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October 27, 2012

Big Story Weather Special Storm Report – October 27, 2012

redOrbit Meteorologist Joshua Kelly

The new word on the street to describe Sandy is "Frankenstorm." It's been given that name for two reasons: the sheer nature of the storm and also the date that it´s going to be impacting the East Coast  - right around the Halloween period.

Sandy is on a crash course to hit one of the United States most populated places which could create a large amount of chaos in the region.

A state of emergency has been declared by many states in preparation for Sandy´s landfall.

The yellow line indicates where the winds will reach Tropical Storm force over the next couple of days. This means winds will and can be in excess of 35mph and upwards to 74mph. There will also be gusts that could be stronger.

The region in red is the latest track for where Sandy will come on shore. Sandy is forecasted to hit in between the DELMARVA peninsula and New York City. This track will need to be watched very closely over time. If it hits south of New York City, this will put it in the right front quadrant meaning that the likelihood of severe storm surge, coastal flooding, damaging winds, and tornadoes will be possible for the city. If the storm hits right over New Jersey, this will put the entire region from Washington DC to New York City in harm´s way. This storm is going to hit the East Coast with a pretty high level of confidence and also it looks like it will make landfall as a minimum CAT 1 or strong Tropical Storm.

The thing to take into consideration with this storm is two things. First, the size of the storm and how many people are going to be impacted. Secondly, the fact that from the west there is going to be a cold front and Arctic air colliding with this storm. This is what happened in 1991 during the Perfect Storm and we are very close to seeing the Perfect Storm Take 2 unfold before our eyes, except this time it will be on land.

As I mentioned, there is going to be a cold side to this storm as well and if you look at the map the place outlined in white is where there is currently a Winter Storm Watch for the mountains of West Virginia.

Image Caption: This visible image was taken from NOAA's GOES-13 satellite on Friday, Oct. 26 at 1415 UTC (10:15 a.m. EDT) and shows Hurricane Sandy's huge cloud extent of up to 2,000 miles while centered over the Bahamas, and the line of clouds associated with a powerful cold front approaching the U.S. east coast. Credit: NASA GOES Project

Once, Sandy makes landfall it is going to take some time to clear the area and this is going to be a major factor in the outcome of how places in its path fair. For example, below are some weather forecasts on what could happen if Sandy hits its targeted area. These places will see multiple days of strong winds, precipitation and storm surge which will make this a storm for the memory books.

Here is some information on the projected winds from this storm as of October 27, 2012:

Baltimore, Maryland will start seeing winds above 20mph by 11PM on October 28 and this will last until 5AM Wednesday October 31, with winds sustained as high as 46mph and gusting to near 65mph during the strongest period of the storm.

Ocean City, Maryland will start seeing winds in excess of 20mph later this afternoon and it will also last until sometime during the day Wednesday. Strongest winds look to be around 45mph sustained and gusts to near 60mph.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania will see winds start on Sunday at about 8am getting to around 20mph and will stay that strong until well into Wednesday, with highest sustained winds around 48mph with gusts to near 65mph.

Atlantic City, New Jersey will see winds start to increase around 5AM Sunday morning approaching 20mph and they will stay like that until during the day on Wednesday with the highest sustained winds to be near 52mph with gusts near 66mph.

New York City, NY will see winds start to get around 20mph later on Sunday night and then will stay that way until late into Wednesday night with the strongest sustained winds around 45mph with the highest gusts to be near 55mph.

Cape Cod will see the winds start early Sunday to be around 20mph and stay that way until late Wednesday afternoon with the highest sustained winds to be around 42mph and highest gusts possibly around 52mph.

This is a very strong mix of a tropical system and a winter system and a very cold air mass all coming together to make this potentially one of the strongest storms that we have seen, not only in the Northeast but also in the United States.

We will have an update again tomorrow morning on Sandy and its changes.