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Hurricane Sandy: Potentially Devestating for the Northeast

Hurricane Sandy in the Bahamas

Hurricane Sandy now spins just to the north of the Bahamas as a Category 1 hurricane.  Heavy rain and large waves have been impacting the coastal areas of Florida yesterday and this morning.

Most of the heaviest rain is staying off the coast.  Although over the past 48 hours areas of south Florida have had more than 2 inches of rain.  Skies will be begin to clear across Florida over the next few days as Sandy heads northward.  Rainfall totals in the dark blue shaded areas indicate up to a half inch of rain.  Open ocean areas to the east of Florida could see up to 5-6″.

The highest winds have also stayed off the coast of Florida but the northern edge of the Bahamas have been dealing with sustained winds up to 80 mph.

Tropical Storm Warnings in effect for the red shaded areas extended from West Palm Beach to about Port Orange.

 

Sandy’s Future

Sandy will continue to maintain its Category 1 status throughout the weekend. As it rides up the coast a very unusual scenario will begin to unfold.  Here is the latest projected track:

The most concerning part of Sandy’s projected path is the curve to the west on Sunday into Monday Morning.  This isn’t typical behavior of a storm headed in this direction.  Typically, we might expect Sandy to continue to head toward the northeast and out to sea.  However, an area of high pressure will be planted just the north of Maine.  As winds wrap clockwise around that high, they will be steering Sandy back towards the coast.  At that point, she also meets up with another system moving into the northeast, making for a situation unlike anything we have every seen.  Expected low pressure could be as low as 940 mb, which may actually break a record in New York.  The potential impact throughout the entire region could be devestating and may include millions of people left without power and numerous flooded areas due to heavy rain and storm surge.

 

Meteorologists look for consistent results from successive model runs.  The general consensus has been that this system will make landfall at some point between Maryland and Massachusetts. However, at this point, it seems like the impact will be so widespread that the exact landfall location shouldn’t be a major focus.

Potential Storm Surge

To make matters worse, there will be a full moon. This will mean a higher tide and the potential for even higher storm surge.

From: http://www.nyc.gov/html/oem/html/hazards/storms_stormsurge.shtml

“Large areas of southern Queens, southern Brooklyn, the lower east and west sides of Manhattan, and the perimeter of Staten Island could all suffer damage from a hurricane’s storm surge. In addition, storm surge from a strong hurricane would not be limited to waterfront properties and could conceivably push miles inland in some areas. New York City’s unique geography — located at a “bend” in the coastline between New Jersey and Long Island — makes it especially vulnerable. Even a low-level hurricane that makes landfall near New York City could wash ocean waters over large sections of some coastal neighborhoods. Storm surge can make landfall five hours before the hurricane itself. It can also take place after a hurricane has moved away from the city, as high seas slump back into confined spaces like Long Island Sound.”

Stay turned fro the latest Sandy updates!

Meteorologist Gretchen Mishek

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