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Sandy likely to be a multi-billion dollar disaster for the U.S.

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 5:28 PM GMT on October 27, 2012

Hurricane Sandy is holding its own against high wind shear of 30 - 40 knots, and has regained its Category 1 strength after falling to tropical storm strength early this morning. Sandy is a massive storm, with tropical storm-force winds that span a 660-mile diameter area of ocean from a point even with central Florida northwards to a point off the central North Carolina coast. Twelve-foot high seas cover a diameter of ocean 1,000 miles across. A buoy 150 miles east of Cape Canaveral, Florida reported sustained winds of 63 mph, gusting to 76 mph, at 9:43 am EDT. Another buoy about 100 miles east of the coast of Georgia reported sustained winds of 69 mph at 11:52 am EDT. Due to the high wind shear and interaction with a trough of low pressure to Sandy's west, the storm has a rather unusual structure, with the strongest winds on the southwest side of the center, but a larger area of tropical storm-force winds to the northeast of the center. Satellite loops show that the low-level center of Sandy is partially exposed to view, with a small clump of heavy thunderstorms near the center. Most of the storm's heavy thunderstorm activity is on the storm's west side, in a thick band several hundred miles removed from the center, giving Sandy more the appearance of a subtropical storm rather than a hurricane.


Figure 1. Early afternoon satellite image of Sandy.

Sandy's death toll at 48
Sandy was a brutal storm for the Caribbean, with a total death toll that now stands at 48. The death toll is highest in Haiti, with 34 dead. The toll will likely rise as remote areas cut off from communications are reached. Cuban state media is reporting that eleven people were killed on Cuba, and damage was heavy, with 35,000 homes damaged or destroyed. Cuba is probably the most hurricane-prepared nation in the world, and it is unusual for them to experience such a high death toll in a hurricane. Sandy was Cuba's deadliest hurricane since Category 4 Hurricane Dennis killed sixteen people in 2005. Sandy is also being blamed for 1 death in Jamaica, 1 in the Bahamas, and 1 in Puerto Rico.

Forecast for Sandy
Wind shear is expected to remain a high 30 - 40 knots for the next two days, as Sandy interacts with a trough of low pressure to its west. The high shear should keep Sandy from intensifying the way most hurricanes do--by pulling heat energy out of the ocean. However, a trough of low pressure approaching from the west will inject "baroclinic" energy--the energy one can derive from the atmosphere when warm and cold air masses lie in close proximity to each other. Sandy's drop in central pressure from 969 mb at 5 am to 960 mb at 8 am this morning may be due, in part, to some baroclinic energy helping intensify the storm. This sort of effect helps spread out the storm's strong winds over a wider area of ocean; Sandy's diameter of tropical storm-force winds are predicted to expand from 660 miles to 760 miles by Sunday afternoon. This will increase the total amount of wind energy of the storm, keeping the storm surge threat very high. This morning's 9:30 am EDT H*Wind analysis from NOAA's Hurricane Research Division put the destructive potential of Sandy's winds at a modest 2.3 on a scale of 0 to 6, However, the destructive potential of the storm surge was exceptionally high: 5.2 on a scale of 0 to 6. Sandy's large wind field will drive a damaging storm surge of 3 - 6 feet to the right of where the center makes landfall. These storm surge heights will be among the highest ever recorded along the affected coasts, and will have the potential to cause billions of dollars in damage. The latest set of 00Z (8 pm EDT) and 06Z (2 am EDT) computer model runs have come into better agreement on the timing and landfall location of Sandy. Our two top models, the ECMWF and GFS, both call for landfall between 10 pm Monday night and 4 am Tuesday morning, with the center coming ashore between Delaware and New York City.

A multi-billion dollar disaster likely in the U.S.
I expect Sandy's impacts along the mid-Atlantic coast and New England coasts to cost at least $2 billion in insured damage and lost business, and there is a danger the storm could cost much more. Steve Bowen, meteorologist for insurance broker AON Benfield, put it this way for me this morning: "Given the level of losses associated with Irene last year and the current projections of extended high wind, heavy rainfall, coastal surge and an inland flooding threat for many of the same areas with Sandy, it would not come as a complete surprise to see a multi-billion dollar economic loss." Sandy should bring sustained winds of 50 - 70 mph with gusts over hurricane force to a large section of coast. With most of the trees still in leaf, there will be widespread power outages due to downed trees, and the potential for a billion dollars in wind damage.


Figure 2. Storm surge from Tropical Storm Irene at The Battery on the south end of New York City's Manhattan Island on Sunday, August 28, 2011. The green line is the storm surge, which is the difference between the observed water level (red line) and what the water level should have been without the hurricane (blue line). At 4:48 am, the storm surge peaked at 4.13 feet. The storm tide--how high the water got when factoring in both the tide and the storm surge--peaked at 9.5' above Mean Lower Low Water (MLLW) at 8:42 am. Image credit: NOAA Tides and Currents.


Figure 3. Predicted storm surge for Hurricane Sandy at The Battery on the south shore of Manhattan, New York City, from the experimental Extratropical Storm Surge model, run by NOAA"s Meteorological Development Laboratory. This model used winds from this morning's 12Z (8 am EDT) run of the GFS model, and predicts that the peak storm surge from Sandy will reach 5.5' on Monday night October 29, which is 1.4' higher than Irene's storm surge. This forecast has the peak surge occurring near high tide, bringing the maximum storm tide--the water level reached as a result of the combined action of the tide and the storm surge--to 10.5', a foot higher than Irene. At this level, water will very likely pour into the Lower Manhattan subway system, unless efforts to sandbag the entrances are successful. Notice: this is not an official NHC storm surge forecast, and the storm surge may be higher or lower than this, depending upon the strength, track, and timing of Sandy.

Sandy's storm surge may flood New York City's subway system, costing billions
Sandy is expected to have tropical storm-force winds that extend out more than 400 miles from the center, which will drive a much larger storm surge than its peak winds would ordinarily suggest. The full moon is on Monday, which means astronomical tides will be about 5% higher than typical, increasing the potential for damaging storm surge flooding. Fortunately, Sandy is now predicted to make a fairly rapid approach to the coast, meaning that the storm surge will not affect the coast for multiple high tide cycles. If Sandy hits near New York City, as the GFS model predicts, the storm surge will be capable of overtopping the flood walls in Manhattan, which are only five feet above mean sea level. On August 28, 2011, Tropical Storm Irene brought a storm surge of 4.13' to Battery Park on the south side of Manhattan. The waters poured over the flood walls into Lower Manhattan, but came 8 - 12" shy of being able to flood the New York City subway system. However, the town of Lindenhurst (population 28,000), on the south side of Long Island, was mostly under water due to the storm surge, and fresh water run-off from Irene's torrential rains, riding on top of a 3 to 4-foot storm surge, allowed the swollen East and Hudson Rivers to overflow at the edges of Manhattan. New York was not as lucky on December 12, 1992, when a 990 mb Nor'easter drove an 8-foot storm surge into Battery Park, flooding the NYC subway and the Port Authority Trans-Hudson Corporation (PATH) train systems in Hoboken New Jersey. FDR Drive in lower Manhattan was flooded with 4 feet of water, which stranded more than 50 cars and required scuba divers to rescue some of the drivers. Mass transit between New Jersey and New York was down for ten days, and the storm did hundreds of millions in damage to the city. The highest water level recorded at the Battery in the past century came in September 1960 during Hurricane Donna, which brought a storm surge of 8.36 feet to the Battery and flooded lower Manhattan to West and Cortland Streets. According to the latest storm surge forecast for NYC from the experimental Extratropical Storm Surge model, run by NOAA"s Meteorological Development Laboratory, Sandy's storm surge may be higher than Irene's, and has the potential to flood New York City's subway system (Figure 4.) The amount of water will depend critically upon whether or not the peak storm surge arrives at high tide or not. If the peak surge arrives near Monday evening's high tide near 9 pm EDT, a portion of New York City's subway system could flood, resulting in billions of dollars in damage. I give a 30% chance that Sandy's storm surge will end up flooding a portion of the New York City subway system.

An excellent September 2012 article in the New York Times titled, "New York Is Lagging as Seas and Risks Rise, Critics Warn" quoted Dr. Klaus H. Jacob, a research scientist at Columbia University’s Earth Institute, on how lucky New York City got with Hurricane Irene. If the storm surge from Irene had been just one foot higher, "subway tunnels would have flooded, segments of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Drive and roads along the Hudson River would have turned into rivers, and sections of the commuter rail system would have been impassable or bereft of power," he said, and the subway tunnels under the Harlem and East Rivers would have been unusable for nearly a month, or longer, at an economic loss of about $55 billion. Dr. Jacob is an adviser to the city on climate change, and an author of the 2011 state study that laid out the flooding prospects. “We’ve been extremely lucky,” he said. “I’m disappointed that the political process hasn’t recognized that we’re playing Russian roulette.” A substantial portion of New York City's electrical system is underground in flood-prone areas. Consolidated Edison, the utility that supplies electricity to most of the city, estimates that adaptations like installing submersible switches and moving high-voltage transformers above ground level would cost at least $250 million. Lacking the means, it is making gradual adjustments, with about $24 million spent in flood zones since 2007. At a conference I attended this summer in Hoboken on natural hazards on urban coasts, I talked to an official with Consolidated Edison, who was responsible for turning off Lower Manhattan's power if a storm surge floods the subway system. He said that he was ready to throw the switch during Irene, but was glad it turned out not to be needed.


Figure 4. Predicted 5-day rainfall for the period ending Thursday morning, November 1, 2012, at 8am EDT. Image credit: NOAA/HPC.


Figure 5. Actual rainfall for 2011's Hurricane Irene, which caused $15.8 billion in damage, most of it from river flooding due to heavy rains. Sandy's rains are predicted to be about 20% less than Irene's. Image credit: NOAA/HPC.



Figure 6. Top: Current soil moisture profiles over the mid-Atlantic show mostly near-average amounts of moisture, with some dry areas in the lowest 30th percentile in recorded history over much of Delaware and Southeastern Maryland. In contrast, soil moisture profiles just before Hurricane Irene arrived, on August 24, 2011 (bottom) ranked in the top 1% in recorded history (dark green colors) over portions of NJ, PA, and NY. Image credit: NOAA/CPC.


Figure 7. A comparison of river levels just before Hurricane Sandy's arrival (left) and just before Hurricane Irene of 2011 (right) shows that river levels were much higher in the mid-Atlantic and Northeast prior to the arrival of Irene. The area of highest concern for river flooding for Sandy is eastern Pennsylvania, where river levels are in the 76 - 90th percentile, and soil moisture is in the 70th percentile. Image credit: USGS.

Sandy's rains
Sandy is expected to dump 5 - 10 inches of rain along the coast near the point the center comes ashore, and 3 - 4 inches several hundred miles inland. Higher isolated rainfall amounts of fifteen inches are likely. Rains of this magnitude are going to cause trouble. If we compare the predicted rainfall amounts for Sandy (Figure 4) with those from Hurricane Irene of 2011 (Figure 5), Sandy's are expected to be about 20% less. Hurricane Irene caused $15.8 billion in damage, most of it from river flooding due to heavy rains. However, the region most heavily impacted by Irene's heavy rains had very wet soils and very high river levels before Irene arrived, due to heavy rains that occurred in the weeks before the hurricane hit. That is not the case for Sandy; soil moisture is near average over most of the mid-Atlantic, and is in the lowest 30th percentile in recorded history over much of Delaware and Southeastern Maryland (Figure 6.) One region of possible concern is the Susquehanna River Valley in Eastern Pennsylvania, where soil moisture is in the 70th percentile, and river levels are in the 76th - 90th percentile. This area is currently expected to receive 2 - 4 inches of rain (Figure 4), which is not enough to cause catastrophic flooding like occurred for Hurricane Irene. However, it is quite possible that the axis of heaviest rains will shift northwards from this forecast. I expect that river flooding from Sandy will cause less than $1 billion in damage.

Links
To find out if you need to evacuate, please contact your local emergency management office. They will have the latest information. People living in New York City can find their evacuation zone here or use this map. FEMA has information on preparing for hurricanes.

People with disabilities and caregivers seeking information on accessible shelter and transportation can contact portlight.org

Our Weather Historian, Christopher C. Burt, has an excellent post on Late Season Tropical Storms that have affected the U.S. north of Hatteras. He also has a post, Historic Hurricanes from New Jersey to New England.

Joe Romm at climateprogress.org has a thoughtful piece called, How Does Global Warming Make Hurricanes Like Irene More Destructive?

For those of you wanting to know your odds of receiving hurricane force or tropical storm force winds, I recommend the NHC wind probability product.

Wunderground has detailed storm surge maps for the U.S. coast.

The National Hurricane Center's Interactive Storm Surge RIsk Map, which allows one to pick a particular Category hurricane and zoom in, is a good source of storm surge risk information.

Research storm surge model run by SUNY Stonybrook for New York City.

Climate Central has a nice satellite image showing which parts of New York Harbor are below five feet in elevation.
Five-minute video of Hurricane Sandy on Thursday as seen from the International Space Station.

I'll probably leave this post up until late morning Sunday, unless there are some significant changes to report.

Jeff Masters

Hurricane Sandy Sea Foam - Marineland FL (Talkingrock)
The amount of sea foam generated by the high sustained winds is impressive as Hurricane Sandy floods the beach at Marineland Florida. You can see the palms in the background straining against the wind.
Hurricane Sandy Sea Foam - Marineland FL
Ormond Beach, Florida (kimshot)
Hurricaine Sandy
Ormond Beach, Florida
Deerfield Beach Fl. Sandy remnants (KFLWESTBOCA)
West coast style waves
Deerfield Beach Fl. Sandy remnants

The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.

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Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
I’ve lived in South Florida since 1975 and experienced all the storms. Seven years ago was the worst of them all for my area. Katrina followed by Rita followed by Wilma. Seemed that all I did was board up windows, remove outside possessions and batten down the hatches. I prepared for each storm.

Finally Wilma took its toll and I lost 75% of my roof shingles (as did half my neighborhood). I spent hours leaning on the entrance door to my house from the garage to keep it from blowing in. Very early that Monday of the storm, a fragmented wind spawn of Wilma launched down my block (about 30 homes) and took out every power pole (over a dozen). Every tree was shredded and barren and at least half of them were laying in the street or in people’s yards.

Power was not restored for three weeks. No generators were available for ten days. When generators became available, me, my house, the neighborhood and neighbors stunk of gasoline. Traffic lights at intersections were not functioning for a week. I stood in line for ice and water after five days.

AND I WAS PREPARED.

Be safe and heed the warnings.

Regards,
-Gary
Hollywood Florida
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The death toll in Haiti rose to 44 on Saturday, but officials fear the number may increase

The totals are now 58 death

Link in spanish
Link
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Quoting washingtonian115:
D.C does not evacuate but we do have shelters open. If you live by water and you know your property is at risk then take caution and seek higher ground.
ty
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
Flood watches just issued for PA, MD, WVA, OH AND NY...
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Quoting JeffMasters:
This impressive 1-min GOES loop shows the convection fighting against the shear, and the vortex tilt.

Jeff Masters
That is amazing and shows how this system has no precedence.
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Quoting MontanaZephyr:



SOOOOoooo not written by a weather nerd !!!

;-D

Actually, if the storm is even half as bad as predicted, it is going to suck into its swirl the US election. ..... if there are large areas without power for several days .... if substantial regions have to be evacuated .... you can be sure that both political parties, as well as other interests, are asking themselves: "How can we use this thing...?"


As I said earlier, the zombie apocalypse is upon us.

Tip! Don't forget to double-tap...
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Quoting Sfloridacat5:

O_o
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Quoting JeffMasters:
This impressive 1-min GOES loop shows the convection fighting against the shear, and the vortex tilt.

Jeff Masters


Woah.. now that's what I call a satellite image
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Quoting FLWeatherFreak91:
Totally just stole my link :p I made that myself


I'm pretty sure the University of Wisconsin made that, with GOES Imagery...neither of those are you.
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Quoting ncstorm:


Good gracious!!!



Are we seriously talking about the movie The Day after Tomorrow? I am not sure why there is so much focus on NYC (We don't know yet that NYC will get the worse). What about Atlantic City, NJ? What about Baltimore, Washington DC and even Philadelphia, PA?

My point is that EVERYONE is at risk from this storm up there. I haven't really heard much on Atlantic City NJ but last time I check it was right in the middle where the eye is supposed to hit or very near it.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
Wrightsville Beach, NC..courtesy of WWAY TV#

you can almost see the water reaching the sand dunes and buildings..will be a lot of beach erosion after this is said and done..

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Quoting Denier:


Wow this is is absurdity at its best. I work in Insurance at high level - I can tell you right now it is being modeled at $2-$5 Billion.I think Dr. Master's assesment is actually very close to on target.

I understand the abundance of caution as well as the element of excitement, but this situation does not warrant anything near the level of panic and hype being perpetuated in a lot of these comments and the media at large. My guess is the profits Lowes, Home Depot, and Weather Channel will be more than enough to offset the damages caused.

Remember the "Mega Cat" Irene that was being touted as the end of the entire east coast? This will cause some damage, and some level of discomfort for many. But this is not going to be the storm we will all be telling our grandkids about.



SOOOOoooo not written by a weather nerd !!!

;-D

Actually, if the storm is even half as bad as predicted, it is going to suck into its swirl the US election. ..... if there are large areas without power for several days .... if substantial regions have to be evacuated .... you can be sure that both political parties, as well as other interests, are asking themselves: "How can we use this thing...?"
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"Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today directed the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) to begin planning for an orderly suspension of all subway, bus and commuter railroad service, if Hurricane Sandy continues to bear down on the New York City metropolitan area. In addition, the Governor continued oversight of state preparations for the storm, including actions taken by the State Department of Health (DOH).Department of State Operations Howard Glaser, DOH Commissioner Dr. Nirav Shah, MTA Chairman Joseph Lhota, and PANYNJ Executive Director Pat Foye gave an update on preparations at the Governors Office in New York City today. A final decision on whether to suspend service will be made by Sunday, but the MTA must begin preparing immediately for a possible suspension to protect its customers, its employees and its equipment. If a decision to suspend service is made by Sunday, New York City subways and buses would begin an orderly suspension of service at 7 p.m. Sunday. Metro-North Railroad and the Long Island Rail Road would suspend service at 7 p.m. Sunday.

Some lines may be curtailed over a period of several hours before all service is suspended, but no one would be able to rely on any MTA service after 7 p.m. Sunday. All customers leaving the Sunday afternoon Jets game in New Jersey would be accommodated before service is suspended. However, the special through train from New Haven to the Meadowlands has been cancelled.

If a decision is made to suspend service, all New York City subway and bus service would need to be suspended by early Monday morning to allow crews to secure stations, tracks and tunnels before the onset of sustained winds of 39 mph or higher.On the subway system, where the orderly suspension of service takes eight hours, service would begin to be curtailed after 7 p.m. Sunday. While some trains may continue to run for several additional hours, there would be no guarantee of any subway service after that time, so all customers who rely on the subway would have to plan to complete their travel by 7 p.m. Sunday. The bus system requires six hours for the orderly suspension of service, so buses would be able to remain on their normal routes for as much as two hours after 7 p.m. Sunday. There would be no guarantee of any bus service after that time. The MTA would run normal service until those times, with sufficient capacity to allow customers to leave vulnerable areas and reach safe destinations before service is suspended. Those who use the MTA to evacuate would be allowed to carry pets. Dogs must be leashed and, if possible, muzzled. Cats should be in carriers.Subway stations in flood-prone locations such as lower Manhattan would be evacuated and secured. Critical track-level components would be removed from tunnels under rivers so they will not suffer the corrosive effects of salt water if they are flooded."
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Spiral banding on the E-SE side of the storm has been increasing since this morning. Sandy looks to be doing a good job of mixing out all the dry air it's ingesting.. And overall looks much healthier than yesterday at this time...
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
Quoting LargoFl:
I wonder how my daughter will do when this hurricane pushes all that water up those inlets there, havent heard anything from there about flooding concerns yet..if you hear anything let me know ok..have no idea if DC itself evacuates in something like this...i know its almost surrounded by water at least on two sides
D.C does not evacuate but we do have shelters open.
Quoting johngrey:


I have to agree, there does not seem to be a lot of tolerance for any conservative thought here. If you're not talking about Manhattan being swallowed by the ocean, you're foolish and irresponsible. My cousin lives on Water St and I told him he should think about staying with a friend uptown, but no matter what he does I expect we'll see each other again after this is all over.

Look, I've been reading this blog and comments for a few years now, just started posting yesterday, but some people here, including heavy posters, go beyond mere spectators and prognosticators, it's as if they're at the Indy 500enjoying and enjoying the prospect of a fiery wreck.

And can someone share their take on Philly's outlook ? ;-) I think I'm interpreting these maps and models right, but just want to be sure. Sustained winds 35-40 with gusts into the 60s?

Thanks.
If you live by water and you know your property is at risk then take caution and seek higher ground.
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Quoting Denier:


Thank you for the clarification Dr. Masters. I saw the flooding at the battery during Irene - It was "limited" at best. Basically consisted of a couple of police men standing around some puddles.
Irene was no Katrina so far as NYC was concerned--but to call it "a couple of police men standing around some puddles" isn't precisely true, is it?

Quoting centex:
Doom! Biggest weather event of 2012.
A) In the United States.

B) So far.
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326. JeffMasters (Admin)
This impressive 1-min GOES loop shows the convection fighting against the shear, and the vortex tilt.

Jeff Masters
Quoting Denier:


I am just a little annoyed and the overwhelming hysteria building around here and the media of something that really does not amount to a mega disaster. We keep doing this, no one is going to listen when the real disaster comes.


dude...this IS the real disaster...that's what people are telling you!
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Quoting guygee:
Thank you for the very detailed and informative update, even though it is terrible news. If the forecasts hold this is going to be an immense disaster for many people and a huge blow to our entire national economy.
Actually, this would be the best thing for the U.S. economy right now. It will inject billions from the insurance carriers to pay the wind losses and flooded cars. Much of the reinsurance will come from Europe's big carriers. That's better than Federal Reserve stimulus, given mostly to the banks who are barely loaning anything right now.

The flooding is another story. This will paid for largely by the tax payers. However, natural disasters are better than war at boosting the economy, because more dollars are spent on refurbishment, long term capital improvements and infrastructure at home.

So the occasional big disaster is a win, economically.

What would be disastrous is if large natural disasters like this become a trend. The insurance carriers would eventually go bust, and the banks would follow quickly afterwards, because without insurance you can't safely make loans at reasonable interest rates.

This is what I expect will eventually happen. It's inevitable, because the planet is simply not stable enough, on a long term basis.

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Quoting johngrey:


I have to agree, there does not seem to be a lot of tolerance for any conservative thought here. If you're not talking about Manhattan being swallowed by the ocean, you're foolish and irresponsible. My cousin lives on Water St and I told him he should think about staying with a friend uptown, but no matter what he does I expect we'll see each other again after this is all over.

Look, I've been reading this blog and comments for a few years now, just started posting yesterday, but some people here, including heavy posters, go beyond mere spectators and prognosticators, it's as if they're at the Indy 500enjoying and enjoying the prospect of a fiery wreck.

And can someone share their take on Philly's outlook ? ;-) I think I'm interpreting these maps and models right, but just want to be sure. Sustained winds 35-40 with gusts into the 60s?

Thanks.


I posted an image earlier for Philly. At the peak of the storm NWS was showing sustained winds running at around 55mph...
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
Quoting Denier:


Wow this is is absurdity at its best. I work in Insurance at high level - I can tell you right now it is being modeled at $2-$5 Billion.I think Dr. Master's assesment is actually very close to on target.

I understand the abundance of caution as well as the element of excitement, but this situation does not warrant anything near the level of panic and hype being perpetuated in a lot of these comments and the media at large. My guess is the profits Lowes, Home Depot, and Weather Channel will be more than enough to offset the damages caused.

Remember the "Mega Cat" Irene that was being touted as the end of the entire east coast? This will cause some damage, and some level of discomfort for many. But this is not going to be the storm we will all be telling our grandkids about.

As far as panic goes I haven't seen anyone jumping out windows or poisoning their kids yet. People are being prepared.
As for the Irene-Sandy comparison I'll try an analogy- think of Irene as an accident where two cars going in the same direction sideswipe each other. Think of Sandy as, as she makes her way not parallel but perpendicular to the coast, as a T-Bone accident (could have said head on but don't want to seem as if exaggerating). Irene filled with low test gas, Sandy filled with high octane, Irene the size of an SUV, Sandy a Mack truck.You, being in insurance could probably appreciate the comparison.
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Quoting washingtonian115:
I would post the clip but I'm on the phone right now.The wave on the movie over top the statue of liberty and washed out the bridge and downtown Manhattan.


Good gracious!!!

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Quoting charlottefl:
Here's the forecast from the NWS for Philadelphia:

55 mph sustained all day Tuesday in Philly? The downed trees and power outages are going to be incredibly widespread.
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319. atris
Quoting TomballTXPride:
I'm not even convinced anymore that that dry air will be at all a mitigating element, a saving grace, if you will. It has already fared well with it, and the model would have by now incorporated that into their equation.


Its just going to spread her wind field out .seriously .. its also about the front to her west and the storm she will met coming down from Canada .
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I have seen a map on TWC and it looks like dry air will be over Cape Cod? Is that right?
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I would post the clip but I'm on the phone right now.The wave on the movie over top the statue of liberty and washed out the bridge and downtown Manhattan.
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Quoting LargoFl:
that will probably happen


Some comparisons to Isaac and Irene's surge:

1) remember: the surge associated with Isaac interacted with the flow of the Mississippi. The crest was 13 feet above the normal height at new orleans and 9 feet above normal at Baton Rouge.
http://www.usgs.gov/newsroom/article.asp?ID=3387& from=rss_home#.UIw3l8XA-Jo

It looks like this storm will have very similar wind speed and even larger wind field Isaac, and that the peak winds may be 80 miles from the center, just like Isaac... with plenty of time for water to build up. The angle of the winds won't really be directly into the elbow of long island until the storm is starting to go inland, if it follows the predicted track. So you could conservatively say this would mean a 10 foot rise (less than Isaac) in the hudson. Looking at the tide chart:
http://ny.usharbors.com/monthly-tides/New%20York- NYC%20Approaches/Fort%20Hamilton%2C%20The%20Narrow s

2) the full moon would add 1 foot to the tide above median tide so make it 11 feet.

3) One reason that this is much worse than Irene is that with Irene, the winds were not strong enough to keep the water piled into the verranzano narrows area. It looks like we may be dealing with 70 mph sustained winds instead of 50.

3) A second reason this could be worse than Irene is that Sandy is not expected to come as close to NY city. As we saw with Isaac, areas in the direct path of the large eye (it was about 40 miles across with Isaac) were spared the worst storm surge.

4) The wind field is big enough that a landfall south of Atlantic city could still pile a lot of water into NY. Atlantic city is 97 miles from new york city by air. It sounds like the hurricane force winds may extend about 100 miles from the center, on average. So my educated guess is that if Sandy makes landfall between 20 and 125 miles south of new york city, the storm surge in the city could exceed 10 feet.



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off topic...
we have a new Epac invest...Possibly Rosa

BEGIN
NHC_ATCF
invest_ep982012.invest
FSTDA
R
U
040
010
0000
201210271850
NONE
NOTIFY=ATRP
END
INVEST, EP, E, , , , , 98, 2012, DB, O, 2012102718, 9999999999, , , , , , METWATCH, , EP982012
EP, 98, 2012102718, , BEST, 0, 108N, 1096W, 25, 0, DB, 0, , 0, 0, 0, 0,
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Quoting TomballTXPride:
I'm not even convinced anymore that that dry air will be at all a mitigating element, a saving grace, if you will. It has already fared well with it, and the model would have by now incorporated that into their equation.



But would be interesting with some expert commentary on this. As she is constantly engulfing dry air which by all theory should be worse than if it was moist air.

How can this not be a negative factor for the storm?

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313. xkcd
Quoting Denier:
Again, please understand I am not trying to lull anyone into complacety or just be a contrarian. I am just a little annoyed and the overwhelming hysteria building around here and the media of something that really does not amount to a mega disaster. We keep doing this, no one is going to listen when the real disaster comes.

Yeah, but the danger with that is that it's the same thing people say when the hype turns out to be warranted:
2. HurricaneGuru 11:31 AM EDT on August 29, 2005
Well, it was touted as the mother of all storms. This was a dud in comparison to all the statements made regarding its destruction of New Orleans. All in all, I think in the future it will only make more people ignore calls for evacuation. We shall see the pros and cons of all the hype.

Figuring out the difference between needless hype and important warnings is hard.
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I wonder how my daughter will do when this hurricane pushes all that water up those inlets there, havent heard anything from there about flooding concerns yet..if you hear anything let me know ok..have no idea if DC itself evacuates in something like this...i know its almost surrounded by water at least on two sides
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Quoting Denier:


I stand by my comment and those of Dr. Masters. Most of the $14 Billion in Irene damages was caused by way of massive flooding of already swelled rivers in Vermont and interior. Wind and surge was not much of an issue.

Cat 3 winds in NYC? Please take a step back. If that were a real concern, the city would be already evacuating the entire island of manhattan. I think the reports those officials are looking at are probably fairly accurate.

Again, there will be flooding, and power outages, and some damage. There will not be widespread devastion and tens of billions in damage.


Cogently argued, particularly the point about rivers being already swollen when Irene struck.

But Sandy is so much larger than Irene, and will affect a much larger area.

Also, there is something else that you might not be appreciating. Sandy is holding a lot of moisture. When it merges with the cold trough, that moisture will fall out much more quickly.

The maximum rainfall amounts I have seen are 14" in New Hampshire. This could be an underestimate. But, as it's a novel situation, I'd expect the estimates to be conservative.

This is a new scenario. In such a situation, forecasters will be more likely to underestimate than overestimate
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Doom! Biggest weather event of 2012.
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Quoting JeffMasters: I updated my post with the new graphic.

A couple of other points: the full moon is adding only about 5% to the height of the high tide--about 3 - 4".

A storm surge damage potential of 5.2 on a scale of 0 to 6 sounds like a lot, but we won't be seeing the kind of extreme storm surge damage a Cat 3 storm with a lower number on that scale would cause.

Jeff Masters

Jeff Masters


Thank you for the clarification Dr. Masters. I saw the flooding at the battery during Irene - It was "limited" at best. Basically consisted of a couple of police men standing around some puddles.
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Quoting CosmicEvents:
Not bashing, but you are looking at a nor'easter. Don't think of this as a tropical cyclone. For the more ominous endgame to happen it requires a weak sorta' tropical system to phase with the low and bomb out. A strong tropical cyclone wouldn't phase. Don't look at things like cold water, strong shear, etc., that we know hurt tropical systems. This gale called Sandy will thrive on the shear and cold water.


Well, that's the problem with the forecast. Between T+48 and T+60 on the current model runs is the explosive deepening phase with a swift increase in 500-700 mb vertical motion, and huge increase in QPF in the storm core consistent with a rapid buildup of convection. 500 HPa heights drop 8 dm in 12 hours (equivalent to 16 mb at the surface). So is this convective feedback, or is it real? If its real, the storm, although undergoing extra tropical conversion at the time, will briefly look like a fully-fledged hurricane again due to the convective outbreak in the centre. If not, the landfall will be weaker and further north. Every model indicates the rapid deepening...do all the models suffer from convective feedback? Long story short, if the models pan-out this isn't your fathers Nor-easter.
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Quoting washingtonian115:
With the way people are making it sound I should expect to see a 50ft tsunami/storm surge headed for N.Y.C .Sorta like The Day After Tomorrow right?.


I have to agree, there does not seem to be a lot of tolerance for any conservative thought here. If you're not talking about Manhattan being swallowed by the ocean, you're foolish and irresponsible. My cousin lives on Water St and I told him he should think about staying with a friend uptown, but no matter what he does I expect we'll see each other again after this is all over.

Look, I've been reading this blog and comments for a few years now, just started posting yesterday, but some people here, including heavy posters, go beyond mere spectators and prognosticators, it's as if they're at the Indy 500enjoying the prospect of a fiery wreck.

And can someone share their take on Philly's outlook ? ;-) I think I'm interpreting these maps and models right, but just want to be sure. Sustained winds 35-40 with gusts into the 60s?

Thanks.
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Quoting Denier:


I understand that concept. What I am saying is that if winds at skyscraper eights are expected to be over 100 or 125 MPH - Guess what, hinderds of thousands of people live and work in those skyscrapers. If this was possiblem, Bloomberg and his army of minions would alreday be mobilizing the exodus. I live in NYC, I watched Irene pop over my head while sipping my morning coffee.

Again, please understand I am not trying to lull anyone into complacety or just be a contrarian. I am just a little annoyed and the overwhelming hysteria building around here and the media of something that really does not amount to a mega disaster. We keep doing this, no one is going to listen when the real disaster comes.


I agree..this is turning into a hysteria blog..dont you guys think the NHC would have suggested to some point as they are on calls with the NWS in the NE states to evacuate? there is still uncertainity where landfall will be..if they evacuated NY right now and they got tropical force winds only, what do you guys think residents of that area will do when the next storm comes? yes, its 72 hours away but Im sure NY or any other major populated area will be able to man a mandatory evacuation with the help of the national guard if needed..this aint independence day..Im not downplaying Sandy but I think there is still time to assess the situation before making big decisions that will disrupt a lot people's livelyhood
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304. bwat
Quoting bwat:
With the direction of the winds, this will be on of the storms that blows the water out of the river "Perquimans" for me. I remember during Felix in 91 or so you could walk about 500 yards out into the river where there was normally 4 foot of water. This storm might surpass that giving the duration of the winds. Mother nature is amazing.
Make that 95...only missed it by 4 years.
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Quoting JeffMasters:

The new storm surge forecasts using the 12Z run of the GFS model from the experimental Extratropical Storm Surge model, run by NOAA's Meteorological Development Laboratory, are in. The peak storm surge from Sandy at The Battery in NYC is predicted to reach 5.5' on Monday night October 29, which is 1.4' higher than Irene's storm surge. The new forecast has the peak surge occurring near high tide, bringing the maximum storm tide--the water level reached as a result of the combined action of the tide and the storm surge--to 10.5', a foot higher than Irene. At this level, water will very likely pour into the Lower Manhattan subway system, unless efforts to sandbag the entrances are successful. Notice: this is not an official NHC storm surge forecast, and the storm surge may be higher or lower than this, depending upon the strength, track, and timing of Sandy. I updated my post with the new graphic.

A couple of other points: the full moon is adding only about 5% to the height of the high tide--about 3 - 4".

A storm surge damage potential of 5.2 on a scale of 0 to 6 sounds like a lot, but we won't be seeing the kind of extreme storm surge damage a Cat 3 storm with a lower number on that scale would cause.

Jeff Masters

Jeff Masters


I hope things change for the good. That is nearly 11 ft at peak tide. Awful!
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Thanks for the update Doc..
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Quoting presslord:
still pretty breezy here...by which I mean windy as hell....
Same here in northeast Broward. Power went out this morning for four hours. And Sandy is very far away.
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Quoting pottery:
I keep hearing Jaws music.......
LMAO!!!!
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Quoting JeffMasters:

The new storm surge forecasts using the 12Z run of the GFS model from the experimental Extratropical Storm Surge model, run by NOAA's Meteorological Development Laboratory, are in. The peak storm surge from Sandy is predicted to reach 5.5' on Monday night October 29, which is 1.4' higher than Irene's storm surge. The new forecast has the peak surge occurring near high tide, bringing the maximum storm tide--the water level reached as a result of the combined action of the tide and the storm surge--to 10.5', a foot higher than Irene. At this level, water will very likely pour into the Lower Manhattan subway system, unless efforts to sandbag the entrances are successful. Notice: this is not an official NHC storm surge forecast, and the storm surge may be higher or lower than this, depending upon the strength, track, and timing of Sandy. I updated my post with the new graphic.

A couple of other points: the full moon is adding only about 5% to the height of the high tide--about 3 - 4".

A storm surge damage potential of 5.2 on a scale of 0 to 6 sounds like a lot, but we won't be seeing the kind of extreme storm surge damage a Cat 3 storm with a lower number on that scale would cause.

Jeff Masters

Jeff Masters


It's just like everything is coming together at the right time for the worst possible scenario
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297. bwat
Quoting ncstorm:
Voluntary Evacuations called for Pamilco County, NC..
With the direction of the winds, this will be on of the storms that blows the water out of the river "Perquimans" for me. I remember during Felix in 91 or so you could walk about 500 yards out into the river where there was normally 4 foot of water. This storm might surpass that giving the duration of the winds. Mother nature is amazing.
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Quoting Denier:


I understand that concept. What I am saying is that if winds at skyscraper eights are expected to be over 100 or 125 MPH - Guess what, hinderds of thousands of people live and work in those skyscrapers. If this was possiblem, Bloomberg and his army of minions would alreday be mobilizing the exodus. I live in NYC, I watched Irene pop over my head while sipping my morning coffee.

Again, please understand I am not trying to lull anyone into complacety or just be a contrarian. I am just a little annoyed and the overwhelming hysteria building around here and the media of something that really does not amount to a mega disaster. We keep doing this, no one is going to listen when the real disaster comes.


I understand your frustration, however, Hurricane Irene was weakening at landfall, and Sandy is supposed to be strengthening. I am not predicting the end of NYC, and I know the hysteria can get out of hand at times, but I do think it's something to be taken seriously. Quite a bit more so than Irene if thing pan out as expected.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
295. JeffMasters (Admin)

The new storm surge forecasts using the 12Z run of the GFS model from the experimental Extratropical Storm Surge model, run by NOAA's Meteorological Development Laboratory, are in. The peak storm surge from Sandy at The Battery in NYC is predicted to reach 5.5' on Monday night October 29, which is 1.4' higher than Irene's storm surge. The new forecast has the peak surge occurring near high tide, bringing the maximum storm tide--the water level reached as a result of the combined action of the tide and the storm surge--to 10.5', a foot higher than Irene. At this level, water will very likely pour into the Lower Manhattan subway system, unless efforts to sandbag the entrances are successful. Notice: this is not an official NHC storm surge forecast, and the storm surge may be higher or lower than this, depending upon the strength, track, and timing of Sandy. I updated my post with the new graphic.

A couple of other points: the full moon is adding only about 5% to the height of the high tide--about 3 - 4".

A storm surge damage potential of 5.2 on a scale of 0 to 6 sounds like a lot, but we won't be seeing the kind of extreme storm surge damage a Cat 3 storm with a lower number on that scale would cause.

Jeff Masters

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Cat 6 lead authors: WU cofounder Dr. Jeff Masters (right), who flew w/NOAA Hurricane Hunters 1986-1990, & WU meteorologist Bob Henson, @bhensonweather

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