Friday, October 26, 2012

Hurricane Sandy Update #2 of 3 - Landfall Projections, New England Impacs

The official National Hurricane Center storm track takes Sandy briefly away from land and then a drastic turn back to the west making landfall between Delaware and southern New Jersey.

Sandy is moving into VERY WARM WATER off shore. This will help feed the storm sustaining it at hurricane strength until it makes landfall.

The best computer model over the last week in handling the storm has been the European Model. Its resolution is far superior than the GFS (American Model) among other things. Here is the European snapshot. It brings Sandy ashore in early afternoon

A few other projections take it further north and and at different times.

The surf heights near Delaware Bay will rise to 15+ feet!

Reegardless, the impact will be felt from Chesapeake Bay, north into New Jersey where evaculations might be needed due to coastal flooding and 60-70+ mph winds. If a shift to the north occurs, the sheer size of this storm and its accompanying wind field has a real chance of affecting New York City. Something to watch this weekend.

Have there been any storms like this? Using the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee analog tool (which weights factors like TIME OF YEAR, INTENSITY, MOTION, DIRECTION and LOCATION) there are
10 "best fits". Notice that NOT ONE OF THESE STORMS TURNED WEST like Sandy is projected to do.

This storm will be an HISTORIC STORM due to it location of landfall (Mid Atlantic and New England) and the number of people it will effect. Some have compared this storm to the Hurricane of 1938. Look at this scary comparison to Sandy and the Hurricane of 1938!

Hurricane Sandy Update #1 of 3- Impacts on North Carolina Coast

Since Hurricane Sandy has impacts that will be felt as far west as Northern Ohio, I'll post updates in three parts so that we can spend time showing the varying elements of this HISTORIC storm. But for right now, I want to show the impacts this weekend along the Carolina coastline.

Notice the amount of area this storm covers. Google Earth satellite photo illustrates this well.

The tropical storm wind probabilities, although very small, extend from eastern Ohio to southern Florida north to Maine!

Most of the computer models keep Sandy well off shore until next week, the impact will be initially felt along the North Carolina coast. has some excellent graphics showing the wave heights and wind direction for some high impact areas. Cape Hatteras and the Outer Banks late Friday evening shows no big changes

Watch the wind heights JUMP Saturday morning through Saturday afternoon in the next TWO MAPS....Storm surf heights of 15 to 20 feet are not out of the question!

Storm surf heights rise very fast according to this graph derived from the graphics above.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

HUGE Warmup...Late October Atlantic Hurricane...Potential Storm Next Week

Once again, I don't want to overshadow this nice warmup we are enjoying but the potential for major storm development early next week is too meteorologically interesting to ignore. Temperature will climb nicely today through Thursday. If we are lucky, a few backyards could touch 80 by Thursday!

Now to next week.
Three different elements are factored into the pattern next week.

1. Unseasonably warm air
2. Strong Cold Front
3. Late Season Tropical Storm (Hurricane) near the east coast

The interesting element is the late season Tropical Storm named Sandy in the Caribbean. Late season tropical systems DO occur from time to time. Hurricane Hazel in 1954 was a significant hurricane which made landfall in mid October along the coast of North Carolina and moved north into central Pennsylvania.

We are approaching Halloween so the tropical storm/Hurricane chances greatly diminish. Even less are the chances of a tropical system making landfall along the east coast of the US.

Using NOAA's Historical Hurricane Plotter, I created a map of the tropical systems that developed from October 22nd through early November in the Caribbean that made landfall along the east coast.  I found ONLY THREE SUCH STORMS. All of these storms occurred 1800s. 

So Sandy would be a rarity given its super-late season development and its potential impact area.

Here is the plot of the many computer projections using Google Earth. The red circles are showing selected cities like Cleveland, New York, Boston, Cape Hatteras and Hilton Head.

The European solution is still very aggressive in keeping Sandy along the east coast Sunday through Tuesday merging it with the cold front coming from the west. Lots of energy coming out of the west which--according to this projection--would pull it WEST. Here is Sunday and Monday back to back.

Now check out Tuesday.....

The model takes Sandy, merges it with the front and pulls it as far as western New York and blows it up into this monster! This would mean 50+ winds for Northeastern Ohio with rain (maybe wet snow).

While I am skeptical of this result, the model's consistancy can't be ignored.  We still have a week to go. Let's see what happens...

Monday, October 22, 2012

Big Storm Next Week? No Storm...What To Believe?

The Meteorology subculture inside the global Twitter world is buzzing with the prospects of a major east coast wind/snowstorm sometime early next week before Halloween. As with all long range computer model simulations, some have a better handle on the atmospheric dynamics this time of year than others. Rather than bore you with the specifics of each computer model, I'd rather show you what a few of the projections are saying about late this weekend/early next week:

One note first. I really like warm weather versus cold weather any day of the week, any time of year. So my excitement over the upcoming scenarios for early next week is not to quickly passover the nice warmup this week. Temperature will be in the 70s from Monday through Thursday. The meteorologist grim reaper I am not. The meteorological realist I am. (Was any of that grammatically correct?)

Let's set the stage with the three components that will be intertwined into this potential system:

1) Warm air building in the east
2) Cold air pushing southeast behind the cold front
and 3) The late season tropical system soon-to-be called "Sandy" in the Caribbean.

Lots of map ahead so find OHIO and work east. I show these maps to illustrate the point that computer projections this far out usually have differing results. Also, understanding how these computer models tick make you a better meteorologist in the long run and a more informed viewer of weather

The clash between the warm air ahead and the cold air behind will be the trigger for some thunderstorms across Ohio this weekend. Notice the energy developing late Thursday followed by the cold air behind.

The clash between these components is very apparent on this map that I created for the morning show. 

The big question is what component becomes the dominating feature this weekend?

Using Google Earth, soon-to-be Tropical Storm Sandy is projected to stay out to sea. The lines shows the different projections.

The National Hurricane Center shows that most of the October tropical storms take this general track.

What to these computer projections say specifically? The EUROPEAN model shows this MONSTER STORM off the east coast with strong winds late Monday with a push west into Ohio and PA on Tuesday.

 The CANADIAN model shows some development late Saturday night off of the coast.

The NAVY MODEL show development further out at sea.

The AMERICAN MODEL shows hardly any development early next week.

I can guarantee you one thing: ITS GETTING COLDER NEXT WEEK!

More updates on my FACEBOOK FANPAGE as the week continues.