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October 2012

Sandy Weaker in the NW Bahamas, Expected to Become Dangerous for NE US

   Posted by Levi at 3:40pm on October 26, 2012

Hurricane Sandy is now moving through the NW Bahamas, and has weakened since yesterday. The center is now exposed due to southwesterly wind shear imposed by the subtropical jet. This weakening was expected, but has occurred a bit sooner than anticipated. This is good news for the northern Bahamas and eastern Florida, which are not receiving as big of a lashing as they would have. Despite having an exposed center, Sandy remains a solid hurricane, and her central pressure is still below 980mb. As Sandy’s center passes through the subtropical jet core, some additional weakening may occur, but she will likely remain a hurricane. As Sandy begins to accelerate northeastward in 24 hours or so, upper winds over the storm will lighten a bit, and upper-level dynamics will continue to improve, with significant divergence in the 200mb wind field expected to develop in the path of the storm to the north and northwest. Thus, some restrengthening is expected in the maximum winds. The increase in wind will likely remain limited due to the ever-expanding nature of Sandy’s wind field, but her central pressure is expected to drop significantly due to baroclinic dynamics as she nears the Atlantic coast. As a result, an area of tropical storm force winds several hundred miles in diameter will affect the northeastern U.S., and hurricane force winds will likely affect the coastline where the storm moves ashore.

The track forecast philosophy for Sandy remains unchanged. An acceleration to the NE or NNE as the ridge to the north moves out of the way will occur during the next day or two, bringing Sandy up between Cape Hatteras and Bermuda. The storm’s structure has become weighted to the north and northwest as expected, and this will allow the storm to interact positively with a mid-latitude trough moving into the eastern United States. The resulting phasing will draw the storm towards the north and northwest, with a sharp left turn likely before an eventual landfall on the mid-Atlantic or New England coast. The forecast track has been shifted a bit southward Days 4-5, and remains in good agreement with the consistent ECMWF ensemble mean, but lies still north and east of the ECMWF operational.

Sandy has the potential to become a historic storm for the northeast U.S., and residents should be prepared for hurricane conditions along the coastline and tropical storm conditions well inland and well away from where the center of circulation comes ashore. Due to baroclinic enhancement, Sandy’s circulation continues to expand, and tropical storm force winds will extend over 300 miles from the center at landfall. Prolonged heavy rain and storm surge are likely to cause severe damage in some areas, and residents are urged to treat this as another Irene-type event.

We shall see what happens!




  • Jason says:

    Hey Levi,
    I noticed the 6Z run of the GFS parks sandy over NYC for about 60hrs. Is that possible? Is there any other model support for that. A little concerned being that I’m suppose to be in New York at that time. What are your thoughts. Thanks

    • Levi says:

      The GFS continues to wobble around with different solutions each run. Even on the 06z, the storm is mostly gone by Nov. 2, with only a blustery, cold back side remaining over the area. I wouldn’t worry too much. Wherever the storm is, it will have wound down quite a bit by Nov. 2.

  • Neven says:

    That’s a great vid. Thanks a lot. I’ll be dropping in here the coming days.

  • natureobs says:

    Thanks Levi! FYI, this message hit my email at 1:07 pm EST.

    • Levi says:

      I saw your earlier post. I haven’t played with the automatic email thingy in a while, but I recall I think it can only be set to send updates at a certain time of day, once per day. The time I set is supposed to usually be shortly after I’ve posted my morning blog, such that email subscribers get the latest update shortly after it is released. Obviously if I go out of schedule, as I did a couple days ago when I uploaded it late, people won’t get it until the following day. I don’t think I can make it work any other way.

  • Gary Z says:

    Storm of the Century…Frankenstorm?
    Hey Levi, is this being way overblown?
    Never trust the media,,they love to create Fear.
    Are they???

    • Levi says:

      They will probably hype it up, but Sandy really will be as bad as Irene if not worse in some areas of the northeast. She’s the real deal. Just because she’s not a Cat 4 with an eye doesn’t mean she isn’t extremely dangerous in this kind of a situation.

  • Brian says:

    Excellent information Levi. As far as storm surge projections for Long Island any thoughts?

  • Meghan says:

    Levi, Thank you so much for the detailed scientific based outlook. With so many media outlets I find your “tidbits” to be the best. Hoping for the best, prepared for the worst!

  • Amdan says:

    I wish it would just have been a phase for my 3rd child, Joshua. He is the pickiest eater I know He could live off cchekin nuggets & French fries, pasta & granola bars. And lots of junk food. He won’t eat any sandwich except grilled cheese, no soups, no cereal with milk, (but will drink milk) It’s pretty bad. He starts 1st grade this year, I know he won’t eat the cafeteria food, but what will I make him everyday in his lunchbox? I do not know.Good luck with your little guy! Maybe unlike mine, he will outgrow it!

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