Major East Coast Storm: Hurricane Sandy
A Hurricane, a Perfect Storm, Extra-Tropical Storm, a “Super Nor’easter”… these are some of the very real scenarios for the storm named ‘Sandy‘, a major storm that could charge up the East Coast of the United States just in time for Halloween according to some of the medium range super-computer tracking models.
(UPDATES APPENDED BELOW)
The latest Euro (ECMWF) medium range tracking forecast has this mega storm heading to Long Island as a 950mb system, a Cat 3 hurricane! By the way, the National Hurricane Center traditionally considers the Euro (ECMWF) as the most reliable tracking model.
Joe Bastardi, a well known weather forecaster known for the plain-speaking style of his forecasts, tweets: “ECMWF strikes Long Island with 948 mb 27.96 hurricane 2-3 foot snows on west side mtns of pa into wva.”
Note: ECMWF (European Center for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts)
It is considered one of the best global models for Medium-Range Weather Forecasting. It is highly sophisticated and provides a vast array of products for forecasters around the globe.
Let me state this… This is not an unsubstantiated doom post. It is based on evidence from real sources that real weather forecasters are beginning to look at with concern. Should this storm track become reality, the East Coast, particularly the NorthEast will be in for MAJOR damage.
Let me also state this… This is obviously not a certainty at this point, being a week away as of the time of this original post. There are other medium range models that bring this out to sea, although historically less reliable.
Take a look at the forecast map image above. You see the circular lines wrapping around the storm? These are lines of pressure. The tighter they are together, the lower the pressure and the stronger the winds. This forecast shows and INCREDIBLE low pressure (and high winds).
From HurricaneTrack blog…
It all seems to have begun yesterday when some of the global models began to change their track for this storm from an out to sea event to one that may affect people from Florida to Maine. The Canadian (model) was one of the first to show it. Then the American based GFS and finally, the very reliable ECMWF or Euro. People began talking about it within the weather blogs as if sniffing out something that movies are made out. It was incredible to read what people were saying could happen if this came to pass. Surely it was a one time fluke in the models and things would return to normal a mere 12 hours later. Not so much.
The overnight run of the Canadian global model shows pretty much the same scenario as yesterday. It takes what would be Sandy and turns it in to this enormous ocean storm that would cause coastal flooding, high winds and heavy rains for a large portion of the U.S. East Coast.
Looking at the latest Euro run, it too continues its forecast of developing a very large and powerful storm as the tropical energy from what would be Sandy gets pulled in to a deep trough digging in. This entrainment and phasing is rare but when it happens, it can lead to very powerful hybrid storms that have both tropical and non-tropical characteristics. The Perfect Storm in 1991 was just such an example. The overnight run of the Euro is jaw-dropping, there is no other way to describe it.
Major Storm Forecasts
ALWAYS TAKE THEM SERIOUSLY. PREPARE FOR THE WORST.
You have less than one week. Get it done…
Check back for updates to this post.
This is an extraordinarily unusual scenario. What seemed like a far fetched idea (a hurricane-like system hitting the northeastern U.S.) is gaining credibility. Originally the European medium range forecast model was on its own with the incredible but somewhat bizarre idea that Sandy would be influenced with energy from the jet stream and curve back toward the NorthEast, New England, as a stunningly strong and epic storm. Now one forecast model after the other, are favoring a curve back toward the East Coast after the storm progresses midway up the Eastern seaboard.
Even the Brazilian forecast model has come into agreement with the Euro ECMWF, which is indicating an incredible low pressure of 934 mb. This is as bad as it gets if correct.
…now, midday, the Euro tracking forecast into Delmarva Peninsula, Delaware Bay, NJ, Philadelphia
From the Washington Post today…
There is a consensus forming in weather forecast models that hurricane Sandy is unlikely to go out to sea. Instead, it more likely will merge with a strong fall cold front and transition into a powerhouse, possibly historic mid-latitude storm along the mid-Atlantic and/or Northeast coast Sunday through Wednesday.
Three models as of this moment…
The European model simulates a very strong storm off the Delmarva coast Monday morning with very heavy rain in the central and northern mid-Atlantic – with a projected landfall near Cape May later that day.
The GFS model turns the storm into the Gulf of Maine Tuesday night with a projected landfall near Portland later that night.
The Canadian model shows the storm making landfall near Boston Wednesday morning.
The pieces to the forecast puzzle on Sandy continue to come closer together and the latest model data to analyze suggests that Sandy becomes a high impact storm for the mid-Atlantic and/or New England.
Sandy may actually phase with that upper-level energy and move back toward the coast. As this occurs, Sandy, turns into more of a massive Nor’easter, provides an expanding wind and rain field that produces damaging gusts, flooding rains and coastal flooding over parts of the mid-Atlantic and/or New England anywhere in the Monday-Tuesday timeframe.
While the dangerous storm is still days away, the probability of the feared left hook has increased and will take place during a big atmospheric fight from the mid-Atlantic to New England and neighboring Canada. The result could be a knockout blow to some areas and not only along the immediate coast.
Tens of millions of people and thousands of communities could be impacted by the storm.
UPDATE: OCT-26 The National Hurricane Center has the center of the storm going into either south Jersey or Delaware. There is an inherent margin of error this far out, and a more northern track would bring more significant impacts to New England.
It’s a very complicated and an anomalous pattern, and timing the phasing of a tropical system with a non-tropical upper-level low can be tricky. If Sandy can maintain a warm core longer into the forecast period, the resistance to phase may also hold on a bit longer than some of the models project. If that occurs, the turn NW into the coast happens farther north, putting southern New England in a more serious situation that the current path would take it. Wind, power outages and coastal flooding would be significant.
The Euro (ECMWF) is currently forecasting a landfall in Delaware / Delmarva / Southern New Jersey vicinity, whereas the American model (GFS) is indicating a Long Island landfall. Time will tell…
UPDATE: OCT-27 National Hurricane Center still forecasting landfall somewhere near southern New Jersey based on the average of multiple tracks, which themselves vary from Delmarva to southern New England. Greatest impacts will be Monday afternoon, night, and early Tuesday morning.
Latest 12Z reports are in… GFS taking landfall to central NJ, ECMWF predicts landfall sourthern NJ. HUGE wind field, and many will be in harms way. NYC will take a hard blow.
Sandy Power Outage Forecast:
UPDATE: OCT-28 This morning’s forecast models have shifted slightly north of yesterday. The National Hurricane Center has their landfall about 50 miles further north of the Delmarva – now just north of Atlantic City, NJ. Bear in mind again, that the wind field will be enormous, so the exact location of landfall is not as relevant. Damaging winds extend outward hundreds of miles. The worst winds are always on the northeast side of such a storm, and will adversely affect places like the New York City region, Long Island, southern New England, Cape Cod, as well as all of the surrounding regions of New Jersey. EVERYONE in the northeast corridor will be affected.
Given the population of the region, and should the power go out for an extended time in pockets, this will be a ‘survival’ case study of the preparedness and readiness (or lack thereof) of the people as well as the resulting consequences of life without electricity.
Computer models agree that Sandy will make landfall between 10 pm Monday night and 4 am Tuesday morning in New Jersey.
UPDATE: OCT-29 Sandy is beginning to take the turn toward the Jersey coast. The central pressure of the storm has just matched the lowest ever recorded in this part of the Atlantic, and as a result the wind field surrounding the storm remains immense. Rather than concentrated like a typical hurricane, the sustained and long lasting winds will be felt for hundreds of miles either side of the storm.
Breaking News… Sandy has just broken the all-time record lowest pressure in the Atlantic… now at 940 mb. Hurricane has strengthened to 90 – 115 mph winds.
UPDATE: OCT-29 evening Sandy has become an unprecedented Hurricane within a massive Nor’easter, which has smashed all time records of size and pressure. It’s wind field is enormous. The winds today have been strongest in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut. Power outages are increasing exponentially. As Sandy has just made landfall at Cape May, New Jersey, the winds there have picked up considerably. We are now (as of 7PM eastern time) in the peak of the storm, while high tides this night will be historic with the storm surge coupled with full moon tides. When the sun comes up tomorrow, the landscape will surely have changed in many locations…
UPDATE: OCT-30 This morning millions are without power. One million on Long Island, almost one million in New York City vicinity, quarter million in Massachusetts, half million in Connecticut, one and a half million in New Jersey, half million in Delaware and Maryland, quarter million in Pennsylvania, quarter million in VT-NH-ME…
The full extent of the damage won’t be realized for awhile yet.
Check back for updates to this post.