Monday, October 29, 2012

Hurricane Sandy - Monday Update - Northern Ohio Forecast

If you recall, early last week, we saw the potential for a super storm to develop given the setup over the last several weeks and the resurgence of a tropical storm in the Caribbean. Now this storm is a reality.

We are accustomed to seeing storms on a flat surface like this satellite image above. What is lost in translation are the elements of the storm that stretch from the surface up to the top of the atmosphere. This is where the real development gets going. 

Remember, when visualizing a storm like this, imagine that the hurricane is a wedding cake with multiple layers. Each layer of the cake represents different conditions as you increase in altitude. Moisture condenses, air rises and descends. A hurricane is a big heat engine. Moisture has to evaporate and condense into water droplets for this "heat engine" to survive. Since Sandy has been over above normal water temperatures in the Atlantic for a few days, the hurricane keeps churning along. Based upon the water temperatures and a more favorable environment closer to shore, expect some slight intensification today before it makes landfall.

One buoy forecast near Long Island is calling for 41 foot waves tomorrow morning.

Grand Central Station is a ghost town!

As of 11AM, the pressure is DOWN TO 940mB. For some perspective, this a pressure normally seen in a Category 4 hurricane. The fact that this storm is merging with the east coast trough has widened its size decreasing its overall wind speed but INCREASING ITS WIND FIELD!  Thus the high winds here in northern Ohio and the southern Great Lakes. If this storm were in the open Atlantic, the winds could reach 130-140mph.

Here is a great Ocean City, MD webcam

The latest forecast brings Sandy close to land later this evening; about 6 hours earlier than last night.

Lake Erie along with the other Great Lakes have buoys which have instruments that record weather conditions. The buoy about 16 miles from Lorain has recorded the pressure fall and subsequent increase in wind speed.

Winds in northern Ohio will continue to increase today and tonight. Gusts to 45 today. Gusts approaching 60 tonight and tomorrow as the hurricane heads into central Pennsylvania. The National Weather Service graphics illustrate the wind gusts for Northern Ohio the best for this evening until Tuesday evening.

Lake Erie waves are forecast to reach 20+ feet tonight and early Tuesday. I haven't seen a wave forecast like this in years!

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