I'm a CMU Honors student and love meteorology and extreme weather. I've been fascinated by weather since I was 5, and plan on becoming a meteorologist
By: wxchaser97 , 12:30 PM GMT on October 26, 2012
Sandy has had a rough day today. Shear has been impacting her from multiple sides and the speed of the shear has increased. Wind shear has finally been able to begin to take down Hurricane Sandy. Currently winds have dropped to 80mph, a pressure of 968mb, and she is moving NW at 13mph. Aircraft recon is investigating Sandy to find out what is going on and her current conditions.
What was once a beautiful hurricane has been overcome by high wind shear. UW-CIMSS wind shear map shows over 40 knots of wind shear impacting Sandy from the SSW. There analysis maps also showed that Sandy has remained vertically stacked and that there still is some good divergence and convergence. This shear has exposed some of the circulation and blew some convection off to the NE. We know that the circulation is still vigorous and it should survive the wind shear. Sandy should begin to slowly turn extra-tropical. Also not as warm SST and lower TCHP values are contributing to weakening and a transition. I think weakening should continue and restrengthening from tropical origins is not likely. The lack of convection right over the center isn't a good sign for her. It is possible she weakens to a tropical storm before baroclinincal energy intensifies her again. This would happen as Sandy interacts with a trough around North Carolina or so. It is possible, but not likely at all, that Sandy is sheared to death by this trough. While models don't show this happening we have to noted every possibility. I think she should slowly weaken for a couple more days as she takes apart her inner core but expands the storm in general. Once Sandy gets to the baroclinic zone she should rebound some before making landfall. Her wind field will be expanding from this, the pressure will fall, but the top wind speeds will fall too. Sandy will look more and more like an asymmetric hurricane than before due to shear and the extra-tropical transition. She will still bring damaging impacts no matter what she is officially classified as. The Bahamas are still under hurricane warnings as Sandy does continue to produce hurricane force winds. Parts of the East Coast are already under tropical storm watches/warnings. Schools in Fl are closed and more of the same can be expected in the north.
Models have been coming into a great agreement of most things about Sandy. They are all indicating that Sandy will continue to impact FL and the Bahamas for the next 24-36hrs as Sandy slowly moves NW before making a turn. This turn will be in response to a trough located over the United States. Models also agree that Sandy will go NE before phasing with the trough and turning back to the NW. They all show her strengthening some due to entering a baroclinic zone, and they all show here turning extra-tropical near landfall. It is once Sandy gets north of 35N models begin to lose a consensus. While they maintain a Mid Atlantic to NE landfall they don't know exactly where or how she will do over land. Some models take Sandy to MASS or Maine while others to lower NY and NJ. At least no major models take her out to sea like in the past. I say this is good because we have a idea that somewhere will get hit, but I wish Sandy was going out to sea though. The trough looks to come in on time and sweep Sandy away from Fl. It should carry her to the NE until about 35N when she starts to turn NE. Sandy will be losing tropical characteristics by that point and she wouldn't have much more than 24hrs, I think, as a fully tropical cyclone. I think a landfall in the middle of NJ is very reasonable at this point looking at our two most reliable models. Sandy could either go more t the north or to the west after coming ashore. A more northern track would put less people in harms way from snow. A more westerly track would have a more substantial snow system for some. Timing is key with the trough and everyone on the East Coast needs to be preparing for sandy.
Where ever Sandy makes landfall she will have long reaching impacts. With Sandy being a large storm, and only expected to get larger, her impacts will be felt over a big area. With her transitioning to an extra-tropical storm her wind field is expanding. Some areas in the Mid Atlantic and the NE can expect winds up to 75mph. Other areas will likely see 40-65mph winds. This will be able to knock out power, uproot/break trees, damage structures, and make life difficult. Rain will be a threat from Sandy as well. Once she gets into the baroclinic zone her convection will increase. This will have more rain than she has right now. Some areas are estimated to get 10+" of rain. This would cause flooding in a good amount of areas that don't need it. Snow is even a possibility with Sandy as there will be cold air on the back side. Depending on track, a snowstorm is possible in a couple states with lesser snowfall in others. That will have to be watched as no one would be prepared for an early winter storm. Finally storm surge and coastal flooding should be an issue. With Sandy coming at a time with a full moon a higher tide and surge are expected. This could drive water into areas that usually don't get surge. People in the NE and Mid Atlantic need to be preparing for Sandy and listening to officials. This could be a historic event and you do not want to get caught in the storm unprepared.
Have a great day everyone and I will have an update tonight or tomorrow.
The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.