Sandy slams Cuba, intensifies over the Bahamas

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:39 PM GMT on October 25, 2012

Hurricane Sandy shrugged off wind shear of 20 knots and passage over the southeastern tip of Jamaica yesterday afternoon, explosively deepening into a top-end Category 2 hurricane with 110 mph winds. Sandy made landfall in Southeastern Cuba around 1 am EDT this morning near Santiago de Cuba, which experienced sustained winds of 78 mph, gusting to 114 mph. Winds at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba peaked at 58 mph, gusting to 72 mph, at 3 am local time this morning, and the base received 3.51" of rain from Sandy as of 8 am EDT this morning. Punta Lucrecia, Cuba on the north coast of Cuba received 8.42" of rain from Sandy as of 8 am EDT. Cuban state media is reporting that one person was killed on Cuba, and damage was heavy, with thousands of homes damaged or destroyed. Damage was also substantial on Jamaica, where one person was killed, and power was knocked out for 70% of the island's residents. One death has been reported in Haiti due to flooding.

Sandy survived the crossing of Cuba's high mountains with its inner core relatively intact, and is now re-intensifying over the warm waters of the Central Bahama Islands. The latest 9:30 am center fix from the Hurricane Hunters found a central pressure of 965 mb, down 3 mb in 1.5 hours. The eye is intermittently visible on satellite loops, and Sandy appears to be holding its own against the high 30 knots of wind shear affecting it.


Figure 1. Hurricane Sandy approaching landfall in Southeast Cuba as seen by Cuban radar at 10:15 pm EDT Wednesday, October 24, 2012. Image credit: Cuban Institute of Meteorology.


Figure 2. Morning satellite image of Sandy.

Forecast for Sandy
Wind shear is expected to rise to 40 - 55 knots by Friday, as Sandy interacts with a trough of low pressure to its west. The high shear should disrupt Sandy's inner core and reduce the maximum winds. However, the trough will also inject energy into Sandy, and the hurricane's winds will spread out over a wider area of ocean, keeping the storm surge threat high. This large wind field will likely drive a storm surge of 5 - 8 feet in the Bahamas. Sandy will make its closest pass by Nassau around 8 am EDT Friday.

The latest set of 00Z (8 pm EDT) and 06Z (2 am EDT) computer model runs are in substantial agreement for the next 3 days, but Sandy's future is as clear as mud after that. Sandy will continue to punish the Bahamas today and Friday, as it tracks north to north-northwest. Sandy will probably come close enough to the Southeast U.S. on Saturday afternoon to spread heavy rains to the coasts of South Carolina and North Carolina. However, the 4 - 6 day computer model forecasts for Sunday - Tuesday diverge widely. The GFS model, which has been one of our two top models for predicting hurricane tracks the past two years, has been very inconsistent with its handling of Sandy. Runs of the GFS model done 6 hours apart, at 8 pm last night and 2 am EDT this morning, were 300 miles apart in their position for Sandy on Tuesday, with the latest run predicting a landfall in Maine on Wednesday morning. On the other hand, the ECMWF model, our other top model for predicting hurricane tracks, has been very consistent in its handling of Sandy. The ECMWF model has Sandy hitting Delaware on Monday afternoon, the same forecast it has had for three consecutive runs. The other models tend to follow one extreme or the other, and NHC is picking a solution somewhere in the middle of these two extremes. An extra set of balloon-borne radiosondes is going to be launched at 2 pm EDT Thursday all across the U.S., which should help this evening's model runs. Extra radiosondes will be launched every 6 hours through Saturday afternoon.


Figure 3. This Maximum Water Depth storm surge image for the Bahamas shows the worst-case inundation scenarios for a Category 2 hurricane with 105 mph winds, as predicted using dozens of runs of NOAA's SLOSH model. For example, if you are inland at an elevation of ten feet above mean sea level, and the combined storm surge and tide (the "storm tide") is fifteen feet at your location, the water depth image will show five feet of inundation. No single storm will be able to cause the level of flooding depicted in this image. Sandy's maximum storm surge may reach levels portrayed in this image for some islands in the Bahamas. See wunderground's storm surge pages for more storm surge info.

The Northeast U.S. scenario
If Sandy makes landfall farther to the north near Maine and Nova Scotia, heavy rains will be the main threat, since the cold waters will weaken the storm significantly before landfall. The trees have fewer leaves farther to the north, which will reduce the amount of tree damage and power failures compared to a more southerly track. However, given that ocean temperatures along the Northeast U.S. coast are about 5°F above average, there will be an unusually large amount of water vapor available to make heavy rain. If the trough of low pressure approaching the East Coast taps into the large reservoir of cold air over Canada and pulls down a significant amount of Arctic air, the potential exists for the unusually moist air from Sandy to collide with this cold air from Canada and unleash the heaviest October rains ever recorded in the Northeast U.S., Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick. This Northeast U.S. scenario would probably cause damages near $100 million dollars.

The mid-Atlantic U.S. scenario
Landfall Monday along the mid-Atlantic coast on Monday, as predicted by the ECMWF and NOGAPS models, would likely be a billion-dollar disaster. In this scenario, Sandy would be able to bring sustained winds near hurricane force over a wide stretch of heavily populated coast, causing massive power outages, as trees still in leaf fall and take out power lines. Sandy is expected to have tropical storm-force winds that extend out more than 300 miles from the center, which will drive a much larger storm surge than its winds would ordinarily suggest. The full moon is on Monday, which means astronomical tides will be at their peak for the month, increasing potential storm surge flooding. Fresh water flooding from heavy rains would also be a huge concern. Given the ECMWF's consistent handling of Sandy, I believe this mid-Atlantic scenario has a higher probability of occurring than the Northeast U.S. scenario. However, it is likely that the models are overdoing the strength of Sandy at landfall. The models have trouble handling the transition from tropical storm to extratropical storm in these type of situations, and I expect that the 940 mb central pressure of Sandy predicted at landfall Monday in Delaware by the ECMWF model is substantially overdone.

Jeff Masters

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12Z GFS INIT 23 OCT hr 012 TILL 144


Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 196 Comments: 63029
Quoting 7544:
sandys getting her nice round look back just like last night when she was getting stronger could she be doing that again

Does that mean a westward jog that will flatten Miami?
Member Since: October 2, 2004 Posts: 0 Comments: 25746
Quoting windshear1993:
wait aminute wasnt sandy a cat 3 earlier this morning?? why did they degrade it?
i looked at the storm history and it says it wasnt a cat three
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Member Since: May 23, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 5179
Freeze for North GA in 1 week, 2 weeks early!

Dang 23 on the GA/TN line, such an early hard freeze would be amazing if not unprecedented.(it probably isnt unprecedented)
Blue line is 32F:
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9877
Are the HHs in Sandy now? or when are they gonna leave for the next trip?
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12Z GFS INIT 23 OCT hr 012 TILL 144


Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 196 Comments: 63029
wait aminute wasnt sandy a cat 3 earlier this morning?? why did they degrade it?
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Thursday afternoon check in. She's not exactly being ripped up by the shear, which was what everyone sane in my neck of the woods was routing for. Here on out, this is something to prepare for us. Thanks so much for the professional notes in this blog and good luck to those of you blogging from the islands.
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The eye becoming very pronounced in the last few frames.

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236. SuzK
Quoting oracle28:
Don't flame me for this, but what are the chances the trough keeps Sandy offshore?

Or would it actually draw Sandy westward?

I went to school with a girl named Sandy Westward...but I digress.


And I went to school with a Sandy Westerfield!! Inevitability at every turn =:o
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GFS isnt great with the snow, keeps most of it in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, and Maryland...

However it gives a foot or two at most to West Virginia, and some significant amounts in SW Pennsylvania.

It gives around an inch or so to Michigan, and later on the run 1-2 inches to Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, Vermont, and New Hampshire
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9877
I don't see this GFS forecast for Sandy to hit LI. The latest one on this site shows it going out to sea and then coming back to hit southern Maine.
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233. mati
Quoting GeorgiaStormz:
The GFS hooks shots this into Long Island, NYC area, and unlike the Euro, keeps this very strong all the way to the great lakes....gonna have to check the snow forecast.

Still strong at the great lakes:


The great lakes are still very warm, another hurricane Hazel?
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Quoting Grothar:


hydrus, where have been?
Working and taking care of everybody. Put simply , I,m swamped.
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 27514
Water temps still @ 80F 150 miles due east of N.C.Link
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Quoting RitaEvac:


A proclaimed prophet says Wall Street will be underwater next week


who?
I googled it and the first thing that came up was a link back to your comment on this blog. lol
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9877
Quoting TropicTraveler:


It's good of you to post actual conditions. I ditto the person who says please stay safe.
Thanks it,s feels like Irene last yeer.
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Quoting SyriboTigereyes:


Hey there fellow Long Islander! I'm in Nassau in the middle of the island myself. em>


Hello! I am just north of Sunrise Highway on the Nassau/Suffolk border. Just far enough away from any direct coastal flooding.

Good luck with the boat!
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Quoting hydrus:
I hate saying it, but Sandy could be much worse than Irene, and comparable to some of the biggest storms and Nor,Easters to hit the region. Satellite image of the intense nor'easter responsible for the North American blizzard of 2006. Note the hurricane-like eye at the center.


hydrus, where have been?
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Quoting Grothar:
All of you are wrong.


Hmmmmmmmmmmm?
Member Since: August 26, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 766
Quoting mati:
If Sandy nails New York dead on, I forsee crazy flooding
I hate saying it, but Sandy could be much worse than Irene, and comparable to some of the biggest storms and Nor,Easters to hit the region. Satellite image of the intense nor'easter responsible for the North American blizzard of 2006. Note the hurricane-like eye at the center.
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 27514
The GFS hooks shots this into Long Island, NYC area, and unlike the Euro, keeps this very strong all the way to the great lakes....gonna have to check the snow forecast.

Still strong at the great lakes:
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9877
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Grothar:
All of you are wrong.
Proceed...
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Quoting bahamacast:
It,s much worse from last post eye,s close.


It's good of you to post actual conditions. I ditto the person who says please stay safe.
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Quoting mati:
If Sandy nails New York dead on, I forsee crazy flooding


A proclaimed prophet says Wall Street will be underwater next week
Member Since: July 14, 2008 Posts: 2 Comments: 10372
All of you are wrong.
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217. 7544
sandys getting her nice round look back just like last night when she was getting stronger could she be doing that again
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Quoting barbamz:


Actually a lot of cruise ship plans already have been changed in the Caribbean because of Sandy. Link

Edit: And from Ireland to Spain? Quite a jog!


That one was interesting- we went through the heart of 90L, the first of the season, and had several rocky days, came out into one day of sun, then massive storm over Ireland/England pushed us south. I did learn that most cruise lines have excellent real time reporting stations for the weather forecasting network, providing thousands of extra forecasts when things are brewing up. All especially useful in hurricane season.
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Quoting bahamacast:
It,s much worse from last post eye,s close.
You stay safe down there. I know what your going thru for what its worth.
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 27514
213. mati
If Sandy nails New York dead on, I forsee crazy flooding
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Member Since: May 23, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 5179
Quoting bahamacast:
It,s much worse from last post eye,s close.


Yikes! Get off the computer and be safe!

Member Since: August 26, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 766
210. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
India Meteorological Department
Tropical Cyclone Advisory #13
CYCLONIC STORM MURJAN (ARB01-2012)
17:30 PM IST October 25 2012
========================================

At 12:00 PM UTC, Cyclonic Storm Murjan moved southwestward and now lays near 9.5N 51.5E or about 2300 km west southwest of Amini Divi, India (Lakshadweep) 430 km south southwest of Socotra Island, Yemen and 160 km east of Scusciuban, Somalia. Cyclone is likely to move west southwestward and cross Somalia coast near 9.0N between 18:00 and 21:00 PM UTC, today.

According to satellite imagery, the Dvorak intensity of Murjan is T2.5. The lowest cloud top temperature due to convection is about -70C. Associated broken to intense convection is seen over the Arabian Sea between 7.0N to 14.0N and to the west of 54.5E and adjoining Somalia.

3 minute sustained winds near the center is 35 knots gusting up to 45 knots. The central pressure of the system is 1000 hPa. The state of the sea around the center of the cyclone is high.

At 12:00 PM UTC, Socotra Island, Yemen reported a 1006 hPa mean sea level pressure and 30 knot winds.

The Madden Julian Oscillation index currently lies over phase 2 with amplitude > 1. As per statistical and numerical weather prediction model predictions, it is expected to continue to be in phase 2 during next 3 days. The sea surface temperature is about 26-28C Over southwest and adjoining west central Arabian Sea. The ocean thermal energy is 50-80 kj/cm2 around the system center. It is less than 50 kj/cm2 over Somalia coast and adjoining seas. The upper tropospheric ridge lies along 16.0º n and hence lies to the north of the system center. The low level convergence as well as lower level relative vorticity and upper level divergence show no significant change during past six hrs. The vertical wind shear between 200 and 850 HPA levels is moderate (05-15 knots) around system center and there has been fall in wind shear by 5-10 knots. The system is interacting with land surface

Forecast and Intensity
=====================
12 HRS: 8.5N 49.5E - 35 knots (Cyclonic Storm)
24 HRS: 7.5N 47.5E - Low Pressure Area
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209. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
Philippines Atmospheric Geophysical Astronomical Services and Administration
Tropical Cyclone Bulletin #13
TROPICAL STORM OFEL (SON-TINH)
11:00 PM PhST, October 25 2012
==============================

Tropical Storm "OFEL" has maintained its strength and is now traversing the West Philippine Sea away from the country

At 10:00 PM PhST, Tropical Storm Ofel [994 hPa] located at 14.7°N 117.8°E or 240 km west of Bataan has 10 minute sustained winds of 40 knots with gusts of 50 knots. The cyclone is reported as moving northwest at 12 knots.

Signal Warnings
=================

Signal Warning #1
----------------

Luzon Region
==============
1. Zambales
2. Bataan

Additional Information
=========================

Public storm warning signal elsewhere is now lowered.

Residents living in low lying and mountainous areas are alerted against possible flash floods and landslides.

Estimated rainfall amount is from 5-20 mm per hour (moderate to intense) within the 400 km diameter of the tropical storm.

Fishing boats and other small seacrafts are advised not to venture out into the seaboards of northern Luzon and over the eastern seaboard of central Luzon due to the surge of Northeast Monsoon.

The public and the disaster coordinating councils concerned are advised to take appropriate actions and watch for the next bulletin to be issued at 5 AM tomorrow.
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208. TXCWC

Quoting Thrawst:


I was going to say... this is like Irene part. 2


If what latest GFS and what Euro has been saying verifies this will not be like Irene...it WILL be worse
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Quoting hydrus:
man thats nasty. I have not seen winds that strong since 2005....Saw it way too often in 2004..
It,s much worse from last post eye,s close.
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If the core were to stay over the gulf stream while moving toward Hatteras,could remain a cat 2.
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205. JRRP
Link
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204. TXCWC
Quoting hydrus:
I bet they would put up advisories up and evacuate the coast.


The potential is for this to be far worse than Irene -so if they evaced last yr you can count on it again.
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I certainly hope Sandy scoots on by us here on the Dare Co mainland (20 miles west of Hatteras) We have JUST finished Irene repairs....the thought of doing it all again....shudder.
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Quoting bahamacast:
We have 70knt to 80knt here in Exuma bahamas with the eye still 50 nm away.
man thats nasty. I have not seen winds that strong since 2005....Saw it way too often in 2004..
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 27514
Quoting Bluestorm5:


So it seems nc is back in the cone
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 18010
Quoting NJ2S:
I'm on the Hudson across from manhattan in nj....everyone still seems pretty clueless....what should we expect??


NHC is saying a 75 mph storm on Tuesday morning going into NYC. But Tuesday is a long way away in the life of a hurricane.

That prediction would make it slightly stronger than Irene. Most of the damage from Irene up there was flood damage from rain.

Dr. Masters is expecting particularly heavy rain. Reading between the lines, maybe worse than Irene.
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199. TXCWC
Quoting NJ2S:
I'm on the Hudson across from manhattan in nj....everyone still seems pretty clueless....what should we expect??


lots of rain, POTENTIALLY catostrophic coastal flooding and POTENTIALLY hurricane gusting winds resulting in widespread power outages. In short a very bad day. I would prepare as soon as possible if I were you - especially before people start "getting a clue"
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Somebody tell those beards from Gloucester to get off the water. The swordies will be there after the storm passes.
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Quoting NJcat3cane:
Anyone think a sub 950mb low packing hurricane winds would cause evacs here in Jersey? since they had mandatory evacs last year with irene i think they might.
I bet they would put up advisories up and evacuate the coast.
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 27514
I'm on the TX coast, and it's looking like a Sandy Hook, NJ bullseye.
Member Since: July 14, 2008 Posts: 2 Comments: 10372

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