The weather will start to change across central New York this afternoon as we start to feel the effects Hurricane Sandy. The winds will steadily increase the rest of the day with sustained winds of 20-40 mph by sunset. We also expect showers to increase of over all of central New York later today.
Meanwhile, Sandy has started its well-advertised ‘hook’ to the left, or west. The storm will make landfall along the south Jersey coast later this evening. The result will be one large and intense storm that is forecast to make landfall in southern New Jersey Monday night. Historical impacts are a distinct possibility along portions of the East Coast as storm surge up to 10 feet along the coast will coincide with astronomically high tides early this week. The most severe impacts (strongest wind, coastal flooding, widespread power outages, and beach erosion) are expected along the Eastern Seaboard.
The computer models are in excellent agreement that this will not simply be a coastal storm. The effects of Sandy will be far reaching in terms of wind and precipitation. Here in Central New York it looks like are greatest threat from this storm will be from the wind. While Sandy is closing in on the Jersey coast, its wind field will expand northwestward. We think our strongest winds will come from late this afternoon and will continue through the middle of the night. Wind gusts of 60 mph or greater are possible which is capable of bringing trees and power lines down. The extreme winds will likely die down around sunrise Tuesday. However, Tuesday will still be a windy day as the remnants of Sandy track westward across Pennsylvania. A High Wind Warning will be in effect for all of central New York from Monday afternoon into Tuesday.
The computer models have also come to better agreement on the positioning of any heavy rain. Instead of being over us, that heavy rain should be shifted south of central New York with lighter totals of .50” to 2 inches expected by the end of the day Tuesday.
While the greatest impacts from Sandy will come early in the week, we will likely have to deal with Sandy (at least in a weakened form) for much of the week. A big blocking high pressure up over the north Atlantic and Greenland is serving as a gigantic roadblock over this part of the Northern hemisphere. That means once Sandy makes landfall it won’t be in any hurry to move out of the Northeast. We are keeping cloudy cool and showery weather in the forecast through the end of next week.