Sandy a Threat to the Northeast (10-24-12)
The weather for the Northeast next week is looking more and more interesting. A couple of days ago we mentioned that our computer models were taking a tropical system, Sandy, up along the East Coast during the early part of next week . However, there was quite a bit of uncertainty as some of the models brought this potentially powerful storm inland across the Northeast or even mid Atlantic states while others kept the storm well out to sea. This afternoon a potentially important change in the forecast track of the storm came from the GFS computer model. For days and days the model has insisted that the storm would stay out over the Atlantic Ocean with a minimal impact on the U.S. but now with this morning’s run it drives a strong storm into the coast of Maine later Tuesday (October 30th).
It is a little hard to see on this map but it forecasts a barometric pressure of 952 mb. To put this is a historical perspective, the Blizzard of ‘93 (a.k.a. Storm of the Century) had a lowest pressure of 960 mb. Our confidence increased further this afternoon when the Canadian model switched its tune forecasting a track into eastern Massachusetts. I thought I would also include a map of what the GFS thinks the upper level pattern will look like Monday evening and all the key players coming together. First, of course, you have Sandy out in the Atlantic. It may lose its tropical characteristics as it drifts north into cooler waters early next week but its winds could still be hurricane force. Now the guiding forces that will determine where this storm goes are two fold. First, you have a huge blocking high in the north Atlantic south of Greenland. That will essentially put the brakes on Sandy and its movement north. Next, there is a deep and energetic trough of low pressure developing (or digging) in the eastern United States.
Sandy being slowed down by the blocking high allows Sandy to be absorbed by the eastern trough which ultimately directs Sandy toward the coast. By far, the greatest impacts from this storm will be felt closer to the Northeast coast where the winds will be the strongest (perhaps hurricane force), coastal flooding and erosion will be significant (the storm will come at a time of astronomical high tide thanks to a full moon) and heavy, flooding rains. If this all comes to fruition, the storm will have a big impact on air and train travel in the Northeast early next week. While there are likely to be lesser impacts here in central New York, we would still be in line for potentially heavy rain Monday, Tuesday and perhaps into Halloween Wednesday along with some gusty winds at times.
We’ll be sorting out the details of what this storm means for us over the next couple of days as there are still some differences on exactly where landfall ultimately is but one thing is certain: given the blocking taking place in this part of the globe, this storm will not move quickly once it makes landfall. It would lose a lot of its strength during the middle of the week but we would be left with a blustery, cloudy and damp pattern right into the end of the week.
With this new information coming in this afternoon, the meteorological blogosphere is going to go into overdrive on the storm and it is just a matter of time before the major news networks pick up on this potential. I would think by the end of the week, certainly by the weekend, the talk of this storm will push even the election coverage into the background.
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