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October 28, 2012

Big Story Weather Special Storm Report – October 28, 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.

As of this morning, Sandy is now turning off the Carolina coast bringing with it very rough seas to Cape Hatteras and southward into Georgia. Portions of Florida are still dealing with rough surf. Most of these places now have off shore flow so the surge is not as bad in this region any more it is just the high seas they are dealing with.

Northward of the Carolina´s into Virginia and Maryland the onshore flow is beginning to start as the Northeast winds are starting to increase. Warnings and advisories have been posted for coastal flooding along with high winds and surge in this region.

Starting today for the DEL/MAR/VA region, expect to see the winds increase to around 20-25mph by noon EDT. Then around 11PM EDT, look for the winds to be in the 20-40mph range. Going into Monday the winds will increase during the morning to the 30-55mph range. Monday evening look for the winds to hit the 35-60mph range with higher gusts likely. By Tuesday afternoon winds should start returning to around 20-40mph with gusts near 50mph. Towards Tuesday evening winds will start to decrease to around 20-30mph and decrease more going into Wednesday. Below we can see from the latest National Weather Service Radar image that the first line of feeder bands are beginning to arrive into the region and this will continue to increase in coverage as the day goes on.

Now moving into the West Virginia mountain range we are still looking at a major winter storm to setup with upwards to 1-2ft of snowfall possible. The latest winter storm watch for the region has the lower elevations below 2,000ft seeing anywhere from 2-6 inches of snowfall possible. Going up above 1,000ft higher it´s a whole new game with snowfall amounts possibly pushing 2ft when all is said and done in this region. Winds will start picking up in this region later on this afternoon in the 15-25mph range and slowly increase throughout today and into Monday when winds could finally reach around 30-45mph with higher gusts. The biggest story will be the winds combining with the snow to make blizzard-like conditions in the region. Below is the latest radar out of the region.

A few showers and stronger showers have been ongoing through the evening. These showers are associated with the cold front that is moving into the region.

Looking at the current radar we can see that most of the precipitation with the cold front is still to the west. Sandy´s precipitation is still far to the Southwest and South of the region. As for New York and New Jersey, this will change. As the day progresses the radar will fill up with rain by later this afternoon and into tonight.

Forecasted to make landfall near the New Jersey region, these types of winds are also expected to be seen. Southward in the Philadelphia region look for winds to start this morning in the 15-20mph range and then by this evening to be in the 20-35mph range, further increasing Monday morning to around 30-45mph range with higher gusts. By the afternoon winds will be in the 35-45mph range further increasing overnight to around 35-60mph through the early morning Tuesday time period. By Tuesday afternoon winds will slowly fall back to around 30-40mph range and further decrease Tuesday evening to around 20-30mph.

The Atlantic City will see winds start picking up this morning into the 20-30mph range. By this afternoon winds will be around 25-40mph increasing by Monday morning to around 35-50mph further increasing Monday night to around 40-60mph and then decreasing by Tuesday afternoon to around 25-35mph range.

New York City will see the winds start picking up around this afternoon to the 15-30mph range and then further increase this evening to around 20-40mph. By Monday morning New York could be dealing with winds of 30-50mph increasing Monday afternoon to around 40-60mph with higher gusts and then slowly decreasing by Tuesday morning to around 35-50mph. Winds will then further decrease Tuesday afternoon to around 30-45mph and then by mid-afternoon winds should fall to around 25-35mph.

Rainfall will be the next big thing with total rainfall amounts for this entire region ranging from 5-8 inches in the Baltimore Maryland area to upwards to 10 inches in the New York City area.

Storm surge as of this morning is forecasted to be around 2-4ft in Baltimore harbor and upwards to 6-9ft along the Jersey shores and possibly as high as 10ft in the New York region, more likely outside of the New York harbor. New York itself will possibly see 4-7ft inside the harbor for storm surge. Storm surge is the hardest part to forecast because we don´t really know how much water the storm is pushing, and with this storm pushing water all the way from Florida it may be fairly high once it makes landfall. The most important thing to remember when making plans is to follow your local National Weather Service office for all the latest warnings and information regarding Hurricane Sandy.

Lastly, looking at the satellite image we can see the frontal boundary pushing into the Northeast and Sandy riding up the coastline just to the east of the North Carolina area this morning. Sandy may intensify a little bit over the next day or so due to interaction with the very warm Gulf Stream Current.

As of this morning our satellite image shows that area A is the center of Hurricane Sandy which is continuing its slow north-northeastward movement. This should begin to change into a northwest movement later today as it interacts with area B, the cold front which is moving through the Northeast at this time. The interaction between the cold front and the hurricane are going to make for intense weather conditions up and down the seaboard from the Mid-Atlantic to the Northeast. The third piece of the puzzle is coming in behind the cold front and that is area C which is the Arctic air mass that will bring that strong push of cold air into the region allowing for the winter storm to setup over the Appalachian Mountains in West Virginia.

Seth Guikema of Johns Hopkins University predicts that as many as 10 million households in the mid-Atlantic region will lose power in the coming week. Guikema and his team have developed a computer model built on outage data from 11 hurricanes to estimate the fraction of customers who will lose power, based on expected gust wind speed, expected duration of strong winds greater than 20 meters per second, and population density.

Stay tuned to for more updates.