Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.
By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 4:16 PM GMT on November 02, 2012
Storm-weary U.S. residents pounded by Superstorm Sandy may have a new storm to contend with next Wednesday: an early-season Nor'easter is expected to impact the mid-Atlantic and New England with strong winds and heavy rain. Our two top models, the European (ECMWF) and GFS (run by the National Weather Service), both predict that an area of low pressure will move off the coast of South Carolina on Tuesday evening. Once over the warm waters off the coast, the low will intensify, spreading heavy rains over coastal North Carolina on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning. The storm will accelerate to the north-northeast on Wednesday and pull in cold air from Canada. The storm is predicted to intensify into a medium-strength Nor'easter with a central pressure of 992 mb by Wednesday afternoon, when it will be centered a few hundred miles south of Long Island, NY. The European model, which did an exemplary job forecasting Hurricane Sandy, predicts a stronger storm that will stay just offshore and bring a 12-hour period of strong winds of 40 - 45 mph to the coasts of Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, and New York on Wednesday morning and afternoon. The GFS model and 06Z NOGAPS model runs from 06Z (2 am EDT) this morning have a weaker storm that is farther offshore, with the main impact of the Nor'easter occurring Wednesday evening in coastal Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Maine. The Nor'easter will likely bring a swath of 2 - 4" of rain to the coast, and the potential for more than a foot of snow to mountain areas of the New England. The storm is still five days away, and five-day forecasts of the path and intensity of Nor'easters usually have large errors. Nevertheless, residents and relief workers in the region hit by Sandy should anticipate the possibility of the arrival on Wednesday of a moderate-strength Nor'easter with heavy rain, accompanied by high winds capable of driving a 1 - 2 foot storm surge with battering waves.
Figure 1. Predicted wind speed for Wednesday morning, November 7, 2012, from the 00Z (8 pm EDT) run of the ECMWF model made on November 2, 2012. Winds tropical storm-force (40 - 45 mph) are predicted to extend from coastal Maryland to the east tip of Long Island, NY.
Figure 2. Forecast track error for four of our top models used to predict Hurricane Sandy. The GFS model performed the best for 1 - 3 day forecasts, but the European (ECMWF) model far out-performed all models at longer-range 4 - 5 day forecasts. This may be due to the fact the model was able to successfully predict the timing of the arrival of a trough of low pressure over the Eastern U.S. that acted to steer Sandy to the north and then northwest. Image credit: Morris Bender, NOAA/GFDL.
Figure 3. Forecast track error for four of our top models used to predict Hurricane Sandy, for their runs that began at 00Z October 25, 2012. The GFDL and ECMWF models made great forecasts that correctly showed Sandy making landfall in Southern New Jersey in five days. The GFS and HWRF models made good 1 - 3 day forecasts, but failed to anticipate Sandy's northward turn towards the U.S. coast. Image credit: Morris Bender, NOAA/GFDL.
Impressive loop of 1-minute visible satellite imagery spanning 6 days of Sandy's life.
A one-day time lapse video from a New York City webcam showing Sandy's impact on the city. It's eerie to see the city suddenly plunged into darkness.
First round of damage assessment aerial imagery collected by NOAA's National Geodetic Survey on Oct. 31 along the New Jersey coast.
Figure 4. Flooding in Haiti from Hurricane Sandy. Image credit: The Lambi Fund of Haiti.
Charities mobilize for Sandy
Sandy's death toll of 98 in the U.S. makes the storm one of the 30 most deadly hurricanes to affect the U.S.. The outpouring of charitable donations in the wake of the terrible storm has been great to see. NBC is hosting a benefit concert at 8 pm tonight (Friday), and the main owners of The Weather Channel have agreed to match donations of up to $1 million to the American Red Cross, with all donations to benefit people in the hard-hit areas of the U.S. To have your donation matched, please visit www.redcross.org/sandy, or text SANDY to 90999. I also recommend my favorite disaster relief charity, Portlight.org. They are focusing their response efforts exclusively on the post-Sandy needs of people with disabilities.Check out the Portlight blog to see what they're up to.
Sandy's greatest devastation occurred in Haiti, where rains of up to 20 inches in 24 hours unleashed rampaging flood waters that killed at least 54, left 200,000 homeless, wiped out thousand of acres of crops, and killed massive numbers of livestock. For impoverished families in Haiti still struggling to recover from the earthquake in 2010 and Hurricane Isaac in August, Sandy was devastating. These crops are the very essence of rural Haitian’s livelihoods, and there are fears widespread starvation will result. A disaster relief charity in Haiti that I've contributed to for many years, The Lambi Fund of Haiti, is seeking donations to help farmers purchase local seeds so that they can replant their crops in the wake of this latest terrible Haitian catastrophe.
I'll have an update this weekend on the coming Nor'easter.
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