Why did Hurricane Sandy take such an unusual track into New Jersey?

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 4:33 PM GMT on October 31, 2012

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We're used to seeing hurricane-battered beaches and flooded cities in Florida, North Carolina, and the Gulf Coast. But to see these images from the Jersey Shore and New York City in the wake of Hurricane Sandy is a shocking experience. New Jersey only rarely gets hit by hurricanes because it lies in a portion of the coast that doesn't stick out much, and is too far north. How did this happen? How was a hurricane able to move from southeast to northwest at landfall, so far north, and so late in hurricane season? We expect hurricanes to move from east to west in the tropics, where the prevailing trade winds blow that direction. But the prevailing wind direction reverses at mid-latitudes, flowing predominately west-to-east, due to the spin of the Earth. Hurricanes that penetrate to about Florida's latitude usually get caught up in these westerly winds, and are whisked northeastwards, out to sea. However, the jet stream, that powerful band of upper-atmosphere west-to-east flowing air, has many dips and bulges. These troughs of low pressure and ridges of high pressure allow winds at mid-latitudes to flow more to the north or to the south. Every so often, a trough in the jet stream bends back on itself when encountering a ridge of high pressure stuck in place ahead of it. These "negatively tilted" troughs have winds that flow from southeast to northwest. It is this sort of negatively tilted trough that sucked in Sandy and allowed the hurricane to take such an unusual path into New Jersey.


Figure 1. Inlet section of Atlantic City, N.J., after Hurricane Sandy. Image credit: 6 ABC Action News.

The 1903 Vagabond Hurricane
The only other hurricane to hit New Jersey since 1851 besides Sandy was the 1903 Category 1 Vagabond Hurricane. According to Wikipedia, the Vagabond Hurricane caused heavy damage along the New Jersey coast ($180 million in 2006 dollars.) The hurricane killed 57 people, and endangered the life of President Theodore Roosevelt, who was sailing on a yacht near Long Island, NY, when the hurricane hit. However, the Vagabond Hurricane hit in September, when the jet stream is typically weaker and farther to the north. It is quite extraordinary that Sandy was able to hit New Jersey in late October, when the jet stream is typically stronger and farther south, making recurvature to the northeast much more likely than in September.


Figure 2. The path of the 1903 Vagabond Hurricane, the only other hurricane to hit New Jersey since 1851.

The blocking ridge that steered Sandy into New Jersey
A strong ridge of high pressure parked itself over Greenland beginning on October 20, creating a "blocking ridge" that prevented the normal west-to-east flow of winds over Eastern North America. Think of the blocking ridge like a big truck parked over Greenland. Storms approaching from the west (like the fall low pressure system that moved across the U.S. from California to Pennsylvania last week) or from the south (Hurricane Sandy) were blocked from heading to the northeast. Caught in the equivalent of an atmospheric traffic jam, the two storms collided over the Northeast U.S., combined into one, and are now waiting for the truck parked over Greenland to move. The strength of the blocking ridge, as measured by the strength of the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), was quite high--about two standard deviations from average, something that occurs approximately 5% of the time. When the NAO is in a strong negative phase, we tend to have blocking ridges over Greenland.


Figure 3. Jet stream winds at a pressure of 300 mb on October 29, 2012, as Hurricane Sandy approached the coast of New Jersey. Note that the wind direction over New Jersey (black arrows) was from the southeast, due to a negatively tilted trough of low pressure over the Eastern U.S. caused by a strong blocking ridge of high pressure over Greenland. Image credit: NOAA/ESRL.

Arctic sea ice loss can cause blocking ridges
Blocking ridges occur naturally, but are uncommon over Greenland this time of year. According to NOAA's Climate Prediction Center, blocking near the longitude of Greenland (50°W) only occurs about 2% of the time in the fall. These odds rise to about 6% in winter and spring. As I discussed in an April post, Arctic sea ice loss tied to unusual jet stream patterns, three studies published in the past year have found that the jet stream has been getting stuck in unusually strong blocking patterns in recent years. These studies found that the recent record decline in Arctic sea ice could be responsible, since this heats up the pole, altering the Equator-to-pole temperature difference, forcing the jet stream to slow down, meander, and get stuck in large loops. The 2012 Arctic sea ice melt season was extreme, with sea ice extent hitting a record lows. Could sea ice loss have contributed to the blocking ridge that steered Sandy into New Jersey? It is possible, but we will need to much more research on the subject before we make such a link, as the studies of sea ice loss on jet stream patterns are so new. The author of one of the new studies, Dr. Jennifer Francis of Rutgers, had this say in a recent post by Andy Revkin in his Dot Earth blog: "While it’s impossible to say how this scenario might have unfolded if sea-ice had been as extensive as it was in the 1980s, the situation at hand is completely consistent with what I’d expect to see happen more often as a result of unabated warming and especially the amplification of that warming in the Arctic."

Jeff Masters

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Quoting MechEngMet:


Well... I'm simply asking if anyone knows why Hurr Warnings were not issued for the east coast. If you don't know the answer to a question just don't answer the post. Sorry you wasted your time. I'd appreciate if you'd stop wasting mine (and others) by providing argumentative non-answers.

Does anyone know the answer? What's the blog concensus? Why were storm warnings not issued for the east coast?


Forecast discussion states: TO AVOID A HIGHLY DISRUPTIVE CHANGE FROM TROPICAL TO NON-TROPICAL WARNINGS WHEN SANDY BECOMES POST-TROPICAL...THE WIND HAZARD NORTH OF THE TROPICAL STORM WARNING AREA WILL CONTINUE TO BE CONVEYED THROUGH HIGH WIND WATCHES AND
WARNINGS ISSUED BY LOCAL NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE OFFICES.


I doubt many people understood the wording. However, there was yet a PDF on the NHC website explaining it more in detail, see Link (PDF). (edited)
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Quoting biff4ugo:


Oh and...

9 Day after tomorrow
10 Chuck Norris
11 Bruce Willis and Chuck Norris.

With the media playing the "day after tomorrow" tsunami clip so much, I wonder how many people are going to remember that as what happened in NYC due to Sandy, especially the kids.


So I quess yall don't get the giant floating balls of fire ants. That and the snakes always rank high in Houston maybe above rats but we have those nutria things too.
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Quoting yoboi:


did not know ya support the brown shirts.....


Really?!?! seriously?!?!?! didn't say I supported them....only that they're effective....
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Quoting MechEngMet:


Well... I'm simply asking if anyone knows why Hurr Warnings were not issued for the east coast. If you don't know the answer to a question just don't answer the post. Sorry you wasted your time. I'd appreciate if you'd stop wasting mine (and others) by providing argumentative non-answers.

Does anyone know the answer? What's the blog concensus? Why were storm warnings not issued for the east coast?


And there are explanations in the comments Dr. Master's earlier posts in October. The NHC doesn't include storms after they go extratropical even though I believe the consenus is that Sandy may have stayed tropical.
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Quoting MechEngMet:
Why were storm warnings not issued for the east coast?


The warnings I saw for the east coast were numerous, specific, and (in retrospect) accurate.
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I think the reason they didn't issue the warnings is the same reason they don't issue a red tide warning when the toxic stinging algae keeping folks out of the water is actully brown.
Member Since: December 28, 2006 Posts: 114 Comments: 1559
Quoting biff4ugo:
FYI Wit, neither of those links worked for me.


Just an aside for you biff..
When links are posted directly to the page,WU adds a space..
Don't know why that is but they do..
Look for the blank space in the link,remove it and try again..
Hope that helps you..
Works for me.. :)
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Quoting MechEngMet:


Well... I'm simply asking if anyone knows why Hurr Warnings were not issued for the east coast. If you don't know the answer to a question just don't answer the post. Sorry you wasted your time. I'd appreciate if you'd stop wasting mine (and others) by providing argumentative non-answers.

Does anyone know the answer? What's the blog concensus? Why were storm warnings not issued for the east coast?


Well, maybe because it wasn't a hurricane. It was an extratropical hybrid storm being driven by both tropical and baroclinic forces. As such, the NHC may have deemed it someone else's responsibility.
Member Since: July 20, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 2915
807. yoboi
Quoting presslord:
Cuba has a VERY effective pre-disaster relocation protocol...they stick a gun in your face and say "Get on the bus...or we'll kill your ass!" Works like a charm...


did not know ya support the brown shirts.....
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.thanks for the hint about the space in the links.
Member Since: December 28, 2006 Posts: 114 Comments: 1559
Can't help wondering how many "hurricane-based" weather nerds have no idea that non-tropical, deep, spinning lows cause surge and hurricane force wind on a regular basis across this globe. Yes, Sandy had the aspects of a warm-core system, but even if it had not, the result of a 946mb low coming into the east coast where it did would have been similar to what happened the past couple days. You might want to take a look at some of the Gulf of Alaska lows and east Pacific lows that have made "landfall" in western North America the past 100 years. People prepare for these storms the same way you'd prepare for a hurricane.

And, the main factor in property damage and casualties, as always, is population and infrastructure in the path of weather, earthquake, fire... you name it, Bueller.
Quoting MechEngMet:


Well... I'm simply asking if anyone knows why Hurr Warnings were not issued for the east coast. If you don't know the answer to a question just don't answer the post. Sorry you wasted your time. I'd appreciate if you'd stop wasting mine (and others) by providing argumentative non-answers.

Does anyone know the answer? What's the blog concensus? Why were storm warnings not issued for the east coast?
Storm and surge warnings were issued well in advance of this system. Reading back to earlier comments this morning will give you a good idea what some wu bloggers think about how the warnings were issued.
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Quoting biff4ugo:
NYC threat level

1 roach
2 Mosquito
3 Feral Cat
4 Rabid Dog
5 Subway Sewer Rat
6 Bronx Zoo Python
7 Sewer Alligator
8 Godzilla


Oh and...

9 Day after tomorrow
10 Chuck Norris
11 Bruce Willis and Chuck Norris.

With the media playing the "day after tomorrow" tsunami clip so much, I wonder how many people are going to remember that as what happened in NYC due to Sandy, especially the kids.
Member Since: December 28, 2006 Posts: 114 Comments: 1559
Quoting PalmBeachWeather:
Wow..You sure make life complicated..... Guess I won't ask you any more questions. Sorry to make "me" think


Well... I'm simply asking if anyone knows why Hurr Warnings were not issued for the east coast. If you don't know the answer to a question just don't answer the post. Sorry you wasted your time. I'd appreciate if you'd stop wasting mine (and others) by providing argumentative non-answers.

Does anyone know the answer? What's the blog concensus? Why were storm warnings not issued for the east coast?
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I live in western New Jersey along route 78 where the highest wind speeds weren't anything special, and were far less than along the coast. see the map:

http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2012/10/sandy_wi nd_speed_map_see_how_s.html

And yet everywhere trees fell and took down power lines. Why? pictures here:

http://witsendnj.blogspot.com/2012/11/what-happen ed-to-power.html

The trees are rotten on the inside.
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My company has a small office in Manhattan. Just got a report this morning from our office manager:

"The entire southern end of Manhattan has no power. All manholes are filled with salt water and massive pumping and evaluation is being done now. The 14th st con Ed substation with an 11 ft high wall to protect it was topped with 12.5 ft of cold salt water. When the water came in it [the substation] was lost. I was in the area yesterday to assist with an emergency building pump out and can only say that the level of damage both now and to the infrastructure moving forward is difficult to describe...

Trains are still mainly off line and almost all subways are still down. Travel by car is next to impossible( I spent over 4 hours getting to southern NYC yesterday). Parking is not yet allowed and there are no traffic lights."
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Quoting PalmBeachWeather:
Rats are becoming a real issue now
I bet they are. I was wondering how many drowned. Also, when they pump out those subway tunnels, how many homeless they will find have drowned. And don't forget the alligators!
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Quoting MechEngMet:


Well thanks for the response but, I honestly don't know (I wasn't here yesterday). If it has already been discussed please provide a synopsis of the conclusions, or if possible refer me to some of the better comments.
Wow..You sure make life complicated..... Guess I won't ask you any more questions. Sorry to make "me" think
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Quoting biff4ugo:
NYC threat level

1 roach
2 Mosquito
3 Feral Cat
4 Rabid Dog
5 Subway Sewer Rat
6 Bronx Zoo Python
7 Sewer Alligator
8 Godzilla
Rats are becoming a real issue now
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Quoting biff4ugo:
NYC threat level

1 roach
2 Mosquito
3 Feral Cat
4 Rabid Dog
5 Subway Sewer Rat
6 Bronx Zoo Python
7 Sewer Alligator
8 Godzilla


Ha!
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Quoting PalmBeachWeather:
I think I heard that yesterday.Am I right? Word for word


Well thanks for the response but, I honestly don't know (I wasn't here yesterday). If it has already been discussed please provide a synopsis of the conclusions, or if possible refer me to some of the better comments.
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Sandy gets some remote sensing assistance with charter activation.

http://www.disasterscharter.org/home
Member Since: December 28, 2006 Posts: 114 Comments: 1559
here is what I think the USA or the hurricane prone states should do when it comes to evacuations

if warnings are issued or (in this case not) demand mandatory evacuations to all areas at major risk.....

IF by POPULAR DECISION the answer for evacuation is no...take the risk of dying by staying at home... then a fine should be imposed to all of those and multiplied by the number of people in the house because if something unexpected happens which puts people in immediate danger...then whose fault is it..???

The rescue teams also risks their life savings those for danger...they have no need to rescue anyone told to evacuate but the others who were not told to.

That money could go for the rescue teams...national guard...military...and all the other corps helping..

Im sorry if i sound too harsh but nowadays people just take that extra step so unnecessarily when they can just pack the needed bags for evacuation. I know it's hard to leave your home which you might not see again but a life is worth MUCH MORE THAN ANYTHING ELSE...then you have the challenge to rebuild or repair the damages we face.
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A long way out, but looks interesting...
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Quoting sar2401:

Sounds good, but it doesn't work either. How do you identify the ones that didn't leave? Assuming they're not found dead, how do you know they didn't leave at a time you weren't there? Do you go back after a major catastrophe and start handing out citations with the press from all over the world looking over your shoulder? Do you want to be the one that cites some poor lady in tears because her house is destroyed?

The easiest and most effective thing is turn off the utilities. Everyone hopes they can ride it out, and they will be the one house in the area that's not flooded and still has utility service. By turning off the utilities, you remove that "hope" that humans naturally have. There was clearly was no plan in place anywhere in the Northeast to do something like this. I was struck by how many neighborhoods completely underwater still had working streetlights.


Because the police go house to house in those mandatory evacuation zones before the storm hits and when you tell them you are staying, you get handed your fine papers..
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Quoting MechEngMet:


Has anyone figured out exactly why hurricane warnings and watches were not issued for the east coast?... Anyone... Anyone...? Bueler???
I think I heard that yesterday.Am I right? Word for word
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Quoting Matthias1967:


No, I don't think so. True, the media was hyping a superstorm. However, the media did not tell the people what they can expect. (Actually the media did not know on theirselves). And, what actually is a superstorm? I cannot find a definition for such a term, neither in Wikipedia neither in John E. Oliver's "Encyclopedia of World Climatology".

On the other hand, the RA IV Hurricane Operational Plan says, a hurricane warning is a warning that one or both of the following dangerous effects of a hurricane are expected in a specified area: (a) average winds 118 km/h (74 mph) (64 knots) or higher; (b) dangerously high water or a combination of dangerously high water and exceptionally high waves, even though winds expected may be less than hurricane force. The warning is issued 36 hours in advance of the anticipated onset of tropical-storm-force winds. and similar a tropical storm warning, except that that is a warning that tropical storm conditions, sustained
winds within the range 63-117 km/h (39-73 mph) (34-63 knots) are expected in the specified area within 36 hours or less.
(Watches are basically the same except for they're issued 48 hours in advance.) No word on landfall, intensity at landfall ore expected extratropical transitation. The manual also states that it is not recommended to step down warnings; I am concluding on this provision that it is fair to leave on a hurricane or tropical storm warning even after extratropical transition.

Given that, not issuing hurricane warnings was a probably life-costing wrong-doing.


Has anyone figured out exactly why hurricane warnings and watches were not issued for the east coast?... Anyone... Anyone...? Bueler???
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Quoting zschmiez:


Who pays for the flooded basement that is flooded because ConEd cut the power and the sump pump didnt run? Even though the power grid survived?

Who says power will always work during any storm? If a sump pump is important to keep your basement from flooding, you need an emergency generator. Still, I suspect that paying for flooded basements if nothing happened would be a lot less that we're paying now that something happened.
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Quoting Skyepony:


Fact~ It had completely been front smacked by landfall..it was certainly frontal in nature by that point (pointed that out with phase diagram at the time) or it wouldn't have been snowing. I would fully agree if the front hadn't been pulled it to it by that point. We have to consider the whole huge storm, not just the center.


The snow occurred in the front only, a good way west of the Appalachians, hundred's of miles away from the hurricane's center. Sandy was still not frontal almost two days after landfall, still pulling moist from as far as the Gulf of California and from South of the Azores. On the satellite film, which was posted here yesterday, it appears that Sandy absorbed the front and not the other way around.
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As I have said many times on this blog, we do not know why people chose to stay..it could have been economical or health reasons..Im sure there were people who stayed because they felt their were safe or some wanted to experience a thrill but I just think they are a very small number of the total who didnt evacuate..until you have walked in people shoes and know their circumstances, its easy to sit here and say people should evacuate and if they dont, they are on their own..its not easy to pick up at a week's notice and pay for a hotel room or gas up your vehicle and head to a shelter probably 50 miles..
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Quoting biff4ugo:
NYC threat level

1 roach
2 Mosquito
3 Feral Cat
4 Rabid Dog
5 Subway Sewer Rat
6 Bronx Zoo Python
7 Sewer Alligator
8 Godzilla

Don't forget rats

Quoting ChillinInTheKeys:
1st image I've seen of Sandy's effect on Liberty Island...


LOLx10000000000000000000000000000000000000000
that is the best I've seen in a long time!
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1st image I've seen of Sandy's effect on Liberty Island...

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Quoting presslord:


Braille?!?! ;-)
how about specific odors being release up wind! You could get lots of folks moving quickly that way!
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NYC threat level

1 roach
2 Mosquito
3 Feral Cat
4 Rabid Dog
5 Subway Sewer Rat
6 Bronx Zoo Python
7 Sewer Alligator
8 Godzilla
Member Since: December 28, 2006 Posts: 114 Comments: 1559
I suppose everyone's seen Bloomberg Buisnessweek's latest cover, but just in case you missed it...

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Quoting presslord:


and, I fear, it's irresolvable...Jeff Masters has said he thinks it's gonna take some sorta huge, catastrophic event to convince the deniers....I think he's wrong...the deniers will deny right up to the point they're taking their last breath, standing on tippy toes,,,before they start swallowing sea water...it's intractable, at this point...
This is true. There are people who will not be convinced of anything simply because they dont listen or understand anyone or anything but themselves....Psychologists marvel at this stuff.
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Quoting SarasotaToo:

Yup, that's the other side of the coin....:)

If you are going to live in an area with known potential for destructive events you have no excuse not to be educated and prepared. We can not rely on any entity to provide all-sufficient warning in all circumstances... Sandy could have jogged at the last minute and effected a whole different section of coastline. We don't know when 'The Big One' is going to take out significant portions of the West Coast (albeit some Italian judicial officials feel we should?!). I realize that I'm preaching to the choir for the most part... (for the Jr. Highers: 'preaching to the choir' means that you are talking to a group who already agree with what you are saying) but I guess my hope is that the enlightened will seek to spread said enlightenment throughout their community lessening the chances of Portlight needing showing up in your neighborhood.
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Quoting Matthias1967:


No, I don't think so. True, the media was hyping a superstorm. However, the media did not tell the people what they can expect. (Actually the media did not know on theirselves). And, what actually is a superstorm? I cannot find a definition for such a term, neither in Wikipedia neither in John E. Oliver's "Encyclopedia of World Climatology".

On the other hand, the RA IV Hurricane Operational Plan says, a hurricane warning is a warning that one or both of the following dangerous effects of a hurricane are expected in a specified area: (a) average winds 118 km/h (74 mph) (64 knots) or higher; (b) dangerously high water or a combination of dangerously high water and exceptionally high waves, even though winds expected may be less than hurricane force. The warning is issued 36 hours in advance of the anticipated onset of tropical-storm-force winds. and similar a tropical storm warning, except that that is a warning that tropical storm conditions, sustained
winds within the range 63-117 km/h (39-73 mph) (34-63 knots) are expected in the specified area within 36 hours or less.
(Watches are basically the same except for they're issued 48 hours in advance.) No word on landfall, intensity at landfall ore expected extratropical transitation. The manual also states that it is not recommended to step down warnings; I am concluding on this provision that it is fair to leave on a hurricane or tropical storm warning even after extratropical transition.

Given that, not issuing hurricane warnings was a probably life-costing wrong-doing.
Good morning all. I have been reading back some and if you are blaming the NHC for all those people not evacuating, you are wrong! I have been trying to come to an understanding of why people don't evacuate, including myself. I think I have come to the conclusion that it is because of the fact that we do not feel we are in danger. We take risks everyday, but unless you feel you are in danger, you keep taking those risks. I felt fine riding my bike to work after Wilma until I started hearing stories about people being sideswiped or hit by cars. Then I started worrying and becoming less secure on the bike. Needless to say, I have stopped riding it. That is my 2 cents on the subject, so give it a break please.
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Quoting presslord:

and, I fear, it's irresolvable...Jeff Masters has said he thinks it's gonna take some sorta huge, catastrophic event to convince the deniers....I think he's wrong...the deniers will deny right up to the point they're taking their last breath, standing on tippy toes,,,before they start swallowing sea water...it's intractable, at this point...

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Quoting ncstorm:
LOL..for real??


No prank: US military forces train for zombie apocalypse

I think Brad Barker is playing too much Call of Duty Black ops Zombie mode or watching to much 28 days/weeks later lucky for me I have not gotten any Commanding officers that go crazy over zombies and ordered us guys to do any zombie training
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
what abouut if someone is colour blind how would that work


Braille?!?! ;-)
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Quoting sar2401:

Sounds good, but it doesn't work either. How do you identify the ones that didn't leave? Assuming they're not found dead, how do you know they didn't leave at a time you weren't there? Do you go back after a major catastrophe and start handing out citations with the press from all over the world looking over your shoulder? Do you want to be the one that cites some poor lady in tears because her house is destroyed?

The easiest and most effective thing is turn off the utilities. Everyone hopes they can ride it out, and they will be the one house in the area that's not flooded and still has utility service. By turning off the utilities, you remove that "hope" that humans naturally have. There was clearly was no plan in place anywhere in the Northeast to do something like this. I was struck by how many neighborhoods completely underwater still had working streetlights.


Who pays for the flooded basement that is flooded because ConEd cut the power and the sump pump didnt run? Even though the power grid survived?
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New GFS 12z is showing a 990mb low heading just of Jersey up into Boston starting Tuesday. Won't be anything like what we just had but a Noreaster with 30-40mph winds looks about what it is showing now. Recovery will be a problem
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Quoting presslord:
How'sa 'bout a color coded system? Like we used to do with the terror alerts......'cause that worked so well....
what abouut if someone is colour blind how would that work
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 169 Comments: 53308
LurkeyMcLurkerson:

What if we quit using wind speeds and surge height, and started being more EF-scale-like:

Cat-1: live on the coast? you are likely to lose your home to wind or surge. Leave now. In a surge zone? unless you can hunt for food or generate your own power, you will hate this week.

Cat-2: Smell the ocean? If yes, your house will lose its roof.

Cat-3: ....
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How'sa 'bout a color coded system? Like we used to do with the terror alerts......'cause that worked so well....
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Quoting sar2401:

This is from someone who had to evacuate people for more than 20 years. A mandatory evacuation sounds good, but it doesn't work. What happens if a person refuses to leave? I can then arrest him. How about his whole family? I can arrest them too, although now I need three or four more deputies, since I only carry two pairs of cuffs. That's assuming they don't fight me. Then I have to taser them, write up a whole bunch of reports, and need another couple of duputies if we get more people fighting us. Then we have to transport them and book them into the country jail. Where do we get the deputies needed to do that? Who's telling everyone to get out if we have deputies tied up arresting whole neighborhoods?

From experience, I can tell you this doesn't work. What does work, and works really well, is handing out notices saying that, at "X" time, your power and gas is going to be turned off as part of public safety measures pre-planned for a storm. Let people know that they are on their own when it comes to being cold (or hot) because they'll have no power, they won't have any lights or TV, the internet probably won't work, and they'll have no gas for cooking. Also give each household a big Sharpie and have them write their social security number on their arms, so it will be easier to identify their remains once we are able to get back in and search the area.

I guarantee you that the vast majority of people would have left with those simple steps. The ones who stay behind after they know what's coming may die. That's the way nature works.

Excellent post....
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almost 90 US fatalities....RIP to all

come on...for those whom are told to evacuate next time please do... I was told to and I knew...I didn't even hesitate to leave.

good afternoon to all
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Quoting ncstorm:


I dont know about other states but NC implemented a directive that if you choose to stay in a mandatory evacuation zone that you would be fine $1000.00..

Sounds good, but it doesn't work either. How do you identify the ones that didn't leave? Assuming they're not found dead, how do you know they didn't leave at a time you weren't there? Do you go back after a major catastrophe and start handing out citations with the press from all over the world looking over your shoulder? Do you want to be the one that cites some poor lady in tears because her house is destroyed?

The easiest and most effective thing is turn off the utilities. Everyone hopes they can ride it out, and they will be the one house in the area that's not flooded and still has utility service. By turning off the utilities, you remove that "hope" that humans naturally have. There was clearly was no plan in place anywhere in the Northeast to do something like this. I was struck by how many neighborhoods completely underwater still had working streetlights.
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Quoting ScottLincoln:

As is typical with most land-falling systems, the maximum sustained winds are rarely sampled by the course network of meteorological stations. The winds also diminish rapidly once they are influenced by the friction of the coastline. The current estimate of wind field from Hwind follows that thinking, showing the hurricane-force winds only occurring right at the coastline, then diminishing.


Scott:

It was more of a response to "their were hurricane conditions in NJ." Posters harp about science and protocol, but ignore that unless sustained 1-min 74 mph winds were measured (we measure everything else), its not a hurricane by definition.

And we do indeed have records that show sustained HU winds over land.

Im having a hard time swallowing a pill that suggests that all stations reporting HU winds went down, but none of those measuring strong TS winds (and much higher gusts) did.
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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.