The Northeast Readies for Impact
Hurricane Sandy, one of the largest storms to ever occur in the Atlantic Ocean, will be making a transition from a “hurricane” to an extra-tropical cyclone close to the time of landfall later tonight; this is all science semantics at this point, though. Sandy is going to be disastrous for the northeastern United States. Statements like this from the National Hurricane Center are rare:
Sandy could rival the 1938 Hurricane in many ways; it’s actually getting close to in terms of central pressure. Current minimum central pressure is 943 mb; the 1938 storm’s lowest pressure according to the NWS in Boston was 27.94″ (that’s 946 mb).
It’s not like the Katrina statement from 2005, but it is definitely a strong statement for the big cities of the Northeast. Sandy will make landfall this evening near Atlantic City, New Jersey if the forecast track remains accurate:
Maximum sustained winds are around 90 MPH, and as Sandy begins to make the transition to “extratropical” there may actually be some quick intensification as it moves inland this evening between 7 PM and 10 PM Eastern. Storm surge is already exceeding that of Irene last year, and it’s going to get much worse. Here is a picture from La Guardia Airport showing runways beginning to flood posted on Twitter by the New York-New Jersey Port Authority:
Storm surge around New York City will be enhanced by the irregular coastline and shallow water (think southeastern Louisiana and Mississippi’s “funneling effect” that occurs with almost every storm there). It could exceed 13 feet on the southwest edge of Long Island and may be as high as 15 feet near Sandy Hook National Park in northern New Jersey.
This is a once-in-a-lifetime kind of storm you are seeing affect our country. Electricity could be out for weeks in parts of the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast, and some of the heavy snow in the Appalachians will likely end up being some of the heaviest Autumn snow on record…30 to 50″ of snow possible in the mountains of West Virginia:
Alabama and Tennessee will see indirect effects of Sandy. This windy weather with gusts over 30 MPH will continue through Tuesday evening as the pressure gradient between Sandy and a strong high to our northwest stays tight.
There is a Wind Advisory in effect until 7 PM for most of Northeast Alabama and some of southern Tennessee.