave action produced will cause severe coastal flooding and power outages may last for weeks. Wave heights in the Atlantic may approach 50-60 feet. This will be a catastrophic STORM! Don't focus on labels, but on the coming unprecedented danger facing our fellow Americans in the Northeast.
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1076. divdog
Quoting Bluestorm5:


A large one...

very nice image. Whats next from sandy. Do u know are there 3 big players or just 2 with this storm. I understand the hurricane and a cold front which is involved and is there something else that could make this a storm to remember..don't know much just asking.
Thanks
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NHC storm surge estimates of 4-8 ft. above ground level if peak surge occurs at high tide from Ocean City, Md. to the CT/RI border

This 4-8 ft. storm surge estimate include Long Island Sound, Raritan Bay and Delaware Bay.
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Got to work on photobucket account i used url option directly from website.
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1073. Grothar
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Breaking News Storm ‏@breakingstorm
Connecticut governor signs Declaration of Emergency ahead of Hurricane Sandy - @NBCConnecticut http://bit.ly/SKgR4J
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Looks like it will be more of a New jersey hit.Maybe some wind for me but not a lot.Heard it could be similar to Irene for my area and Irene wasn't that bad so I heard.
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From NOAA P-3 #NOAA42 : Banding as seen from the on-board radar display in Hurricane #Sandy: 25 Oct 2012 pic.twitter.com/6tkfxClY

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1069. LargoFl
GFS at 63 hours, remember tropical storm force winds go out 450 miles from this
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1068. guygee
Quoting wxmod:
China pollution out of control. MODIS satellite photo today
Good post. With the recent (temporary) exponential growth in China's economy I would expect that their air and water pollution problems are growing exponentially as well. With their size, their problems are everyone's problems, same as with us:U.S.-us.
Member Since: September 16, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 3140
1067. Grothar
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Quoting stribe37:
Ok, with regards to the satellite photo, we see the Hurricane, the large polar/arctic cold front (which I believe is part of the reason this is forecast-ed to form a powerful hybrid/extra-tropical storm), and I presume the clear slot north of Sandy over Nova Scotia/NB is the Canadian High Pressure system blocking Sandy from going out to sea.

Is there any other component on this map that is helping to make Sandy a potentially historic storm?


The jet stream will be overhead.
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holy we cows


HURRICANE FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO 105 MILES...165 KM...FROM
THE CENTER...AND TROPICAL STORM FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO 450
MILES...725 KM.
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Quoting nrtiwlnvragn:


What I know about it:


All animations from CIMSS are saved in this file:
http://tropic.ssec.wisc.edu/real-time/temp/movie. gif


You could try loading it to an image site such as photobucket, etc and go from there.

Need to be quick though, if anyone else captures an animation on CIMSS it will overwrite what you animated with their selections.


My pc is saving as a BMP automatically thats the issue :0(
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1063. LargoFl
Quoting FLWeatherFreak91:
this is the first day Sandy's cloud shield has coved the Tampa Bay Area. I'm thankful for that too... It's only 72 with a brisk northerly breeze and DP of 63. Perfect!
yeah its really nice out with the temp and breezes
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1062. LargoFl
Quoting stribe37:
Ok, with regards to the satellite photo, we see the Hurricane, the large polar/arctic cold front (which I believe is part of the reason this is forecast-ed to form a powerful hybrid/extra-tropical storm, and I presume the clear slot north of Sandy over Nova Scotia/NB is the Canadian High Pressure system blocking Sandy from going out to sea.

Is there any other component on this map that is helping to make Sandy a potentially historic storm?
dont forget for most of her trip north she is riding along the gulf stream with its heat content
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Quoting LargoFl:
this is the first day Sandy's cloud shield has coved the Tampa Bay Area. I'm thankful for that too... It's only 72 with a brisk northerly breeze and DP of 63. Perfect!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Ok, with regards to the satellite photo, we see the Hurricane, the large polar/arctic cold front (which I believe is part of the reason this is forecast-ed to form a powerful hybrid/extra-tropical storm), and I presume the clear slot north of Sandy over Nova Scotia/NB is the Canadian High Pressure system blocking Sandy from going out to sea.

Is there any other component on this map that is helping to make Sandy a potentially historic storm?
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1059. guygee
Quoting leftlink:
I just looked up the "northeast blizzard of 78" which bombed out off the coast of nj. Turns out that the central pressure was only around 988mb. A midwestern blizzard that took a more northerly track across the midwest, about 10 days before, is also known as the "blizzard of 78". The latter storm had the pressure of 953mb. Of course, when growing up, the northeast blizzard was the biggest snowstorm on record, and the part of MA I am in didn't even get snow from the midwest storm.
Correct, see my post 1011.

Not in reference to your post, but in general I really hate the ignore list feature on this site, it gives me the feeling that we are all talking past each other and no one is really listening. This is the only virtual society to my knowledge that has such a "feature". Active moderation would be much better, and people would probably volunteer for free. Then all we would need is some meta-moderation.
Member Since: September 16, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 3140
1058. wxmod
"Hurricanes are expected to dump 20% more rain in their cores by the year 2100, according to modeling studies (Knutson et al., 2010)."

This quote from the blog above is based on modeling that doesn't take pollution or geoengineering into account. Therefore the model is flat out wrong.
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Looks like Alien. Where's Ripley when you need her?


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Quoting wxmod:
China pollution out of control. MODIS satellite photo today


Yes, we know China has a pollution problem. They have done so for to many years to count. Even at the 2008 Bei-jing Olympics the removal of 1mil cars didn't help much.
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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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