This is the official blog for Bryan Norcross, Hurricane Specialist at The Weather Channel.
By: Bryan Norcross , 12:14 PM GMT on October 22, 2012
The tropical disturbance in the Caribbean is getting better organized... and is close to tropical depression status. The upper-air pattern is conducive for it to develop into a tropical storm and perhaps even a Cat 1 hurricane this week. It will likely be "Sandy", though there is a disturbance some 700 miles northeast of the Leewards that has a slight chance of beating it out. The next name would be "Tony".
The best computer forecast models - the American (GFS) and the European (ECMWF) - tell the same story for the next few days... the tropical storm brings extremely heavy rainfall to the northern Caribbean islands midweek. The strengthening storm - either a strong tropical storm or a hurricane - then moves through the Bahamas Wednesday through Friday.
The main effect in the U.S. in this scenario is an extended stretch of windy weather along the Florida east coast causing high surf, beach erosion, and some high-tide flooding.
Beyond that, the models are telling a different story. The GFS takes the tropical system out to sea, like tropical systems are supposed to do in October, and a strong kink in the northern jet stream spins up an separate nor'easter-like system off Long Island a week from now.
The European mixes the tropical system with the northern jet-stream energy and creates a mega winter storm across parts of the northeast back to the Great Lakes.
It's a crazy pattern, but these very sharp kinks in the jet stream caused when a big blocking high develops in the Atlantic are how oddball scenarios develop. For now we stay tuned. No doubt it will change again a number of times. Our main immediate focus is on the Caribbean and the potential for life-threatening rainfall across the northern islands.
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