Friday Night Sandy Update


There is a fair degree of certainty emerging concerning Sandy’s track. Sandy is likely to make landfall between the Boston and the Chesapeake Bay, with the strongest likelihood between Atlantic City and the DELMARVA Peninsula.

This is the current National Hurricane Center (NHC) track and it is fairly close to what I see happening:


Sandy should not be underestimated. The weather models indicate that Sandy might tie the record for the lowest pressure of any NE hurricane making landfall. The thermodynamics of the storm will nurture rapid intensification before making landfall and unlike Irene or Lee, Sandy’s winds will cause widespread damage. Sandy’s windfield is several hundred miles in diameter and will stretch as far west as Michigan. This will be updated by the NHC but already, the tropical wind projection looks like this:


Flooding will also be destructive. Here is the 5 day total precipitation forecast. Precipitation is likely to extend beyond 5 days. Those living in cities should be aware that not only are creeks, streams, and rivers a threat for flooding, but many suburban and urban areas will face overflowing sewers, from downed leaves.

I am particularly concerned about areas that flooded in 2011. This could be a worse scenario for them.


So, what about the snow? What we know for sure is that it appears as though the mountains of West Virginia up to Southern PA (Laurel Highlands) should expect 2-3′ of snow. This will have a devastating effect. As mentioned before, a wet, heavy snow, falling on trees that still have leaves is a dangerous situation. West Virginia will receive the least attention and probably go the longest without power after the storm passes.  This snow could very well extend as far north as Indiana, PA, but in lesser amounts. The rest of us remain a mystery. The exact track will have a big effect on how much snow we see. I am not sure we can accurately project the amount of snow those in the lower elevations will see. The amounts have varied with every single model run. In Pittsburgh, our best shot at snow will be overnight Monday-Tuesday and on the backside of the storm if it takes a more NE track.

Unless more clarity about the inland track of the storm or snow amounts emerge or other major developments, I will not issue another update as the storm has now gathered sufficient media attention and many of the major details have been ironed out as best they can before the storm rolls up the coast.

One last word: most of the regional NWS offices (Pittsburgh, Binghamton, Mt, Holley, Taunton, State College, Buffalo, etc) have Facebook and Twitter pages. Some of those office offer excellent forecast discussions and provide important information. Also, your reports to them are essential for determining any FEMA assistance after the storm and you can now report damage reports directly through social media.


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